Sexy and they know it

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By A look at the show-stealers of Fashion Pakistan Week 2012. By ANGONA PAUL FPW photographs by Tapu Javeri
  • Published 6.05.12
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The third edition of Fashion Pakistan Week in Karachi saw the country’s best couturiers bring it on with aplomb. Mirroring the urban fashion milieu, tradition met with the contemporary as the ramp came alive with everything from flawlessly crafted salwars to elegant dresses and even edgy rompers and jumpsuits. Linens, cottons, silks, muslin and even parachute fabrics in colours ranging from classic ivory to stark neons took over the ramp as veteran and young designers showed how Pakistan defines style.

Bridal splendour

Bunto Kazmi has elevated her family legacy in bridalwear to new heights. Taking over the nearly 60-year-old Kazmi label from Sughra Kazmi, her aunt and mother-in-law, Bunto designs silhouettes that are executed on rich fabrics and treated to eye-catching embellishments.

The collection: Bunto has worked mostly with locally-sourced Jamevars, Benarsis and other fine silks along with cotton net and some imported materials like embroidered tulles. Embellishments on her saris, salwars, lehengas varied from handwoven dabka and naqshi work to tila beads, crystals and pearls.

Price point: Bunto’s creations are made-to-order and prices depend on the fabrics, embellishments and time taken to make them.

Effortless elegance

Iman Ahmed’s label Body Focus reflects her belief in simplicity. With over 20 years in the fashion industry, Ahmed’s strength lies in giving contemporary silhouettes a classic touch.

The collection: Named Sartorial Philology and the New Bohemia, the Body Focus range included everything from gowns to long tops and palazzos elegantly crafted from hand-printed (‘never digital’, she insists!) cottons, muslin and silks. Ornamentation, in the form of hand-embroidery, was kept to a bare minimum while the colour palette was predominantly ivory and black — favourites of the designer who’s dressed Pakistan external affairs minister Hina Rabbani Khar.

Price point: Upwards of about Rs 2,800.

Fun meets finesse

With four decades in the industry, Maheen Khan is one of Pakistan’s most globally visible designer. Khan, credited for Benazir Bhutto’s signature ‘white-dupatta-draped-over-the-head’ look, was dubbed ‘Coco Chanel of the East’ by the Italian press after she showed in Milan in 2009. Her embroidery house has earned Hollywood fame with its work on costumes for Oliver Stone’s Alexander the Great and Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth and Elizabeth: The Golden Age.

The collection: Maheen was a story of fluid silks crafted into minimalist dresses, jumpsuits, salwars, and pants in a muted colour palette while her second line, Gulabo, inspired by Pakistan’s kitsch truck art, quirked up the ramp. Accessorised with funky helmets and a cheeky attitude, models took the ramp in cotton shirts, skirts, kurtas and pants in colours and prints inspired by everything from rickshaws and Vespas to Urdu number plates and landmarks of Karachi and Lahore.

Price point: Gulabo T-shirts start at around Rs 570. Kurtas and tops cost upwards of Rs 1,700 (approx.). Maheen ranges between Rs 8,600 and Rs 86,700 (approx.).

Spring’s in the air

Menswear designer Ahmed Bham’s obsession with flawless fits is matched only by his passion for food — when he’s not designing he is fine-tuning his pizza-making skills. Bham’s celebrity clients include cricket greats Wasim Akram and Mohammed Azharuddin.

The collection: Inspired by the ‘beauty of life despite all hardships’, A Colourful Affair showcased everything from formalwear to casuals and even beachwear in summery linens and cottons. And spring peeked out in his creations in the form of floral detailing in collars, cufflinks, pocket handkerchiefs.

Price point: Suits start from Rs 14,400 (approx.) to upwards of Rs 75,000. The shirts begin from about Rs 2,000.

Neon knock-out

Sanam Chaudhry swears by the ‘less is more’ rule. Armed with a degree in textile design and five years of experience in the business, Chaudhry creates both Western and ethnicwear mostly in linens and cottons with minimal, if any, embellishments.

The collection: Audacity isn’t part of her nature, admits Chaudhry, so Bitten was a dare to herself. And she won in style. Sharply structured shirt dresses, rompers and jumpsuits in neon parachute fabric accessorised with neon stockings and shoes — it was the charge of the bright brigade as the audience enjoyed, arguably, the edgiest collection of the day.

Price point: Between Rs 2,000 and Rs 8,600 (approx.).

Desert queen

Undoubtedly the show-stealer of Fashion Pakistan Week 2012, Wardha Saleem is an alumnus, and also a textiles and design teacher, at Pakistan’s Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture. She’s known for fusing indigenous embroidery and traditional printing techniques with modern silhouettes.

The collection: Saleem’s inspiration springs from the Thar Desert in Sindh. The myriad hues (and sounds) of camel caravans and the vibrant attire of the Thari people in a barren landscape resonated in Saleem’s collection, Sin’d. Dresses, skirts, kurtis in striking orange, yellow, blue, pink in natural fabrics showed off traditional block-printing and Sindhi embroidery techniques. And shoes adorned with cowbells and ghungroos evoked the rawness of the landscape.

Price point: Between Rs 2,800 (approx.) and Rs 14,400 (approx.).

Bag these gems

Zoobs

Tapu Javeri (from the family that lent its name to Mumbai’s Zaveri Bazar) traces his roots back to Jamnagar, Gujarat, where his ancestors were court jewellers to the Nawabs of Kutch. Photographer, writer, jeweller and accessories designer, Javeri, who’s been in the fashion industry since the ’80s, draws inspiration from everything around him — be it his beloved Karachi or his beautiful models.

The collection: The printed leather Tapulicious bags were born from his exhibition KaraChakra, where he photo-manipulated images of Karachi city to resemble large Buddhist Chakra-like motifs. Also on the ramp were his ‘model bags’ that flaunt faces of Pakistan’s top models. A fan of the truck-art palette, no colour combination was too bright for Javeri, so he went ahead and made his bags ‘as happy as possible’.

Price point: Around Rs 11,500 for large bags and Rs 8,600 for small.