Lahore 3rd Bridal Couture 2011

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By Marian Sharaf Joseph

Pakistan Fashion Industry has not given up on what they believe describes the nation’s contemporary and modern image. Every era in politics has brought endless challenges, including, Zia martial law era and the current wave of extremism amidst political mayhem and dengue outbreak. As the matter of fact, each year unfold a new achievement in the history of fashion industry. After a decade of success of The Lux Style Awards came Karachi and Lahore Fashion Week respectively and then the Karachi and Lahore Bridal Couture week in which we have seen designers from across the border exhibiting their ensemble. The events have also attracted international coverage in both print and electronic media. Although none of these fashion weeks have actually been held for a week as it should, considering lack of support from the government and the country’s constant instability, it is enough to have each of these events to be held for at least two to three days. The efforts goes to the industry alone and it’s dedicated sponsors – with Lever Brothers in lead; sponsoring Lux Style Awards along with its brand Sunsilk sponsoring Karachi and Lahore Fashion Week, and now Pantene sponsoring Karachi and Lahore Bridal Couture Week organised by the only fashion channel Style 360.

Lahore Bridal Couture 2011 was held during mid October at Lahore Pearl Continental. While many events around the town were postponed due to dengue outbreak, Lahore Bridal Couture Week was successfully held. Like Karachi Bridal Couture Week, in which the event began with the performance of model Rabia Chaudhry, the event in Lahore began with the energising Kathak performance of model FIA on a classical number. However, as critics rated it was newcomer Mariam, whose performance choreographed by Shaukat Hussain Samrat was full of vibrancy and vigour and it sadly made Fia’s well-rehearsed performance dull. Additionally, another performer that won much acclaim was Hamada, who performed an Egyptian Sufi-inspired dance called Tamoora. The dance performer filled the ambiance with awe; initially multiplying his swirling moves to the beat and then gradually peeling off the layers of clothing to depict another costume that lit in multi-coloured LED lights. Each dance move had a significant meaning to it, which only Sufi music worshippers could interpret while the rest were left in awe of enchanting spiritual spell.  The dance performances added to the liveliness of the event while giving models time to re-dress for next act, even though some critics believe that a fashion week of any kind should depict its own significance and fuse itself with cultural performances such as of these models, unless the dances were presented by renowned classical dancers like Nighat Chaudhry and so on.

DAY ONE: LBCW Day One Features designers Mona Imran, Kosian Kazmi, Hijab by Saba & Misbah, BNS by Bina Sultan and the creative mastero Mehdi

Dance performances aside. LBCW Day One opened with the presentation of designer Mona Imran. The ensemble designed in pleats, ruffles and lace most done in solid colours were accentuated by jewellery provided by Nadia Chottani. To make it attractive, she had model Ayyan carried in a doli on the ramp that added drama to her presentation.

Designer Kosain Kazmi drew inspiration from the Mughal era for his collection. Full of vibrant colours the collection revived chatta-patti in paneling and edging. To add drama, the models walked to the soft song of the classic movie Pakeeza’s Mausam Hai Ashiqana. The whole scenery created a feel of ecstasy and sensuality that is the mood of a wedding.

The collection of Hijab by Saba and Misbah was played with cuts, colours, drama in draping and the luxurious feel of soft fabric in traditional blend best describe. The two-tone pleated outfits and the reintroduction of shocking pink were well applauded.

BNS Couture by Bina Sultan was one of its kinds. The designer cleverly experimented with cut-mirror. The exclusive bridal combination of gold and beige bridal was exhibited by model Mehreen Syed with an improvised one-shoulder neckline work as a separate piece with a full net sleeve. The attire was enhanced with jewellery titled Keepsakes by the Islamabad-based Reem Abbasi that was launched in 2010. The jewellery pieces comprised rough-cut diamonds, pearls and Swarovski crystals.

After long awaited evening, the thrill of Day One came with the presentation of Mehdi, the creative maestro, whose collections have always been extraordinarily appealing and absolutely out of the world. The ensemble was complimented with jewellery by Saira Omer. Unlike as ramp tradition has gone so far; fashionistas presenting fashionistas, Mehdi took the plunge to open his show by presenting the legendary cricketer Waseem Akram, who gallantly walked in an ankle-length, front-open beige and silver sherwani with a touch of black. This was followed by an entire menswear line of kurtas. As it goes, the drama in Mehdi’s was the only female model presenting his one women’s wear; Iman Ali. The ultimate goddess appeared on the runway in a classic beige-on-beige embroidered fusion masterpiece offset by sparse lustrously blinking to the tune of Supreme Ishq while clutching a bouquet of blood-red roses like a bride walking down the aisle to the altar. Mehdi certainly drew inspiration for this by western tradition of bridal wear that is uncommon in the wedding set-up in the east.

Fahad Hussayn is best known for being experimental and edgy. That is exactly how his collection was at LBCW this year. Fahad Hussayn’s brides walked in black. The bridal attire was accompanied by jewellery designed by Unique Jewellers and just a hint of hues. The colours of Rajasthan followed in a vibrant collection with men’s kurtas in saffron orange and model Sunita Marshal in an outfit with matt gold oversize crochet that was topped off by pearl adornments. What added spice to the segment was a surprise performance by Qurat-ul-Ain Baloch that jazzed the audience on the beat of Aankhiyaan Nu Rehen De.

Unfortunately the latest label Gulzeb that made a debut at Dubai Fashion Week 2011 did not win the hearts of the audience. According to many it was regular and added dullness to the evening. The collection made in bright colours was enhanced with jewellery by Saira Omer. The only outfit that stood out in the collection according to critics was a spaghetti-strap attire with a traditional achkan-cut long shirt worn by model Neha. The segment gave many in the audience the impression that the designer was simply following trends rather than creating them. The showing also concluded the presentations on Day One with showstopper Adnan Siddiqui. Perhaps the critics were too hard on Gulzeb as besides Mehdi and Fahad Hussayn, other designers too played it safe with traditional regular style that is preferred by buyers. Perhaps Gulzeb Asif should have been more elaborative while introducing her collection for LBCW and the critics should have realised that her collection presented attire for different occasions of a wedding event such as mayoun, mehndi and so on.

DAY TWO: LBCW Day Two Features designers Shaiyanne Malik of Samanzar, Saira Rizwan, Sadaf Arshad, Shazia Kiyani, Ali Xeshan and Delhi-based Indian designers Raul and Shibani Rastogi, and Gautam Rakha of the label Rabani & Rakha

Bridal wear by Karachi-based Shaiyanne Malik of the label Samanzar was indigenously fabulous. The collection was dedicated to the women of Dera Jatta and inspired by their cultutral styling. The outfits were a collection of embellished trousseau with traditional patterns in a line that was both vibrant and different from what the designer usually puts on the ramp. She created drama with an ivory, hand-woven raw finish fabric with turquoise layering and contrast resham embroidery worn with a trademark choli blouse.

Lollywood diva Resham clad in classic red and beige outfit was the showstopper for Saira Rizwan’s collection Jehanara. Like many designers who stuck to traditional style, yet, somehow managing to win audience appreciating for being exclusive and genuine creations, designer Saira Rizwan drew her inspiration from the Mughal beauty Jehanara. The collection titled Jahanara had embellishments and designs inspired from the architecture of the Taj Mahal. From the jhoomar to the outfit, everything was well – presented with costume trinkets by Sadiqa Jewellers. The drama in Jehanara laid in a short, cropped jacket with an ornamented motif on the lower back and a multi-pleated net long kameeze with Mughal miniature art motifs dotting the hemline shown to a live performance by Omer Iftikhar.

Designer Sadaf Arshad has successfully celebrated a decade in the fashion industry. Her designs have   special focus on cuts and detailing to create chic, modern and glamorous style for women. The bridal collection for LBCW was designed with elaborate necklines. According to fashion critics the most notable among the rest was a sea-green outfit that defined her design philosophy.

Designer Shazia Kiyani’s red and pink bridals with heavy jewellery by Hira Zeeshan saw a revival of the old school with kiran edging. Similar to the rest, the dresses were tradition set to the mood of usual wedding attire styling.

 

The thrill of LBCW Day Two came with the presentation of Delhi-based Indian designers Raul and Shibani Rastogi, and Gautam Rakha of the label Rabani & Rakha. The designers showcased their collection with intricate and exquisite stone work. The presentation opened with an all-black collection highlighted with jewel tones on tulle and chiffon and jewel work while being very structural and body-hugging. The ensemble included gowns in toxic purple, reddish-brown, emerald green and candy pink with a matte gold sari with jewellery by Saira Omer and Hadiqa Kiyani as the showstopper.Designers flying in from across the border during the political chaos certainly added excitement to the event. However, as critics quoted the presentation was extremely filmy. Some print media papers even commented that it was edgy to the point of film star glamour; something only Bollywood stars such as Kareena Kapoor or Katrina Kaif would wear in a typical Bollywood item number. However, critics should know that ramp presentation is always about the style statement of a designer and not the regular outfits should off the rack.

Designer Ali Xeeshan presented his collection  in hues of Crimson. His Crimson collection was rated to be the best of all those shown at LBCW. The outfits were designed with bold mukesh work on fabrics and multi-layering and voluminous, flared shararas that were accentuated with jewellery by Saira Omer. The short, fitted kameezes worn over shalwars was highly retrospective of the ’80s with the drama created by a circus troupe complete with ghuggu ghoras.

 

La Chantal by Saba was next in line. The ensemble was a collection of rich eastern culture and voluminous pants sans any embellishments worn with embellished, loose-fitting tops that opened her segment. The trail was followed by lemon yellow and black bridals with a grand finale presentation by  supermodel Nadia Husain in a yellow and reddish-brown bridal with heavy ruffles, Reema Khan in a parrot-green outfit with antique gold work and Shaan in a low-cut neck black sherwani.

 

According to some fashion critics there was more drama on the ramp than in the clothes.

At the grand finale, Sultana Siddiqui came acoompanied by Duraid Siddiqui, Vaneeza Ahmad and Shanaz Ramzi and delivered a note of thanks while the entire brigade of designers, who showed on both days walked the ramp for one last time with their respective showstoppers as sparklers went off on either sides of the ramp.

The ramp was adorned with pristine white flowers in exotic arrangements by the Florist Naila Gurmani. The floral ramp was complimented by huge glass chandeliers which exuded an aura of grace and sophistication – again the inspiration was drawn by western style of weddings – unlike the traditional multi-coloured floral decor done by many today. The event managed by J&S Events had HSY as its ramp director with hair & make-up by Saba Ansari of Sabs and official photography by Anahita Hashmani.

The 3rd Style 360 Patene Lahore Bridal Couture Week did not present primer designers such as Deepak Perwani, HSY, Hajira Hayat and Karma to name a few, yet, the show is bound to grow bigger because like the fashion industry Lahore is always craving for something to crave on — reason to celebrate.

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