Winds of change: Fashion in Pakistan gets modern touch
Winds of change are sweeping Pakistan's fashion ramps - from Pashmina kurtas, salwar-kameezes to shararas and ghararas in the past to off-shoulder gowns, sleeveless dresses and even backless outfits now.
Off the runway, fashion may be conservative, but designers are attempting to lend a contemporary twist.
Intricate embroidery, surface textures, architectural and graphic prints and lawn fabric have been synonymous with Pakistani fashion over the years. The new-age designers are trying to give them a facelift to cater to the style demands of fashionistas.
Designer Sania Maskatiya, who is participating in the ongoing seventh edition of the PFDC (Pakistan Fashion Design Council) Sunsilk Fashion Week 2014 here, says the sense of style in India and Pakistan is on a par. However, they prefer to play safe.
"India and Pakistan are no different. We share the same culture and sense of style and I love the way Indian designers play with fabrics and patterns. But being a little conservative, a girl can't afford to roam around in the market here wearing tight-fitting clothes.
"Since we (designers) serve the women here, it's our responsibility to give them options," Maskatiya told IANS.
The designer believes Pakistan's distinct fashion, its prints and flared outfits, have made their own space in the global fashion circuit.
"We have also become trendsetters in our own rights, thanks to fashion bodies like PFDC. The kind of prints that we use on our garments are known worldwide. Also, there are wide options in flared clothes that not only look sensuous but are also very elegant.
"The Fashion Week itself is one of the examples where you can see women flaunting the best of style," Maskatiya added.
True to her statement, one saw a bevy of women dressed prim and proper in knee-length dresses, sleeveless tops, flared trousers, high heels and natural yet stylish make-up. They also accessorised their look very well.
Catering to this clientele of style-conscious gentry here are designers and labels like Sahar Atif, Gul Ahmed, Deepak Perwani, Ayesha Varsi, Saadia Mirza and Libas. Their ensembles are known for a touch of the traditional amalgamated well with modern cuts.
One also witnessed such perfect amalgamation at the fashion gala.
Young designer Mohsin Ali, who made his debut at the fashion week with his "Crystal Macaroon" collection for the Libas label, focussed on quirky, cool and eclectic styles. His line was inspired from Paris in spring and was based in organza and silk in a variety of colourful pastels.
The nomadic lifestyle was the theme of designer duo Nickie Nina's spring-summer 2014 "Katcha Taanka" collection that was inspired by gypsy women and circus performers. They used fabrics such as organza, satin and crepe de chine and silk khaadi with embellishments in the form of modern cutwork.
Doodle prints, ethnic impressions and sequins defined Maskatiya's collection as she experimented well with cuts. Her collection titled "Kuamka: Awakening", about the spirit of Africa was a right balance between elegance, comfort and practicality.
In most shows here on day one of the gala, gowns and backless outfits got as much prominence as flared trousers and chic kurtas.
Twenty-seven luxury pret designers and 14 high street and textile houses are a part of the fashion extravaganza.
In over a decade, the Pakistan fashion industry has evolved and has also attracted patrons and participation of an increased number of fashion journalists, make-up artists, stylists and the like.
The change is being lapped up.
Describing the current fashion industry scenario, 32-year-old fashion patron Alima Farooque said she is proud of the successful fashion weeks in Lahore.
"It won't be wrong to say that Paris, New York and London are known as fashion capitals and now Indian fashion too has carved its niche in the international market. But today I feel proud when I see the successful editions of fashion weeks in Lahore. It is definitely becoming an attractive spot for fashion shows where people from all walks of life flock and demand for our kind of dressing," she said.
Another woman said: "I sometimes envy Indian girls for trying out all sorts of dresses and designer brands.
"I think Indian designers have truly created many trends and we do look up to them for styles and cuts. However, Pakistani fashion has emerged like never before and I'm sure we will also be the next big thing in market, looking at the way we are moving gradually," she added.
(Nivedita can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Posted on 12-04-2014)