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…Some of Pakistan’s best bridal couturiers play to their strengths


By Aamna Haider Isani


Day 3 featured some very big names in Pakistani fashion – Umar Sayeed, Faraz Manan and last but not least, Nilofer Shahid. And all three of them pelted out some fabulous wedding wear and artistic couture. An unexpected surprise was Nauman Arfeen, whose simple, rustic collection provided a much-needed dose of menswear that didn’t look like something out of a Tim Burton movie. Other than the top names, Zaheer Abbas put out a neat but forgettable show and Delphi by Nida Tapal showcased some lovely examples of how crochet can be incorporated into formal wear; a jarring palette let the collection down. Zainab Chottani unraveled a colourful collection that could have worked better with a significant signature.


Here’s a quick look at the best things we saw on the final, Day 3 at fashion week…


Umar Sayeed



This is what Umar Sayeed does best: classic, beautifully crafted wedding wear. There were no surprises in the collection but it was an assembly of a gradually deepening palette – starting from nude and passing through blue and pink before arriving at a deep purple. The craft was signature flat-thread marori and the aesthetic was impeccable. I’m glad that Umar stuck to his strength because attempts at branching out run the risk of failure and this collection, in all its traditional glory, was lovely.


The Ho Mann Jahan trio

Mahira gives us a smile as she walk by.

Mahira gives us a smile as she walked by.

There couldn’t have been a better opening to the final day. Out walked a luminous Mahira Khan, followed by Sheheryar Munawar and Adeel Hussain and you could see Asim Raza smiling like a Cheshire Cat in the front row. It was almost like a ‘proud daddy’ moment and was very sweet. Mahira, Sheheryar and Adeel looked great in Umar’s clothes; Umar of course is one of Mahira’s oldest friends and he has designed a lot of the wardrobe for Ho Mann Jahan so there was a comfort level as well as a natural camaraderie.


Faraz Manan


Designer of the moment, Faraz Manan may have maintained his trademark poker face through the glory, but his show and the applause it received was ample proof of his success. To avoid use of the word ‘bling’, Manan’s collection was all shimmer and it flowed like crystalline water over clear glass. He mostly uses Swarovski crystals in his couture and the quality shows. It has to be said that these clothes, or the kind Faraz Manan designs in general, looked so much better on the tall, lithe models in Dubai but that’s an impediment no one can solve.


Nauman Arfeen

Nauman Arfeen

Other than the display of (defunct/antique) guns on stage – we cannot approve a display of arms on the catwalk – this was an impressive and crisp collection by Nauman Arfeen. One usually gets to see experimental, weirdly exhibitionist menswear in fashion shows and so the commitment to culture, in fact the celebration of it, was a welcome sight. Arfeen’s array of white lowers – the dhotis and shalwars – were a display of clean craftsmanship.

Nilofer Shahid

Nilofer Shahid


An ode to the Master-artist Remrandt, this collection brought veteran designer Nilofer Shahid back to the runway after five years and onto a fashion week runway in Pakistan for the very first time. It was a display of what Nilofer is renowned for: craftsmanship that borders on costume. It was an exhibition of a love for art, literature and the intellect that goes into designing couture. Rembrandt was certainly not wedding wear and yet it had all the trappings of translating to eastern couture. Techniques that one doesn’t get to see in fashion anymore – from printed crinolines to basque skirting (the benefits of sitting next to Nomi Ansari included an education in design techniques) – Nilofer pulled out the stops and delivered a befitting master-collection.


– Pictures by Tapu Javeri




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