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(Dawn Images, Nov 7, 2010)

The ninth Lux Style Awards tone down to a black tie affair but leave an after taste of optimism for bigger shows to come!

Not even the wisp of smoke that rose from Adnan Siddiqui’s cigarette (triggering off an angry sprinkler on the red carpet) could put a dampener on the evening. It was quite the highlight to see coiffed-up celebrities run for cover when the downpour began. And the makeshift red-carpet-camp-out in the green room was hardly adequate but it was taken in good stride. Winners will acclaim and losers will always complain but the beauty of the evening was that an overall aura of support and good faith was maintained. That is what was important.

The Lux Style Awards returned this year with some grace if not full shining glory and the evening most certainly was a notch up on the ‘studio press meet’ that was organized last year. This was a much more dignified way of honouring nominees, winners and industries overall. The evening revoked good time memories even if it didn’t muster up enough moments to create new ones. But there were moments nonetheless.

Roohi Bano’s Unilever Chairman’s Lifetime Achievement Award was emotional. The montage educated a new generation as to who she was and reminded the rest us of why she was remembered so fondly. The Fashion Lifetime Achievement Award went to veteran photographer Mirza Khurshid Masood, still full of steam as he commented, “I have not retired yet and have four more decades of work in me.”

Meera’s acceptance speech for winning the Beauty Icon Award was delightfully innocent: “I have yearned for this award ever since Babra ji received it in 2003,” she said. Nabila and Tariq Amin’s joint appearance as presenters for Best Pret Award went down with catcalls and wolf whistles. “We’ve never had a problem,” they said, “it’s them (the industry, media) who have had the problem.” Oh sure, it brought on smiles.

There were no grand performances, no theatrics and the LSAs that we have all become accustomed to were reduced to a formal evening with the stars. One missed the Naheed Akhtar, Nazia Hassan, Runa Laila revivals, the Saeein Zahoor enigma and the Shan, Saima, Reema, Veena cine-magic, which is always larger than life and magnifies the event as well. The influx of new talent was a strong reminder, however, that today’s new stars are just as talented and deserve a gold studded platform too. They are ready to shine but where will they glow if a platform as significant as this one is taken away from them or reduced?

Amongst all new contenders for stardom, Sami Shah was an entertaining host. He may take another year to tune himself to the LSA crowd (the fashion industry, for one, does not always get the joke) but it was a welcome start.  Humour is always preferable to long and winding philosophical speeches. And when humour fails, sex appeal succeeds which made risqué TV host Mathira such a hit with the audience. More of her wouldn’t have been a bad thing!

Fashion’s favourite icons like HSY, Aamina Haq and Ammar Belal, Vinny and Iraj were sorely missed amongst the glitterati but then time has proven that no one is indispensable. Especially not on the red carpet. Amongst the models Fayeza Ansari, Rabia Butt, Aamina Sheikh and Ayyan sparkled in befittingly glamorous gowns. The new front line of fashionable characters – Fahad Husayn, Feeha Jamshed, Rizwanullah, Raana and Ayaz Anis, Ayesha Omar and Anoushey – amongst many others kept fashion’s spirit alive.

Major star power was missing in the absence of film and music biggies. Meera and Rohail Hyatt (a very vital sign that music is alive in Pakistan) stepped in for respective genres while Shaan, Reema, Ali Zafar, Atif Aslam, Hadiqa Kiani, Strings and other LSA regulars were missing in action. Faakhir must have been relieved to not have to deal with Ali Azmat on stage.

A major chunk of the evening was dedicated to handing out TV Awards while the only film worth mentioning – Nach Kay Yaar Manana – was quickly awarded for Best Director (Syed Noor), Actor (Shaan) and Actress (Saima) and wrapped up. Fashion held the spotlight, as expected, but what happened to music awards was most disturbing. From an event that has always planned song and dance around popular music, this year’s LSAs did not even play a single note from the nominated tracks. Apparently the record company owning rights to the nominated albums was demanding royalty for playing even seconds of the songs they owned.

The awards committee conveniently changed the categories from Best Album or Song to Best Artist (Mekaal Hassan Band for Saptak), from Best Music Video to Best Video Director (Zeeshan Parwez for MHB’s Waris Shah) and Song of the Year to Singer of the Year (Javed Bashir for MHB’s Chal Buleya). Imagine awarding Rohail Hyatt Best Producer for Coke Studio Sessions without actually being able to play any of that mesmerizing music. Such was the tragedy this year and music suffered at large as its presence was reduced from a bang that it deserved to a whimper it most certainly didn’t.

Other more trivial irregularities prevented the LSAs from achieving the fluidity they should have mastered by now, especially when done on such a small scale. If a backstage fire delayed the show in 2008, then an awry sprinkler did it this time. The back-up red carpet was highly inappropriate as the back stage suddenly became centre stage. The main hall’s lay out had the teleprompter in full view of everyone in the room and the media-table was so badly placed (tucked away in a corner behind the main camera) that one could see all of the audience but none of the stage. All that and the fact that many people found out about the show the very same morning left an aftertaste of mismanagement. Again, it was apparent good will that kept things gelled together though it must be said that the whining that happened during the dining (the sit-down dinner was quite fabulous) could have convinced one otherwise!

What now? Had the show not been granted this toned down yet glitzy event, one would have commiserated their complete demise. There is hope now that once things stabilize in the country they will reassume their former status in the industry. There is reassurance that the LSAs’ tenth anniversary, next year, will revive its grandeur.

Fashion winners at a glance

Model of the Year (Female): Fayeza Ansari

A tough call between Fayeza and Rabya Butt, the latter was expected to win for her incredibly diverse portfolio and body of work. Fayeza, however, with her uber-cool attitude was just as welcome and worthy a winner.

Model of the Year (Male): Iffi Zafar

Tall, dark and handsome in the most unconventional way, Iffi deserved the award for his command on the catwalk and presence in print.

Best Emerging Talent (0-3 years): Feeha Jamshed

One of the most difficult categories to judge, this award could just as easily have gone to the very popular photographer Ayaz Anis or the gorgeous new model Ayyan. But Feeha Jamshed was cinch to win for reviving her father’s forty year old label, Teejays, and recreating it with a contemporary twist. Her two powerful fashion week collections called the shots.

Best Fashion Photographer: Guddu Shani

Guddu and Shaani have proven that they are Lahore’s new photography champions. Shani has an artistic eye for fashion that is proving very valuable for fashion. With contenders as strong as Rizwan ul Haq, Fayyaz Ahmad, Maram Aabroo and Khawar Riaz, this award holds twice as much value as it normally would.

Best Hair and Make up Artist: Rizwana Khan

This category delivered the biggest shock of the evening. With Khawar, Saba and Nighat of Depilex in the running, how Rizwana Khan landed the award is anyone’s guess.

Achievement in Fashion Design, Pret: Deepak Perwani

With that Flight of Fantasy collection it had to Deepak Perwani though Sonya Battla put up a very tough competition with her fashion week collection, Karachi.

Achievement in Fashion Design, Luxury Pret: Sana Safinaz

This category was a toss between Sana Safinaz, designers who define the very term luxury, and Iman Ahmad of Body Focus Museum who is just as consistently brilliant. That said, one does feel the awards committee should bring back the category for ‘bridal couture’ as it does hold an important position in Pakistani fashion. Especially now, with a Bridal Couture Week on the calender.

Best Retail Brand: Generation

In all fairness this award belonged to FnkAsia, a brand that has grown consistently over the years and has incredible retail as well as fashion presence. FnkAsia is the only retail brand to have participated in fashion week last year. Generation may be popular, but with no shows and limited (if any) shoots to its credit, its association with fashion is very limited. These awards are about fashion and style, otherwise Juniad Jamshed would be just as eligible for his label and he would probably win too.

Best Menswear Designer: Hassan Sheheryar Yasin

HSY menswear is incredibly popular and one of the best selling men’s labels in Pakistan. The win, over veteran designer Amir Adnan and the very creative Ismail Farid, may have come as a surprise to many in Karachi but not in Lahore. HSY does have a massive fan following and it was great to have him deliver his acceptance speech via videophone, direct from New York.


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