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The Lux Style Awards fashion nominations 2010 prove how far the industry has come in ten years.

Tenth anniversaries are milestones and if traditions are to be respected then this year’s Lux Style Awards, marking ten years of the country’s premium awards show, are destined to make a celebratory big bang.

One remembers how they began in Karachi in 2001, representing a fashion industry that was barely standing on its own feet. That industry is soaring today – numerous fashion weeks, foreign exposure as well as buzzing retail presence being the wind beneath its wings. That said, Unilever, the chief sponsor has not done justice to the show christened to honour excellence in fields of fashion, film, television and music. One has to say that while three of these industries have grown and glistened through the decade, the LSAs like the film industry have gradually dulled away.

The tenth annual LSAs may not be celebrated with fireworks but as always, fashion nominations will bring a blitz of glamour to the event.

 Model of the year (female)

Nominees: Rabia Butt, Ayaan Ali, Mehreen Syed, Nooray Bhatti, Cybil Chowdhry

Considering that Fayeza Ansari was awarded Best Model last year and has kept her body of work as prolific as ever, it’s anyone’s guess why the fashion jury decided to knock her out this time. One can understand Aamina Sheikh’s omission as the model is as absent from runway as she is present in print.

Mehreen Syed has emerged a very dependable runway model but her profile is not versatile enough, which holds her from being the best. Similarly, Cybil despite being one of the most beautiful faces in fashion today, also falls short of Best Model. Nooray, in my opinion, should not have cut it above Fayeza Ansari and Nadia Ali.

Winning streak: Easily Rabia Butt, a dynamo who is as gorgeous in reality as she appears after makeup. Surely a well toned figure, naturally flawless skin and the carriage to do runway justice merits recognition. She is in competition with Ayaan Ali.

Model of the year (male)

Nominees: Abdullah, Arsalaan, Iffi Zafar, M. Mubarak, Rohail Peerzada

All one can say for this category is that it’s high time male modeling as well as menswear photography became less of the airbrushed variety of abdominals we’ve all gotten an overdose of. One needs intelligent, intense looking real men in fashion and not the male opposite of dumb blond.

Winning streak: This award could go to any one of the given names and it would be acceptable. There isn’t a single name that stands out though it would be refreshing to have a winner who delivers an articulate acceptance speech.

Best Emerging Talent (0-3 years)

Nominees: Akif Mahmood, Ali Xeeshan, Amna Ilyas, Mohsin Ali, Shamal Qureishi

This is one of the most exciting categories this year as it features designers Akif, Ali and Mohsin along with model Amna Ilyas. Their work has been vast and their presence well noticed on the fashion charts. It also puts hair stylist Shamal Qureishi on the map and while not many people may be familiar with Shamal’s work (other than the Toni & Guy campaign), fashion juror Tapu Javeri endorsed the nomination saying that “his portfolio was extremely impressive.” But this list makes you wonder what happened to Zaheer Abbas whose work Hilary Alexander called “very, very, very good!”

Winning streak: The competition is between Ali Xeeshan and Amna Ilyas.

Best Fashion Photographer

Nominees: Ayaz Anis, Rizwan Baig at Deevees, Fayyaz Ahmed, Maram & Aabroo, Rizwan ul Haq

Fashion photographers Ather Shahzad and Khawar Riaz have been nudged out of this category, making way for newcomers and that is surely a sign of progression. But out of the given nominees, Deevees’ work is mostly associated with bridals and both Ayaz Anis and Maram & Aabroo have still not shown excellence in this field.

Winning streak: It’s between Fayyaz Ahmed and Rizwan ul Haq, though one has to say it’s high time Fayyaz walked away with the glory. His eye has matured incredibly over the years and he has a unique take on fashion despite the fact that he’s not always easy to access.

Best Hair & Makeup Artist

Nominees: Creative Team at Nabila, Maram Azmat, Nighat Misbah at Depilex, Raana Khan, Saba Ansari at Sabs

There’s no disputing the fact that Nabila and her creative team are a class apart. Raana Khan pushes the creative envelope out of the box but still needs time to tune her handle on hair and makeup. Maram Azmat’s work still isn’t consistent. And while Nighat Misbah and Saba Ansari may have the largest volume of work under their belt, they have still not revealed the creative edge imperative for a fashion stylist.

Previous nominees/winners like Akif Ilyas and Rizwana Khan – who aren’t even in the running this time – just indicate that the jury is grasping at odds for a cutting edge make up artist. And they’re having a tough time finding one.

Winning streak: Nabila’s Creative Team carries forward her ethos, which is what fashion is all about.

Achievement in Fashion Design – Pret

Nominees: Iman Ahmed at Body Focus, Kamiar Rokni, Khaadi Khaas, Sara Shahid at Sublime, Sonya Battla

Iman made an impressive appearance at the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week early last year and then disappeared. Khaadi Khaas has been popular at fashion weeks though the brand still hasn’t managed to establish the influence of being a trendsetter. Sara Shahid and Kamiar Rokni have been in the limelight longest, though Kamiar Rokni’s traditional take on fashion has been more appreciated than Sublime’s European chic. Sonya Battla remains to be one of the most cutting edge labels in Pakistan but needs to expand to Lahore to be universally acclaimed.

Winning streak: Kamiar Rokni is a likely winner this year.

Achievement in Fashion Design – Luxury Pret

Nominees: Deepak Perwani, Rana Noman at Bareeze, Sadaf Malaterre, Shamaeel Ansari, Shehla Chatoor

It’s still unclear what ‘Luxury Pret’ means. And if it means ‘luxurious eveningwear that is ready to wear’, then how have Sana Safinaz missed a nomination? Deepak Perwani has proven his worth as a women’s wear designer but Rana Noman’s single entry at fashion week cannot put him above SS. Sadaf Malaterre and Shehla Chatoor have contributed in two very different ways but one is surprised that an equally popular (if not more) label, Elan has been evaded completely. Shamaeel has not been readily available anywhere. Hers is essentially a made-to-order label.

Winning streak: Deepak Perwani is a hot favourite

Achievement in Fashion Design – Lawn

Nominees: Junaid Jamshed, Sana Safinaz, Shamaeel Ansari, Sonya Battla, Yahsir Waheed

A new category emerges with lawn. Though fabric can never be fashion, the jury probably introduced it for the number of designers now dabbling in lawn and calling it the true prêt of Pakistan. By that definition, Junaid Jamshed does not qualify and if he does, then Nishat and Gul Ahmed are just as deserving for having top of the line collections.

Winning streak: It would have to be Sana Safinaz for sweeping the market with goody bags disguised as lawn, setting the panel-patti trend for years to come. Close on their heels is Yahsir Waheed, who not only introduces a very strong portfolio of prints every year but keeps his lawn as simple as it should ideally be.

Achievement in Fashion Design – Menswear

Nominees: Ammar Belal, Hassan Sheheryar Yasin, Ismail Farid, Republic, Shakil Saigol

Ammar Belal continues to represent world-class style but he hasn’t managed to market his ideas effectively. HSY is an all rounder but falls short of design excellence. Ismail Farid has the aesthetic and modus operandi to be Pakistan’s very best.

Shakil Saigol may have brought an artistic flash to fashion week last year but his is not a consistent brand of clothing. Amir Adnan, Munib Nawaz, Fahad Hussayn?

Winning streak: For visibility and therefore influence as well as excellence in design, Republic deserves to win.

Best Retail Brand

Nominees: Daaman, FNKAsia, Generation, Gulabo, Khaadi

Another confusing category. If a retail brand is a brand represented by widespread stores and not designer signature (Zara and Mango are given as examples) then FNKAsia (by Huma Adnan) and Gulabo (Maheen Khan) do not belong here. If they do, then so does Khaadi Khaas, which has been upgraded to Pret. One would advise the jury to modify these titles to Fashion Design – High End and Fashion Design – High Street as to clarify things within fashion lingo.

Daaman is a force to reckon with but needs more time (it is retailing in Karachi, Lahore and on online stores) to blossom. Generation may be popular but by no means has the design influence or vision to top the list. FNKAsia may be a commercially successful brand but put up a weak appearance at fashion week last year. Maheen Khan’s handle on fashion easily surpasses everyone else but her lack of business structure prevents this high street brand to be as acclaimed as it should be.

Winning streak: Khaadi has the look and likeliness to being voted the best high street brand in Pakistan; its product line as well as clothing both diversified last year.

The jury: what say they and how?

Step one: the LSA office opens the judging process by inviting fashion contenders to submit their portfolios.

Step two: a panel of jurors is called in. It comprises credible fashion editors/journalists as well as several unbiased experts who have a deep understanding of fashion. They view all portfolios and mark them out of a maximum score of 100 each. The jury is also at liberty to add names/portfolios of contenders who may not have submitted a portfolio but deserve to be acknowledged for excellence. The top four or five scorers in each category emerge as nominees.

Step three: The LSA Awards office calls in different sets of voters for different categories who then determine the results. Voters are divided equally between Lahore and Karachi for fairness, though various scandals have inevitably emerged through the years.

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