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Karachi: To initiate a fashion week is one thing but to sustain it in terms of quality is completely another. Much to one’s disappointment, FPW2 started off on extremely weak footing yesterday. With very high event management standards set up by Lahore two months ago, one had hoped to see this take the game a step further but in reality it was a case of two steps forward, one step back. The core of the issue: bad or irrelevant collections that should have been edited or streamlined out of the show. As I said on the red carpet, fashion weeks should be about building quality, not quantity. Eleven collections were shown on Day 1 and out of all of them one got only brief moments of fashion relief. It was an exhausting run-through, amplifying the fashion fatigue that we have already been experiencing of late.

  1. Shakeel/Chand Saigol: There was a lot of speculation on what Chand Saigol – primarily an artist – would showcase in his debut but this small menswear collection, with its high definition white kurtas, perfect jhodpuri churidaars, split-end raggled scarves and predominant zebra motifs, was one of the best of the day. Whether or not Saigol decides to dive into fashion full time will be seen, but he made quite an impact at the opening of fashion week. Loved the black and white warrior mohawks.
  2. Unbeatable: A throwback to what she has shown all along, Shahla Rehman’s fashion week collection was white with tinges of metallic gold and silver. The pre-pleated churidaars were interesting but there was nothing really that gave this collection the edge that pushes clothes into the realm of fashion. The floral gotta motifs were reminiscent of Ather Hafeez’s last collection but Rehman’s clothes were wearable, commercial and very safe. Better safe that sorry.
  3. Ayesha Tahir Masood: Nice bags, irrelevant to show in a fashion week meant for clothes. It would have made more sense to have accessorized someone else’s collection during fashion week.
  4. Imbias: Embellished frocks, men in pink organza shirts and a candy-floss meets Barbie doll finale dress. Not that Barbie would wear anything so hideous. If you thought that Imbias couldn’t design anything worse than their last fashion week collection, think again. They just outdid themselves.  And PS: It was outrageously irresponsible to have a model smoking a cigar on the catwalk, in a no-smoking zone!
  5. Rabia: A guest designer from Dubai, Rabia showed an Islamic collection that had some interesting pieces in stretch. Her slogan seemed to be: you can make covering your head fun.
  6. Zaheer Abbas: A surprisingly pleasant collection in terms of craftsmanship and neatness of finish. Abbas played with pleated chiffons embellished with tiny metal bells and coins. Pleasant, but certainly not trendsetting by any definition of fashion.
  7. c: A collection that spelt out resort wear gone wrong. Absolutely no coherence of design, no aesthetic and a collection that was all over the place while being nowhere at the same time.
  8. Samar Mehdi: I cannot imagine what has happened to Samar Mehdi since she showed her debut in Karachi a few years ago. That black and white collection was good, the outfits she has been designing for stage plays have been interesting. Why Samar left everything she studied at fashion school in Rajasthan is a question to be asked. Two shots at fashion week, both missing the mark.
  9. Ali Xeeshan: A regurgitation of what he showed in Lahore. Lost all punch in repetition. One would rather have seen wearable clothes minus the gimmickry.

10.  Kash Hussain: Again, difficult to differentiate this collection from his last. Too many twists in the clothes, thus you stopped following the story.

11.  Sana Safinaz: The reason why so many women had come and sat through the evening. Sana Safinaz opened with light exclusively printed chiffon dresses, tops and shifts and continued to show a little bit of everything they design. Impeccable, elegant clothes reflecting their superiority of design over anything else that had been seen on Day 1. That said, the traditional bridals could have been skipped to keep focus on the contemporary collection.

STYLE ICON OF THE DAY: MEESHA RAHMAN…for carrying off that rock chic haircut so well and for looking every inch the part that a front row fashionista must look.

PS: So many people came up to me and pointed out that I had written in my last article (in Dawn Images, April 4) that Karachi had superiority of design. I’m hoping that Day 2 will be better and I don’t have to eat my words. If only the organizers would give us a schedule or line up…

Last laugh: Lahore’s VIP lounge put up by Casa Hamza served fresh juices and sushi (and boasted Fendi/Versace/Kenzo furniture) whereas Karachi served samosas and chholay. Whatever happened to designer cuisine?

Cutting ‘em some slack: First days always have teething problems. Recently at the Wills India Lifestyle Fashion Week in Delhi, the first day got cancelled altogether. And back in Lahore, the first day had more glitches than what was an acceptable norm. So here’s to hoping that Day 2 will be better in terms of the magic that fashion needs to spin…

(All images borrowed from AFP on Getty)

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