Bridal Couture Week 2012
fashion design in Pakistan goes beyond big-name haute
couture to include fresh talent and home-based designers,
and the vision of the organisers of the Pantene Bridal
Couture Week – sponsored by the Hum Network
– is to incorporate all three designer groups
on their ramps in Karachi each year. The fourth annual
showcase of this bridal extravaganza was held in Karachi,
April 13-15, and was an outlay of the diverse talent
that creates traditional and innovative bridal clothing
fashion trends have evolved dramatically in Pakistan
over the years and have gone beyond tradition to avant-garde
fusion, where traditional cuts, designs and workmanship
techniques have metamorphosed to present-day eclecticism.
While a classic bridal avatar shall never go out of
fashion, the modern Pakistani bride now wears anything
from a heritage farshi gharara and kurta to modern
lehenga-inspired long skirts with ruffles and trains,
paired with floor-length worked chiffon or organza
coats. The variety of designs, cuts and combinations,
as well as a high quality of workmanship is what makes
Pakistani bridal couture the finest in South Asia
and in incredibly high demand locally and globally,
especially by the Pakistani Diaspora across the world.
Imran opened the night with a collection which comprised
heavily-embellished farshis with churidars and aizaars
– quintessential bridal wear.
Baig’s collection was regal and truly ramp-worthy.
The brilliant tones of his outfits, beautifully embellished
with traditional embroidery and banarsi silk made
for a breath-taking display, and we look forward to
seeing more of the designer’s creations in the
Sheikh kept his collection strictly traditional. The
menswear seemed reminiscent of another era entirely
as men walked down wearing sherwanis with either gold
embroidered borders or geometric motifs. Turbans and
fez caps adorned with jewellery, and khussas completed
the look. For the women, Sheikh kept it simple with
long kameezes and lehengas, gold embroidery around
the neck and motifs and borders.
Ansari used the BCW platform to focus attention on
the nuts and bolts of any fashion show: hair and make-up.
Swathed in white silk dresses by Zaheer Abbas, models
walked down the ramp wearing outrageous hair extensions
in shades of raven black, fiery red and sunny blonde.
Ansari had even fashioned hats out of extensions for
several of the styles and in some cases, created gravity-defying
hair styles that made one wonder whether the models
had, somewhere in between all the extensions, poles
stuck to the back of their heads. While Ansari certainly
injected some zing into an otherwise rather traditional
show, one wonders how appropriate it was on the bridal
displayed an assortment of traditional jewellery using
polki and kundan. The label divided the jewellery
into four colours for the four different bridal functions:
yellow for mayun, green for mehendi, red for the shaadi
and ivory for valima. Innovative though the idea,
it ended in too many segments of too much.
one can deny fashion industry veteran Nomi Ansari’s
talent or technique. However, his collection, while
far better than the rest on day one, was, perhaps
in lieu of his reputation as an innovator, a bit disappointing.
All it did was show pretty girls in pretty, albeit
more of the same clothes – heavily embroidered
and embellished outfits in shades of pink, red, pastel
blue and green. The chatapati borders he used in several
of his creations often seemed out of place. Maybe
Ansari is suffering fashion show fatigue!
two began with Zainab Sajid’s collection that
was pretty enough, but somewhat busy – in some
cases a single outfit featured five different colours.
Sajid’s monochrome saris and crimson and black
bridal outfits, such as the one worn by showstopper
Humaima Malick, were, however, more successful.
Alamgir showcased his menswear collection featuring
sherwanis that were even busier than Zainab Sajid’s
bridal outfits. Perhaps if Alamgir had toned down
the embellishment and colours, the creative tailoring
would have stood out more and some pieces such as
a dhoti-shalwar hybrid, although not for the average
groom, were certainly well executed.
‘Hijab’ Collection was divided into different
colour segments. The peach outfits were quite pretty
but the long flowing kameezes were so two years ago
and the outfits with the sequinned faux-necklines
were downright tacky.
Ansari offered a different take on evening wear. Black
and copper were recurring colours and she presented
knee-length angharka-style kameezes – a departure
from the long silhouettes in fashion today. Her cohesive,
restrained collection was a welcome change from the
other collections of the day.
Shakel probably wanted to deliver glamour, but instead
her clothes veered on gaudy. Showstopper Shahista
Wahidy’s pink and green bridal outfit, for instance,
featured both heavy kaam and delicate lace.
Ali’s collection ranged from pretty to hideous.
Pretty was the off-white and pink lehenga worn by
Lollywood starlet Sana, and hideous the Pakola green
and Fanta orange outfits made of cheap, synthetic
last designers of day two were the Indian duo Rabani
& Rakha. While some outfits were muted and sophisticated,
others were straight out of a Bollywood production.
The designers mostly made use of sequins and nets,
and the pleated net dresses were masterfully sewn.
and Nabeel’s lehengas were augmented with trains
layered with ankle-length worked kameezes, and with
floor-length chiffon and fine silk sleeveless front-open
peshwaz in off-white, gold, peach, red, orange, turquoise
and navy blue. Fusion chic: a gold-bordered red sari-style
pallu worn with navy and red farshi pajamas and a
floor-length off-white coat.
Mughal’s collection displayed some fine workmanship,
especially her off-white chiffons heavily embellished
with gold kaam, and peacock-inspired outfits using
feather motifs and turquoise shades. Iraj flaunted
a semi-circular, high tiara in a faux-regal look which
just didn’t sit pretty even though Mughal’s
fully-worked long front-open coat with gold work over
a blood-red peshwaz was striking.
Faruki’s runway couture was inspired by the
western, minimalist approach mostly a sleeveless,
low back, spaghetti-strap, off-the-shoulder look with
silver embroidered motifs on gauzy, flowing, white
and shimmery black materials. Her bridal outfits were
the same long kameezes, broad ghararas and chiffon
worked dupattas. Morning show hosts Hira and Mani
were the showstoppers flaunting the classic black
sherwani, red gharara combo – nothing new.
the second showcase of the evening the label ‘Cara’
– Imran Iklaque and Mustafa Shakeel –
displayed styles similar to those shown by previous
designers. Iraj stood out in a white worked heavy
lace, diagonally layered skirt with a satin bustier
creatively arranged with pearls in the hair. Zeba
Bakhtiar was lovely, if a bit lost, in a purple and
pink traditional gharara, but former cricket captain
Younus Khan was a star in a black velvet sheen sherwani
adorned with a Mughal-inspired pearl necklace.
Faisal and Zaheer Abbas rendered an eclectic look
in their display of fine jewellery made in Pakistan.
Their collections: Swarowski crystal chic meets traditional
kundan and polki.
final showcase, The Grand Couturiers, was a compendium
of Pakistan’s top creators of haute couture,
a sure and short list of the best in the industry.
Each model displayed a bridal creation – what
a bride would wear on the day off – in a gorgeous
coming together of design, fabric and embroidered
work. It was a pleasure to behold the best of bridal
fashion in Pakistan, where each and every taste palette
was reflected in the swaying ghararas and lehengas
on the ramp.