June Issue 2010
Fashion on a Mission
Karachi’s glitterati keenly await Carnival de Couture, the Teacher’s Resource Centre’s (TRC) annual fund-raiser. It is reputed to be the most glamorous and stylish event in Pakistan. This year the event was moved to Lahore, much to the disappointment of Karachiites.
In keeping with its tradition, Carnival de Couture presented a Pakistani designer, Umar Sayeed, and two Indian designers, Tarun Tahiliani and Malini Ramani, before the bold and beautiful of Lahore.
Umar Sayeed opened the show with a collection inspired by the legendary writer Qurratulain Hyder’s epic novel Gardish-e-Rang-e-Chaman. Pakistan’s superstar Shaan walked the ramp in a white chikankari sherwani and took everyone’s breath away. He paved the way for grand gowns and western-inspired dresses, all made in chikankari. A superb blending of the best of both worlds!
If virginal whites left the senses spellbound, then the riot of colours in elegant, flowing forms adorned with Kashmiri embroidery was equally striking. In one line, Sayeed picked up moss green, one of the most difficult tones, and blended it with magenta, mushroom and silver in loose, baggy but rather innovative Kashmiri-inspired silhouettes. With his intricate embroidery, refined vision and innovative silhouettes, Sayeed proved that Pakistan is way ahead of India in style, innovation and excellence.
India’s Malini Ramani sent her resort collection down the ramp. It was the story of a girl Rita who loves to travel and experience the world. The background commentary, highlighting her explorations and conquests, became slightly overbearing. From Miami to Copacabana, Rita had downed a variety of cocktails everywhere. And the essence of those cocktails was reflected in Ramani’s collection, too. While the hemlines moved in, soared and crashed like tidal waves, the embellishment left a lot to be desired. The only redeeming factor was her simple long dresses.
It seems as if Ramani did not understand the concept behind Carnival de Couture as not a single piece was really couture. In fact, the collection she chose to show in Pakistan was a tad out of sync: the crotch-revealing short dresses and other such skimpy numbers lacked elegance and oomph; it was simply a pointless show of flesh. We Pakistanis do wear risqué clothes, but we happen to have good taste and a very refined sense of style.
Tarun Tahiliani has shown in Pakistan twice before and left a good impression. This time he did not seem to be in his element. He showcased a blend of eastern and western outfits. While his palette remained vibrant, the look was rather confused and spiritless. Peshwazes were higher than they should be and had coarse pleating instead of fine cinching. The embellishment lacked refinement.
The only occasion Tahiliani lived up to his title – King of Couture – was when he sent his draped number down the ramp. Simply gorgeous! Draping has never looked as comfortable and at home in any other designer’s hands as it does in Tahiliani’s. His creativity and range of draping was just marvellous. Other than this, the rest of his collection was highly disappointing in terms of innovation and style. One still remembers his first fashion showing in Karachi in 2004 when he set the ramp and Pakistan afire; his second showing in 2006 also received accolades.
However, one must commend Tarun Tahiliani – and Malini Ramani – for coming to Pakistan to participate in a wonderful cause despite all the negative publicity currently surrounding Pakistan.
Carnival de Couture, which attempts to bring designers, models and celebrities from India and Pakistan on one platform for a charitable cause, has suffered owing to the highs and lows in inter-state relations. But the woman behind the cause, Zeba Hussain, has, nonetheless, carried on with high energy and super zeal. It is through her relentless efforts that TRC’s Carnival de Couture has become one of the most sought after events showcasing couture in Pakistan while serving the cause of human development.
TRC lays great stress on enhancing Early Childhood Education (ECE). The organisation works with public and private schools and trains their teachers. TRC also works with the federal ministry of education to develop ECE curriculum and policy. And because of TRC’s pioneering role, Pakistan is said to be the only country in South Asia with an in-depth research-based curriculum and policy.
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