December issue 2010
Here Comes the Bride
Pakistan’s first ever Bridal Couture Week, held recently in Lahore, came to a befitting end with a glorious display of fireworks. The three-day event featuring 17 shows was organised by the lifestyle channel, Style360 in collaboration with J&S, the event management company.
On day one, fashionistas and burly men flocked the venue. The fashion show was held on the rooftop of a club, under the open sky, but the doors opened half-an-hour late, much to the chagrin of those guests that had arrived on time. Nevertheless, once in front of an awe-inspiring catwalk — it was 140 feet long — everyone’s mood became amiable.
With HSY choreographing all three days and Depilex ably handling the make-up on the first day, the show started with Nomi Ansari’s collection. He opened with a beautiful, heavily worked ajrak line that was a refreshing change from his signature colours and presented a wonderful option fordholkis and mayuns. His collection then moved to the more formal mehndi wear, in vibrant hues, with dhaka pants and churidars reigning supreme. A bridal ensemble that immediately comes to mind was a red jamawar with a huge sequinned border in gold, worn over a velvet aijaars.
Ali Xeeshan came in next, with his colourful collection of mehndi wear comprising tie-and-dye, worked outfits in combinations of red, beige and gold; and black, red and orange. In fact in this couture week it became apparent that black is the new red as most designers showcased black bridal ensembles! His show-stopper — a black sherwani — was modelled by Nomi Qamar with his ‘bride’ attired in a black/purple gown.
The last designer for the day was Mehdi, who brought on the ramp his usual muted palette. His outfits were sophisticated, comprising mostly off-white chiffon/silver saris, and champagne-coloured ensembles with traces of tea pink, aqua or turquoise. Most of his ensembles comprised backless tops and choli blouses, and there was even a “bra-top” worn with a sari.
The first segment of day two opened with a two-hour delay. The make-up and hairstyle, done by Khawar, left a lot to be desired. Newcomer Amna Ajmal opened the show. Her male range comprising kurtas was far better than the female collection, which was disappointingly very typical. However, she too introduced black in her bridal wear.
Shazia Bridal Gallery, another relatively new name, came in next. Although her ensembles were appealing, by and large, very few of them were actually bridal. Most were formals — some incorporating turquoise stones that could surely be worn by the bridal party.
Saher Ali Studio was the next to display. Although her outfits too were less for the bride and more for the bridal party, they were largely wearable. Incidentally, some may have been copies of established designers!
Closing this segment was Nargis Hafeez who, I felt, was the wrong choice to end a show with. Her collection, mostly comprising lenghas, saris and dhaka pants had nothing unusual to offer.
Fahad Hussayn came in next and he did not disappoint. His off-white, self-embossed sherwanis were particularly impressive. The bridal range included saris, aijaars and gharara pants with striking combinations, including a black line for his bridal wear.
Men’s Store was a bit of a misfit among shimmering pieces. Their collection comprised their usual jeans — including torn one’s — shorts, and leather jackets. The few outfits for women that they exhibited were also non-bridal. The saving grace was their final line of three-piece suits and double-breasted jackets.
Closing the day was Lajwanti’s collection of exquisitely worked saris with choli blouses and fusion outfits. Her showstopper was Resham wearing a glittering pink and gold sequinned ghagra — much to the delight of the audience.
Shehzad, representing Pantene, the main sponsor of the event, opened the fourth segment with a hair and make-up show that featured hair and make-up by Toni&Guy for female models and Khawar for male. Although far from bridal couture week material, the elaborate hairdos and dramatic make-up injected adrenalin in the audience. The outfits worn by the models were designed by Mehdi.
What came next didn’t just energise the audience but also made them sit up. HSY opened his segment in a dramatic manner with a mock wedding party — complete with a large number of models hugging and greeting one another. Then Shehzad, resplendent in an off-white sherwani, walked the ramp as the groom, with other bridal couples following. Showcasing the best of HSY from the last decade, the exquisite ensembles included black for brides. His showstopper was none other than Reema. The audience hooted for her as she walked down the ramp in a red ghagra with gold gota work.
Asifa and Nabeel as usual put up an elegant collection, comprising gowns, churidars and fusion wear. Most of the outfits could be worn at weddings, even though they weren’t pure bridals.
Hoorain, surprisingly, ended the evening. Personally I found her ensembles very ‘Lollywood,’ but she seemed to appeal to the Lahori taste with her heavily worked, crystal-encrusted ensembles, and very ‘busy’ designs.
The final segment opened with the famous Indian designer-cum-film-director Muzzafar Ali. His very choice of music marked a different note from what one had become accustomed to in three days. It was far from the Bollywood wedding numbers that had largely been playing. He chose western operatic music for his collection. The major part of the collection comprised sequinned saris and churidars worn with Bollywood-style glittering outfits. However, the tail-end of his collection, comprising delicate embroidery on organza saris with beautifully embroidered pallu were a treat.
Shafaq Habib’s jewellery was exhibited next. Worn as part of the outfits itself, the Egyptian inspired gold and turquoise collection featured elaborate neck-pieces, earrings, headgear and hand accessories. The outfits had been cleverly designed by Fahad Hussayn so as not to take away attention from the jewellery pieces, which were more funky than bridal.
The grand finale featured Nilofer Shahid’s collection. She exhibited ensembles inspired by Kashmir, Lucknow, Bahawalpur and Hyderabad. Although she stood at risk of making her ensembles more ethnic than bridal, she managed to infuse a rich feel to them, playing on the brilliant combinations and blend of fabrics. Moammer Rana attired in a sherwani and Nadya Hussain in a brilliant beige and maroon gown were her showstoppers.
At the end of the Bridal Couture week, Vinny, the producer of the show explained the long delays and the irritating intervals between each showing: “It takes that much longer for every model to change from one heavy gharara, pinned dupatta and jewellery, into another, especially as we can’t risk spoiling or losing these expensive pieces. Although we had around 35 models this time round, most designers wanted the same six senior models to open and close their shows, which made it very time-consuming. For the next show we intend to train more new models.”
Also, one hopes that designers showcasing bridal wear for the first time will have learnt from their experience and will put up better, and more relevant collections next time.
The writer is a freelance journalist based in Karachi. She also works at Hum television.