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28 Apr - 04 May , 2012
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THE ORCHARD ON FIRE
 
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Chic & ClassyPakistan's fashion industry is progressing in leaps and bounds, whether it is the numerous fashion shows introducing a new crop of designers every now and then, or trade events promoting the cottage industry, people associated with Pakistani fashion are doing their best and that effort is now bearing fruit. Pakistan Fashion Design Council, the largest fashion body of this country has been working tirelessly to take this industry forward and in its endeavour, has successfully held five fashion shows. This time around the latest installment was held in the cultural hub of Pakistan – courtesy zinda dilaan-e-Lahore, where the who's who of Pakistan's fashion fraternity amidst foreign buyers witnessed four fine days of avant-garde fashion. Considering the fact that the industry is still in a growing phase, and that such a stage requires mutual cooperation and unity to strengthen, it was ironic to see the month of April get an overdose of fashion – three back-to-back fashion shows left almost everyone overwhelmed, highlighting the fact that all this competition hasn't exactly put Pakistani fashion's best foot forward. Eventually it wasn't just the designers, or the customers that suffered, it was perhaps the entire industry, because the best of the best didn't get the deserved recognition amidst all the hoopla.
Nickie-Nina kick-started day one's first act with their collection titled Royal Military. Actress and TV host Juggan Kazim walked the ramp dressed in a knee-length shirt, layered under a black coloured sash and a flared sleeveless eastern overcoat. The collection featured structured silhouettes, with straighter lines signifying the essence of military in the folds of the golden, black, maroon and navy blue fabric. Actress Humaima Malik concluded the collection as the showstopper along with the sister duo who looked ravishing in their own signature style. Next up was Atelier AZZA whose spring/summer 2013 collection Inheritance derived inspiration from the designer's ancestral Afghani and Indian roots. The ensembles featured silks, chiffon and net with gold and silk threadwork, on blazers and frocks. AZZA's Inheritance was followed by Tazeen Hasan, whose Evocative, a prêt a porter women's wear collection boasted bright colours of spring. The soft flowy outfits worked in delicate chiffon fabric showcased abundant usage of beads, sequins and ornamentation.
The woman behind Elan, Khadijah Shah came up with Flights of Fantasy in the second act of the first day, a collection that drew inspiration from Chinese designs on a colour palette consisting of bright yellows, pinks, lime, cream and electric and navy blue. The diverse collection had 'suit yourself' aesthetics to it, because of the varied utilisation the outfits offered. Muse followed with their somewhat digestible Autumn/Winter 2012/13 women's wear collection that seemed to be inspired from feminism. Even though the outfits were perfected in physicality, the somber colour palette showed less unison with their source of inspiration. Whatever the case, the collection lived up to the eccentric tastes of the designer duo. The penultimate show of the first day was Mohsin Ali's Baran-e-Ishq that was inspired by the spring season. Although, the inspirational element has been used over and over again and recycled to the core by almost every fashion designer in the subcontinent, Ali's Baran-e-Ishq was a breath of fresh air, as the collection not just incorporated bright vibrant hues but also brought chiffon, jamawar and silk together in the form of beautiful flared sleeveless silhouettes. The first day concluded with the 'trends show' that forecasted upcoming seasonal trends through fifteen 'looks' put together from the works of fourteen participating designers.

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The second day opened with voile shows that offered leading textile companies showcase their collections on the ramp. With the lawn fad in full swing, textile conglomerates have tried numerous business strategies to push sales, be it collaborating with known designers, or taking leading local and Bollywood actresses in their marketing campaigns. This time, PFDC paved the way for textile companies to bring their production on the ramp for the world to see. This was a great effort on PFDC's part to boost the textile industry of Pakistan; it also reinforced the institution's mantra regarding business. Voile shows were followed by Akif Mehmood's Glamazon that inaugurated the first act of day two. The collection failed to impress as it had nothing fresh to offer. Although Mehmood's previous Kailash and basant inspired collections signified innovation, this time Glamazon seemed half-baked and underworked. PFDC needs to give tried and tested young guns like Mehmood a break so that they can come up with good work in order to make a worthy platform like this one, fruitful for both. Noman Arfeen was up next with his menswear collection entitled Rags To Riches. The sartorial anthology, inspired by warehouse leftovers, was in tune with the nature of men's orthodox apparel – Rags to Riches was arrogant, but brilliant. Act one of the second day concluded with designer duo Asifa and Nabeel's unconventional but not unorthodox Leaves of Fall that was inspired by the autumn season. The collection showcased knee-length tops, cropped jackets with bold pockets and silhouettes with diverse cuts.
Ammar Belal started off the second act with Reunion 2012, a less outlandish collection than Belal's last collection. It was good to see him come up with a wardrobe for teenagers. The preppy sporty collection saw the designer incorporate knitwear jersey, and this combined with the vibrant colour combinations gave the outfits a chaotic feel to it – apt for the target market. Sylphic Inca, Zonia Anwer's collection inspired by ancient American Incan Tribe, was up next. The collection employed the use of vivid hues, but seemed flat on the surface. Zonia's Sylphic Inca was followed by Fahad Hussayn's Paranoir, a 'luxury/pret spring/summer' collection that seemed neither of the aforementioned. It appears as if the designer is in an impasse, hesitant to move beyond the comfort zone of darker shades, a trait previously exhibited in his bridal collection too.
Day three opened with a series of voile shows again, with three textile companies showcasing their lawn collections and designer Sundus Nawaz coming up with a kids-wear collection titled Rockstar Munks that saw little ones from SOS Children's Orphanage walk the ramp. This was followed by act one whose first show brought forth Karma's Seussical, inspired by literary works of children's author Dr. Seuss. The inspiration in itself gave the designer uninhibited room to let the creative juices flow in. The collection incorporated vibrant colours and a diverse range of outfits. Next in queue was Somal Halepoto's Qudrat, inspired by tropical birds. The apparel featured a diverse range of fabrics, varied cuts with threadwork and block print detailing. Third day's act one ended with the showcase of works by students from the Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design.
The second act was initiated by FnkAsia, which put forth a collection inspired by African-American women's rights activist. The outfits exuded a hardcore appeal with the drawstrings, hoods and pockets, paired in vivid colours such as indigo, yellow and green. FnkAsia's collection was followed by Hammad-ur-Rehman and Ali Xeeshan's Sij Ubhran and Bano Rani respectively. Although, the former's collection was specific to the inspirational source, the latter seemed clichéd – probably best understood by the designer himself. Although Bano Rani incorporated a range of silhouettes, the collection appeared to be misdirectional. On the other hand, Hammad-ur-Rehman's Sij Ubhran portrayed shades of sunrise, and appeared to be in line with the concept – different from his previous collection.
The final day started off with Sadaf Malaterre and Anjum Alix Noon's joint collaboration titled A Blackbird One. The collection inspired by nature, life and colour, showcased bohemian outfits with a miscellaneous colour palette. The duo was followed by Sania Maskatiya's Uraan, a pret-a-porter collection inspired by the phenomenon of flight. Irrespective of the elaborate conceptual understanding behind the collection, the designer has really evolved her work and that is evident from the collection presented the last time around. Maskatiya's Uraan employed a range of fabrics like chiffon, cotton and charmeuse silks. Zara Shahjahan concluded the first act of the final day with her Pretty Please. The sartorial compilation included wearable silhouettes like kurtas and tunics in cotton and lawn fabrics.
The second act saw The House of Kamiar Rokni showcase Sweetest Taboo a collection that lived up to the design house's minimalistic design aesthetics. Next in line was Republic's Tear For Fears that was inspired by the world war environ of the early 19th Century. The men's wear collection featured classic men's wear fabrics like tweeds, wool, denim, leather and cotton in a monochromatic colour palette. This was followed by the grand finale of the evening, with HSY's Pret Deluxe 2012 collection inspired by the Mediterranean luxury resort lifestyle. Although HSY has time and again proved his mettle, on this occasion, his collection did not seem to be a class apart from the rest, as is usually the case. The eventful four day fashion extravaganza eventually ended on a high note as it did not just achieve its objectives, but also raised the bar for the fashion front. The PFDC Fashion Week that marked its third year of prêt-a-porter platform, again lived up to its staunch objectives of promoting retail fashion and furthering high-end designs, textile manufacturers and buyers. The week was a complete package of ramp shows and exhibitions that facilitated purchase for local and foreign buyers. It garnered not just positive pleasantries, but also numbers.•

Credits
Photography: Faisal Farooqui & Dragonfly
Event Coordination: R. Team
Public Relations: Lotus PR

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