FPW 2021 – Karachi’s Signature Fashion Week Returns

FPW Spring/Summer 2021 held a weekend showing recently. Batool Mehdi writes about what worked, and what quite didn’t.

There’s something comforting about seeing Maheen Khan at the helm of something. In her own words to me one afternoon many moons ago, “if you want sh*t done, sometimes you’ve got to do it yourself.” And did she get the proverbial sh*t done, and how. To pull off a showing of any scale in today’s uncertain times is no less than a feat, and Team FPW certainly ought to be lauded for that. With limited guests in audience and strict SOP’s being followed across the board, there was a real sense of intimate energy about the event – crisp, concise and well coordinated. In another much needed precedent which I hope others will follow, the shows started more or less remarkably on time, thereby ending in time as well, before a sense of fatigue set in. 

As for the fashion, it must be as it must always be – there’s the good, the not so good, and the quite frankly, outright bizarre. 

Day One began with Umsha by Uzma Babur. There was some interesting fluidity in some of her designs. However, some of the textural choices were off. And there were some pieces that just didn’t appeal aesthetically, at all.

Kala by Mubashra Najam had a couple of pieces that might work as separates, but not necessarily together. 

Meanwhile, Miram by Diners was staid and safe menswear. 

Sadaf Malatare’s use of sequins was on point and on trend, such as the skirt on the top. Which made the decidedly more dated pieces, such as the skirt on the bottom, even more jarring.

Meanwhile, the menswear was more message, than fashion. Essentially the same series of white shirts, with exactly the same message at the back of each. 

Alina & Farina was an odd collection. They had so much going on, one didn’t know where to look. And that’s not necessarily a good thing. It was basically a case of everything but the kitchen sink thrown at these.

But oddly enough, they had one of my favourite pieces from the entire two days – this stunning jacket/throw.

Tabassum Mughal’s clothes are deja vu on repeat. You are aware of exactly what is to come, every single time, from the silhouettes, to the work itself, which you often wish would just let the fabric breathe.  

And then – just as there be light, there be Sundus Talpur. Easily the star of the day, with her contemporary take on elegant, statement jewellery.

Day Two’s fashion can be marked by a real juxtaposition of design philosophy. If we look at Delphi by Nida Tapal, it was a striking insight into understated glamour. 

 

 Only pet peeve? There’s nothing worse than a  badly draped Sari. 

But if Nida Tapal was all about understated statements, then Gogi by Hasan Riaz was all about the overstatement. From the unfortunate placement of horses, to a bizarre design aesthetic, one honestly does not even know what to critique, for it seemed to be a surrealist’s dream gone wrong. In every possible way.

Sana Abbas had some glimpses of a creative approach to Bridal wear.

The problem was how often she played it safe. 

Zaaviya tried the belted approach. It brought a nice cohesion to the collection, albeit a hit and miss in execution.

The contrasts in the evening continued with Sameer Sain showing a refreshingly different take on menswear. At least there was an attempt to provide the menswear silhouette with something new.

Shamsa Hashwani, on the other end, reminded one of a sea of sameness – utterly forgettable in its pretty, but bland avatars.

And then there was signature Maheen. While the usual draping par excellence was there, what was interesting was how parts of the collection married the designer’s edgy, inner rock chic with sublime elegance. 

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