By Muhammad Asad Ullah
The past decade in Pakistan Fashion Industry, social media, streetwear, street style and luxury wears have been on the rise. It has been minimalism, maximalism and minimalism again. Now, as a new decade dawns, the cycle is beginning all over again. And this time it seems to solidify the power of super brands and luxury couture, while also birthing a new generation of savvy independents whose influence far exceeds their size. The recently showcased collection ‘Lost in my French garden’ by Hassan Riaz at Fashion Pakistan Week — Winter Festive ’19, was a clamouring proof of it, with looks that captured elusive insouciance — the undone ruffles and layers, the waves of embroidery — but also ones that paid homage to Paris, the fashion capital of the world.
Hassan transported showgoers back to the 18th century with some silhouettes with a flair for the dramatics as a through line. Fantastical flourishes were omnipresent and the evolution of Parisian fashion was translated in between the lines, largely the story of liberation — first from fascinator hats, then from skirts, and finally from teetering stiletto heels. His mesh of traditional French embellishments of bold beadings, applique work, cut-work, and embroideries with experimental and regular silhouettes was the dizzying, super-surrealist cascade of eye crystals. The large three-dimensional florals and uniquely placed sequins were interesting.
His runway started with Sadaf in emerald green pencil skirt paired with candy pink applique work and closed with a real bang of French ruffles in yellow and white, showstopped by actress Nimra Khan. Gogi advocated fiercely, for sheer sleek jackets, exaggerated shoulders, and body-hiding luxury jumpsuits, while simultaneously creating sexy little scarf dresses, miniskirts, and see through pants with pointed busts.
There were looks that demanded a red carpet or a high street appearance day — an asymmetric explosion of lace and ruffles anchored by half of a tailored jacket—and others that demanded a very chic day (a patched, striped shirtdress with swaggering sleeves and a sleek bodice).
Few looks appeared eccentrically stitched together from old slips and patterns of cut-outs that deserved to be psychoanalysed. But to the extent that the feisty Wizkid usually indulges his colourful tendencies, the sum of these impressively executed parts actually felt less profoundly melancholic, more palpably enchanting. This came through in the seductive bias cut and drape of certain otherwise minimalist dresses, and the maximalist monochromatic embroideries that turned the final looks into couture-like creation.
However, Hassan clarifies that he had no intention of taking it along the couture lines.
“A lot of people confused French garden and related the collection to French couture, which is not true. ‘Lost in my French garden’ was used as to describe the adoption of the beautiful and vibrant French tulip colours and details of embellishment derived from the organic and planned landscaped of French gardens with different attractive elements found around their gardens which can easily be embraced in the collection.”
Did Hassan get lost in that elaborate collection of mish and mesh. “For some it might be elaborate and for some it may not be. I won’t say it was too elaborate or all over the place, it was just very detailed. Some of the pieces in this collection were showcased at London Fashion Week last edition, where they were highly appreciated. I believe the runway shows in Pakistan still have to go a long way for the acceptance of experiment and innovation.”
But a detailed collection of such can be nearly of no use, to the designers, fashion goers and buyers, if not translated well to the rack. “Rack is something which everyone considers while designing, but it doesn’t mean that it stops you from creating new market and something unique. We’re already in demand for our this festive collection, that shows that is has been already accepted by the masses for the racks. They’d buy it, just the way it was showcased, except a few tweaking here and there; fulling our purpose of providing uniqueness and something new for the market,” said Hassan.
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