Bridal Fashion in Pakistan goes from strength to strength – PLBW 2014 Round-Up – PFDC L’Oreal Fashion Week showcases some of the best of Pakistani Bridal Fashion

Sania Maskatiya - Bridal Fashion Week - PLBW 2014
Sania Maskatiya takes a bow after showing a stunning collection

Bridal fashion is a bit of a balancing act. Combining creativity, luxury and tradition into a striking statement is an art. The best bridal fashion week collections display originality and craftsmanship. They play with structure and silhouette in a way that enhances embellishment. Like all the best fashion collections, they have something to say and they say it with style.

Sana Safinaz - Bridal Fashion Week - PLBW 2014
Sana Safinaz impressed with their layering, uses of prints, earthy tones and contemporary ethnic aesthetic

There were several standout collections that ticked all these boxes at PFDC L’Oreal Fashion Week. Sana Safinaz, Fahad Hussayn, Misha Lakhani, Nomi Ansari, Zara Shahjahan, Shamaeel Ansari and Sania Maskatiya were all impressive in their own way.

Nomi Ansari - Pakistan Bridal Fashion Week - PLBW 2014
Nomi Ansari dialed back the saturation on his trademark colour for a collection that was original and polished

From Nomi Ansari’s masterful use of colour and to Fahad Hussayn’s incredible embroidery, they all had their own unique strengths. Sana Safinaz brought a freshness to the ramp with their beautiful print lined worked dupattas.

Fahad Hussayn - Pakistan Bridal Fashion Week - PLBW 2014
Fahad Hussayn’s incredible embroidery, concept, layering and silhouettes all hit the mark
Zara Shahjahan -  Pakistan Bridal Fashion Week - PLBW 2014
Zara Shahjahan’s intricate shawls and new direction were attractive and appealing

Zara Shahjahan’s intricate ari-worked shawls added an element of opulence to a polished new look from her. Shamaeel Ansari’s regal creations reeked with elegance while Misha Lakhani injected the cool factor with her kaftans and laidback vibe. Sania Maskatiya dialed back her previous experimentalism with a show that hit just the right balance between creativity and wearability. All these designers exhibited variety, artistry and a distinct, appealing aesthetic.

Misha Lakhani -  Pakistan Bridal Fashion Week - PLBW 2014
Misha Lakhani is oft copied but her unique cool vibe is inimitable – she showed a seriously gorgeous, original,  intricate, fashion-forward collection
HSY-  Pakistan Bridal Fashion Week - PLBW 2014
The first half of HSY’s show was inventive and polished

There were plenty of other hits on the ramp. The first half of HSY’s show was as masterful and original as any during the event. Nida Azwer showed some stunning pieces and the artistry of her pieces was unmatched. One incredible trailing lengha stood out particularly for the exquisite intricate threadword featuring birds, trees and animals. Some of the outfits however were a little underwhelming for the ramp.

Nida Azwer-  Pakistan Bridal Fashion Week - PLBW 2014
The artistry of some of Nida Azwer’s pieces was breathtaking
Nickie Nina -  Pakistan Bridal Fashion Week - PLBW 2014
This Nickie Nina outfit was fabulous – even though you cant see the colours clearly on this shot

Nickie Nina showed some exceptional pieces in pale pastels featuring gota embroidery. Their collection would have been much better if they had expanded this theme further.

Saira Shakira -  Pakistan Bridal Fashion Week - PLBW 2014
Saira Shakira’s collection was brave and different though not every piece worked

Saira Shakira showed a brave collection that was both experimental and beautiful. They sent shirt collars, half capes and twists on saris down the ramp. Not everything worked but the good outweighed the bad. Ali Xeeshan featured far too many lenghas but his gota work was inspired.

Ali Xeeshan -  Pakistan Bridal Fashion Week - PLBW 2014
Stuffed peacocks? It can only be Ali Xeeshan

As usual, there were also some major misses. A bridal collection is a huge investment and so there is a tendency among some designers to stifle their creativity on the altar of commercial considerations. This shouldn’t be the case. When people are paying the sorts of prices that designer creations cost these days, they want their clothes to scream their designer pedigree. A designer bridal or formal jora should not look like something knocked out by a shop in Liberty or Ghizri or Tariq Road. Similarly, original embroidery is not enough when combined with tired silhouettes. Putting pretty jora after pretty jora down the ramp does not make an impact at fashion week.

Sofia Badar for the Rising Talent section

The Bank Al-Falah Rising Talent section in particular did not live up to expectations. Given the sort of capsule collections this segment produces during the pret week, it was disappointing to see the general lack of excellence in this segment. Mahgul stood out from the others in this respect.

Mahgul Rashid -  Pakistan Bridal Fashion Week - PLBW 2014
Mahgul Rashid impressed – everything from jewellery to bags was made in-house

There was artistry in her embroidery and her cuts were creative, though not always entirely successful. Everything from standout jewellery to shoes and bags was produced in-house for a collection that reflected both talent and diligence. Apart from Mahgul, the standard of this segment was not what it should have been.

Bad fitting can kill an outfit

There were also quality issues – and not just among the Rising Talent section. Up close to the ramp it was possible to spot ripped seams, dangling threads, safety pins and falling beads. Backstage isn’t the most cherishing environment for outfits but these sorts of faults are unacceptable at this level. Only a handful of designers were guilty in this respect but, given the much vaunted selection process, this is not something that should happen at all.

Shamaeel Ansari -  Pakistan Bridal Fashion Week - PLBW 2014
Shamaeel Ansari’s floral headpieces stood out – as did her unique style

In general though, PLBW remained a great showcase for some of the best Pakistani bridal fashion.
The event also offered some great styling tips. Outlandish creations like Shamaeel Ansari’s floral headpieces and Fahad Hussayn’s Thatta puppet sticks are obviously just for the ramp but there were plenty of other real life styling tricks worth stealing.

Sana Safinaz -  Pakistan Bridal Fashion Week - PLBW 2014
Nadia Ali wears a polki arm-band for Sana Safinaz

The way Misha Lakhani put her models in khussas, the polki arm-band worn by Nadia Ali for Sana Safinaz, Karma’s outsize jumkas and the inspired way Shamaeel reverse-knotted a shawl around a model’s neck are all great ways to adding a little oomph to a look.

Misha Lakhani -  Pakistan Bridal Fashion Week - PLBW 2014
Misha Lakhani sent her models down the runway in gold khussas

Overall there was more of an emphasis on bridal formals and fewer pure bridal joras on the ramp at PLBW. Several designers cited the fact that they prefer not to repeat their actual bridal outfits, preferring to give brides a unique look for their big day. Another reason is probably that bridal formals give designers more opportunity to display their design vision.

Sania Maskatiya -  Pakistan Bridal Fashion Week - PLBW 2014
Sania Maskatiya played with super long dupattas and printed lowers

While there were many common themes, from layering to jackets to high-waisted ghararas, what stood out was sheer range of aesthetics available in the Pakistani fashion industry. Ali Xeeshan and Nomi Ansari excel at bold, colourful creations while at the other end of the spectrum Nida Azwer and Ammara Khan’s muted palettes have an entirely different appeal. Karma’s bling versus Shamaeel’s rich layers, HSY’s edgy Divine Decadence against Sana Safinaz’s sophisticated contemporary ethnicity – there was something for everyone. Isn’t it lucky that Pakistani weddings are such prolonged, multi-event affairs? With so many gorgeous outfits to choose from, picking just one look is well nigh impossible.

A version on this article appeared in the Express Tribune on October 4th 2014

Unless watermarked ‘Karachista’, all pictures are courtesy the fabulous Faisal Farooqui and his team at Dragonfly

Copyright 2015 Karachista. All rights reserved
Salima Feerasta
Salima Feerasta
Salima Feerasta is chief editor of and one of Pakistan's top fashion and lifestyle journalists.

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  1. Quite Facinating Work! The Designs of embroidery is looking very prominent and eye catchy with colors. Definitely, A good number of viewership will get in back!


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