Madiha Raza’s stunning “Flight of Birds” collection steals the show at Maybelline New York Millennial Fashion 2014

Madiha Raza’s Flight of Birds collection was the highlight of the evening

Fashion Pakistan Council’s showcase for new talent was a low-key yet beautifully professional event. Held at the Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture, Maybelline New York Millennial Fashion 2014 had all the trappings of fashion week in miniature. A select crowd of established designers, fashion media and trade representatives watched shows by five upcoming designers.

Shows by novice designers can be something of a trial for fashion insiders. You have to balance your desire to encourage new talent with the urge to facepalm at elementary blunders. But once in a while, a debutant will burst on the scene with a collection so beautiful that you struggle to contain your superlatives.

Madiha Raza

Madiha Raza MNMF 2014 - Pakistan Millennial Fashion
Madiha Raza MNMF 2014

Maybelline New York Millennial Fashion 2014 introduced five young Pakistani designers but at the end of the evening there was only one name on everyone’s lips. Madiha Raza’s “Flight of Birds” collection was in a class of its own. Original, polished and artistic the collection simply sang on the ramp.

Based on leather laser cutting and 3D textures combined with digital printing, “Flight of Birds” scored on multiple levels. The silhouettes, detailing and finishing of the outfits were all outstanding.

Raza’s leather cut leather capes were particularly appealing as were her custom-made, colourful accessories. The vibrant textural handbags and shoes worked perfectly with the collection and were beautiful pieces in themselves.

Gorgeous details from Madiha Raza’s “Flight of Birds” collection

None of the other four designers quite matched the level of Raza’s show but there was plenty of talent on display.

Sameer Sain

Sameer Sain MNMF 2014 - Pakistan Millennial Fashion
Sameer Sain MNMF 2014

Sameer Sain’s Denimology collection was the only menswear collection. What stood out about the collection was the precision detailing. Sain had used jute and zip detailing to accent his denim collection and you couldn’t fault the finishing – not a thread was out of place, even up close. The metal eyelets, jute weaving and zip edgings cleverly accented a well-conceived collection.

 Abel Emmanuel

Abel Emmanuel MNMF 2014 - Pakistan Millennial Fashion
Abel Emmanuel MNMF 2014

Abel Emmanuel is not quite a novice – he showed a capsule collection as part of the Bank Al Falah Rising Talent section at FPW Spring Summer in April. His Scarlet Night collection featured abstract style prints based on henna art and Hebrew calligraphy.

He’s particularly talented at structure and his two gowns were beautifully constructed but they seemed self-indulgent. Apart from the extarvagant gowns, Emmanuel showed embroidered chiffon shrugs, pencil dresses and well cut sequined trousers. There were also some pieces that didn’t work well. What the collection needed was stronger direction in terms of silhouette but it had both flair and promise.

Nitasha Yacub

The Anglo-Indians of the subcontinent inspired Nitasha Yacub’s “Vanishing Culture” collection, but the cuts seemed to recall forties and fifties Americana. This impression was augmented by the choice of music for the show.

Nitasha Yacub MNMF 2014 - Pakistan Millennial Fashion
Nitasha Yacub MNMF 2014

Yacub based her pieces on a thick cotton karandi, mostly lined with floral prints. She used crochet lace and pearl to accent the cream fabric and soft floral prints. The collection needed better finishing and a final steaming before hitting the ramp but more importantly it needed more relevance. If Yacub could have taken the Anglo Indian concept and given it a Millenial twist, this could have been a much better collection.

Aalish Mansoor

Aalish Mansoor ‘s Royal Soccer collection had even worse conceptual weaknesses. His collection was the first of the night and possibly the least impressive. His prints were apparently based on “royal arts” and the soccer ball. Many designers have mixed vibrant prints and monochrome in recent years but Mansoor’s take on this didn’t work well.

Aalish Mansoor MNMF 2014 - Pakistan Millennial Fashion
Aalish Mansoor MNMF 2014

He did show some good pieces – notably a pretty sari and an interesting draped black dress – but overall the collection lacked impact and appeal. He also sent Sadaf Kanwal down the ramp in a mini-dress with black tights that had massive runs in them. No one could quite work out if that was intentional and what it had to do with “Royal Soccer”.

The night had its successes and failures but it was an experience that all the designers will grow from. The stars of the night will have received crucial recognition and those who didn’t do so well will learn from the event. The show also gave the designers a taste of what fashion week is like. From the controlled chaos backstage, to styling, crisis management and learning how to articulate your creative vision – some things are only learned from experience.

Maybelline had provided a professional makeup artist, Rana Khan, to come up with looks for each of the 5 collections and they also produced videos so each designer could talk about their collections before sending them down the ramp. With no fees for the participants and without the pressure of a full fashion week, this was an ideal opportunity for these budding designers to make a mark.

Maybelline New York Millennial Fashion - MNMF 2014 - Pakistan Millennial Fashion
A celebration of creativity at Indus Valley School of Art & Architecture

This event wasn’t just about nurturing design talent. Model Faiza Ansari made her choreography debut with panache. She could be spotted amongst the banks of photographers, directing the models moves and fine-tuning their timing.

Maybelline New York Millennial Fashion - MNMF 2014 - Pakistan Rubya Chaudry and Hira Tareen
Hira Tareen & Rubya Chaudry in Nitasha Yacub

Four of her fellow senior models, Rubya Chaudry, Fauzia Aman, Hira Tareen and Sadaf Kanwal, took part in the show but the organisers also gave an opportunity to some newcomers. The top three finalists at Veet Supermodel 2014, Humaira Asghar Ali, Beenish Khan and Misbah Mumtaz Mughal, all took part in the event too.

Fashion Pakistan’s dynamic new council should congratulate itself on an excellent event for fostering the next generation of designers, choreographers and models.

Hopefully the star of the night, Madiha Raza, will win the onsite voting to be given a spot at FPW Spring/Summer 2015. Even if she doesn’t, this is a designer whose name you should remember. It isn’t every night that a star is born.

This review by Karachista’s chief editor Salima Feerasta first appeared on

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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