HSY recently celebrated 24 years in fashion with a grand solo show at the Wajid Ali Khan Haveli, an historic, beautifully preserved Haveli in Old Lahore. This show was all about the experience – from the beautiful setting to the tasteful enhancement of the haveli’s attractions with roses, rose petals and sympathetic lighting. From the glorious scent of rose and motia from the myriad flowers to the appealing vision of the all-white dress code.
The show itself was held in the Haveli’s courtyard, with viewing points in the courtyard and in overlooking balconies. The effect was intimate and original. Every detail was thought of – with a fabulous playlist for the show that updated desi classics and had the audience swaying to the beat. The collection was preceded by cocktails on the rooftop of the Haveli and ended with a party there, catered by Cosa Nostra, that echoed rocking music late into the warm spring night.
An ode to his hometown, Lahore, this new bridal collection Mohabbatnama saw HSY going back to his roots – playing with the very colour palette and techniques that saw him first stand out way back in the late 90s. Those earthy greens, deep purples and antique browns stood out in a season when everyone else is playing with soft pastels or jewel tones.
Then there was his red segment – there’s red and there’s RED and HSY has always known how to pick the most flattering tones for South Asian skin.
HSY had a definite vision for the styling of the event – from the old-school draping to the massive teekas to the motia flower wristlets and garlands on every model. He gave each model keys to carry and a little bird told me that he said to them backstage that he wanted them all to have that “bari bahu” feel.
A lot of designers shy away from black or white for bridalwear but HSY has never done so and it was great to see him include black and white outfits in the collection. HSY opened his show with one of his favourite models Mehreen Syed in black, supported by ace actor Bilal Ashraf who has been the face of HSY in recent seasons.
One of Pakistan’s top designers for wedding menswear, HSY didn’t neglect grooms – with a host of menswear options in each colour set.
This show was all about HSY celebrating his fashion journey. He choreographed the show himself and danced along to the soundtrack as he directed his models down the ramp. His last segment was a tribute to those who started his fashion journey with him – he coaxed models ZQ, Natty, Simee Pasha and Andleeb Rana back to the ramp and had makeup artist Shehzad of Ather Shezad walk with them. Vaneeza has left the fashion industry but was in the stands wearing HSY and cheering and Afshan Samee, HSY’s sister and first model, flew in for 12 hours just to walk for her brother.
HSY started his show with poetry by Faiz Ahmed Faiz, read by artist Salima Hashmi. He ended it with the incomparable Resham, regal and elegant, perfectly in tune with the evocative music and historic surroundings. This solo show by HSY was a triumph and has set the bar high for other Pakistani designers.