Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Ramp to Reality – Ensemble Pakistan hosts collections from TFPW 2015

Ensemble Pakistan hosted an exclusive event yesterday featuring Telenor Fashion Pakistan Week collections by some of Karachi’s top designers. It was a great way for customers to see these fashion week collections up close and an opportunity for them to buy fashion hot off the ramp.


Sania Maskatiya, Nida Azwer, Zaheer Abbas, Inaaya and Sanam Chaudri all exhibited their Telenor Fashion Pakistan Week collections. The group exhibition also featured Body Focus by Iman Ahmed, though she chose to stock pret rather than her fashion week collection. Fashion Pakistan Council board member Maheen Karim sat out fashion week this season but showed her support for the event by exhibiting her luxury pret.

Naushaba Brohi of Inaaya at Ensemble exhibition
Naushaba Brohi of Inaaya at Ensemble exhibition

While all of the exhibiting designers played well with silhouette on the ramp, they also put an incredible amount of detailing into their outfits. Many of these outfits need to be seen up close to be fully appreciated. Sania Maskatiya had used embroidery so fine that it looked like print.

Ensemble fashion week exhibition 5
From top left – detailing by Sanam Chaudri, Nida Azwer and Zaheer Abbas


“Sania is very particular. She says that she only likes to wear fine embroidery and so she insists on using incredibly delicate embroidery on her outfits. She doesn’t want to sell anything that she wouldn’t wear herself.” says Umair Tabani, Sania’s brother and CFO of the brand.

TFPW exhibition at Ensemble
Sania Maskatiya’s fine embroidery

Most of the TFPW collection was only available for order but Sania already had wearable, kurta versions of this collection for sale at the event. While there is a certain clientele who buys ramp style outfits, the majority of customers prefer simple kurtas or toned-down versions of ramp wear. Sania Maskatiya is unique for getting these to the store within days of fashion week.

Sanam Chaudri, meanwhile, had put immense amounts of detailing into her luxury pret collection. From cutwork, to French knots and applique, the outfits are incredibly intricate. As well as her TFPW pieces, which started at around Rs21,000, Sanam also displayed some of her affordable pret. Her cotton kurtas started at Rs5,000 and used cutwork and chikankari in a similar way to her more formal luxury pret.

Nida Azwer TFPW15
Nida Azwer TFPW15

Nida Azwer’s collection was essentially formalwear. From her laser cut bolero to her richly embroidered full skirts, these were pieces that looked as good up close as they did on the ramp. Nida has used complex, sophisticated detailing to complement contemporary yet wearable silhouettes. The collection was only available on order, but it’s a collection that is doing very well amongst Karachi’s socialites.

Ensemble fashion week exhibition 1

Zaheer Abbas is not a designer that is easily available to buy. He doesn’t have a retail presence unlike the other exhibiting designers, so this was a unique opportunity to shop his collection with ease. His Primavera collection was one of the hits of fashion week and a closer look shows how well deserved the accolades were. From ethereal organza constructions to ornately embroidered outfits, this collection was rich in creativity and craftsmanship. There were dozens of details that would never have been visible from the ramp – such as a pearl and gota edging on a collar and printed fabric lining another collar. The Ensemble staff had clear price lists for the collection, which was available to order, and the sheer beauty of the outfits made you wish Zaheer had a more regular retail presence.

Iman Ahmed is another designer whose work is not readily available. Her “Sartorial Philology and the new Nomads” collection was easily the best of TFPW but she chose not to exhibit that at Ensemble. This was one collection that many were looking forward to seeing up close so it was a bit of a disappointment not to see it in-store. The designer did send across an extensive range of Body Focus Museum’s current pret range. The selection included simple pret kurtas as well as more formal outfits. For those who don’t visit her studio, this exhibition was proof that it’s worth making a regular trek there.

TFPW exhibition at Ensemble
The Ensemble TPFW exhibition


Inaaya’s collection built on a spectacular debut, continuing to give a modern, chic expression to traditional Sindhi crafts. Inaaya’s outfits have been available at Ensemble on a regular basis and it’s heartening to see a talented newcomer taking the business side of fashion seriously. It’s all very well making a splash on the ramp, but at the end of the day your work should be readily available to customers. Inaaya’s collection included some gorgeous rilli skirts, saris and a stunning mirrorwork jacket. Prices for the simpler pieces were very reasonable – a white skirt with black rilli detailing was priced at Rs13,500, which is great value for a distinctive ramp piece.

Maheen Karim at Ensemble exhibition
Maheen Karim at Ensemble exhibition

Maheen Karim exhibited her pret and luxury pret, which several pieces from her phenomenally successful Autumn/Winter FPW collection. While it was great to have a designer of her calibre as part of this exclusive event, it would have been better if clients had been able to see fresh pieces for the new season.

Sanam Chaudri at Ensemble exhibition
Sanam Chaudri at Ensemble exhibition

Yesterday’s exhibition at Ensemble Pakistan was a brilliant way for fashion lovers to get a closer look at some outstanding outfits from TFPW. While fashion shows present a designer’s vision, you can only fully appreciate some collections once you’ve seen them up close. This sort of event should be a regular follow-up to fashion weeks, despite the fact that designers need their samples for shoots and for clients to see at their own studios. While designers like Sania Masktiya and Nida Azwer have outlets, it’s a valuable opportunity to see the work of others like Zaheer Abbas.

TFPW exhibition at Ensemble
Nida Azwer at TFPW exhibition at Ensemble

From a customer’s point of view, it’s convenient to be able to see a range of designer collections in one spot, particularly for those who don’t have access to fashion week. At the end of the day, designers need to reach the socialites and fashion lovers who buy high-end Pakistani fashion. Craftsmanship is at the core of modern Pakistani fashion, and that is best appreciated when it’s seen up close.

This article by Editor in Chief Salima Feerasta first appeared on Dawn.com

Salima Feerastahttps://karachista.com
Salima Feerasta is chief editor of Karachista.com and one of Pakistan's top fashion and lifestyle journalists.

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