On November 2 & 3, Pakistan Fashion Week held its fifth instalment at the Hilton Paddington hotel in the fashion capital city of London. The shows, which have been held annually, are organised by Riwayat, a company that lives up to its definition as ‘riwayat’ or traditions play a key role in Pakistani culture.
Now in its fifth segment, Pakistan Fashion Week LONDON 5 did not fail to impress. The 90ft catwalk featured either top or emerging Pakistani designers such as Gul Ahmed Textiles, Monad, Moazzam Abbasi, Sam & Huma Naz, Ayesha Aejaz, SMK etc. And the accompanying boutique lounge allowed guests the opportunity to purchase quality bespoke designer clothing pieces ranging from modest to slightly less than modest price ranges.
The originality of the designs presented by the respective brands all contained a similar theme, Riwayat. They were traditional in the sense that they all paid tribute to the Pakistani sort of eastern style promoting sequence fabrics and unique embellishments with a large part of most collections calling attention to the ways in which materials flowed and draped ones figure all whilst staying quite contemporary.
The main types of fabrics that stayed consistent amongst the collections were velvet, chiffon and silk but the collections viewed were far from monotonous as the signature styled embroidery of each designer gave the pieces their individual edge and captivated the eyes of everyone in the room.
Although there were pieces of menswear in the show, the ensembles, few and far between were largely overshadowed by the more prominent and extravagant womenswear outfits. The use of textiles in Gul Ahmed’s collection in particular caught my eye with the surprising synergy of the varying mix and match of prints. As well as Sam & Huma Naz’s representation of multicultural styles that stemmed from traditional Pakistani to Punjabi and even included Bedouin influences.
Another theme that was apparent from the majority of the collections was the precept of romance, with the dresses ranging from poetic long sheath like lengths to more practical less voluminous tops over palazzo pants. Interestingly, a recent trend that has come up in fashion, particularly haute couture, was integrated into the designs of some of the collections. That trend being the cape; which is attached to the back of dresses or jackets and thus creates a fairytale-like impression reminiscent of one’s childhood. It reminded me of the outfit Aladin gets conjured up by the jinn when he seeks to court Princess Jasmine.
Riwayat has come a long way from when the company was first set up and Adnan Ansari’s hard work has paid off as on October 30, Pakistan Fashion Week was also able to showcase the collections of its talented designers in Paris.