Post PLBW Fashion Update: Which Designer Should You Explore?

With the PLBW 2016 ending last week, and the wedding season picking up pace, I thought I’d jot down some of my favorites from each day and collections that failed to make an impact.

I was anticipating the first day of the show the most for obvious reasons, I love Kamiar Rokni’s work and then I have a wedding coming up in the family so I thought this year, it makes sense for me to attend the bridal week a lot more. Like every year, the fashion week is a bit unorganized and I guess we’ve all gotten accustomed to it by now so it doesn’t even bother anymore. So I’m going to skip on that and get right down to which collections you should delve into if you’re looking for a wedding outfit!

PLBW DAY 1

It started off at a reasonable time with the first collection being from the fashion maestro himself, Hassan Shehryar Yaseen (HSY). What I expected to be a bang was more like a whimper. The collection seemed like HSY’s previous collections’ leftovers put together to make them look new. The introduction of faux fur with bridalwear was recently done by Sabyasachi at the Lakme Fashion Week Winter/Festive 2016 and so it kind of looked a little “inspired”.

What to expect: Overall, unfortunately, HSY did not have anything new to offer. However, if you really dig the HSY look from 4 years ago, well he’s still got it going.

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Next up was Sania Maskatiya and God is testament to the fact that she really was a breath of fresh air. I liked how with this collection she steered a little away from her trademark embroidery and managed a collection that looked simple, suave and appealing. Rich textured cloth, a variety in cuts and a specific color palette made it look like a planned collection. Sticking to earthy tones, almost each piece was a complete hit! Whether it is peplum, angrakha, high-low or gharara pants, she had a bit of everything!

What to expect: Go to Sania Maskatiya and I promise you’ll fall in love with something that suits your taste, body shape and aesthetic.

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I would say that the Bank Al Falah Rising Talent was also quite weak this year and nothing really fancied my imagination. So, I’m going to skip on that too.

Saira Shakira came in next with their heavily worked ensembles in pastels mostly. While there was nothing particularly wrong with them, the collection failed to make an impact. It just looked usual, monotonous.

What to expect: Nothing out of the ordinary but good enough to take a look at it.

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Like I’ve previously mentioned that I was super excited about Kamiar Rokni, I kind of had really high hopes for the design house. Kamiar Rokni can just never go wrong with colors. Rich, dramatic and endearingly desi is how I would describe his choice and with this collection also, he did not disappoint. However, I did not feel the digital printed pants and dupattas. Otherwise, the collection looked more like heirloom pieces. In fact one of the joras even reminded me of one of my mother’s old saris. Kamiar Rokni is one reason why I went back home happy despite prolonged delays between shows.

What to expect: A really desi, vivacious collection with a story to tell.

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PLBW DAY 2

My favorite of all 3 days and also the one that I had associated my least expectations with, DAY 2 turned out to be amazing. Not only were the shows way better organized with the day ending at a decent 10.30 pm, the collections also seemed to resonate more with my personal fashion preferences.

Mahgul is more popular for its prêt but the bridal wear by the label turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Except for an odd lehnga peek-a-boo from within one of the shirts, everything else Mahgul had to offer was close to being flawless. The use of sheer cloth was done to perfection. There was an introduction to a few new cuts which I can completely trust Mahgul with. There were worked jackets, belted shirts and your usual long, front-open shirts.

What to expect: completely recommend it to whoever is looking for wedding clothes for the uniqueness in cut that you won’t find elsewhere.

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The second in line was Shiza Hassan who offered a variety in the color palette and some diversity in cut. Nothing too experimental but it did have its highs. The farshi ghararas were a personal favorite.

What to expect: Quintessential traditionally worked clothes with a mix of eastern and western cuts.

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Farah & Fatima made their debut with this collection and I have only praise for the duo. For first timers, they did a tremendous job. Although they did not delve a lot into a distinct new cuts, their gharara pants that Sadaf Kanwal was flaunting were plain gorgeous among other beautiful designs. I did not particularly like their use of chooridars though.

What to expect: traditional clothes with a choice between heavily worked and medium-worked clothes.

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Saira Rizwan’s clothes reeked of chic. With capes, peplums, gharara pants, lehnga choli and more, the diversity of cuts was a welcome feature of the collection. The color scheme was pastels with mostly nature inspired motifs. While more or less all the pieces were good, the show stopper Hareem Farooq’s jora just did not make sense and honestly, lacked an impact.

What to expect: Beautiful pastels with light and heavy options. Again, you will definitely find something you like here.

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Shamsha Hashwani’s debut collection closed the evening for Day 2 of PLBW 2016. With a strong Japanese influence and cuts being the primary focus, this collection was simpler in style and less in-your-face, more like a toned-down version of wedding wear. The fully embroidered shawls were exquisite. She also incorporated tulip pants in her collection that haven’t really caught on in the local market as yet but are quite the range in the international fashion scene.

What to expect: Modern cuts and subtle colors. Must-have shawls!

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PLBW DAY 3

Day 3 kick started (quite late I should add) with Nomi Ansari and boy did he bring magic to the ramp. The burst of colors with the way the dupattas were draped and the prints were used was stunning. I loved the graphic-printed lehngas with light embellishments and the worked cholis. That parrot green gharara and bright pink shirt reminded me of the times of yore. If I could compare his collection to something, it would be rangoli, and the very beautiful kind.

What to expect: A splash of color and a definite find for your mehndi/baraat jora!

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Next up was Zara Shahjahan. I have always felt like her clothes have been “inspired” from one place or the other but this collection was really worth the wait. The use of gota coupled with organza and tissue and the absolutely beautiful, low-key colors were complete winners. I loved how she used plain fabric without any heavy embellishment and made it work so well. The collection was a true reflection of the subcontinent!

What to expect: an exceptionally traditional collection with just the right amount of bling, heirloom pieces for sure.

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Sonia Azhar’s fun collection exuded some major western influence in terms of cuts. There was a lot of ball gowns and sequins. She also brought back the mermaid shaped dress and made it look nice despite it going out of style years ago. There was a good mix of embroidery, sequins and actual work done but the collection remained primarily western in appeal.

What to expect: if you are looking for a more modern look, Sonia Azhar is perhaps your best bet!

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Well, Republic by Omar Farooq was the only design house that showcased its dedicated men’s line and there is only so much you can do with it. Excellent effort by the team!

What to expect: Fresh designs with a variety in styles for men (and that’s really something new so kudos to them)

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I was comparatively excited about Muse’s bridal collection debut at the PLBW 2016 which came in next. The whole collection was done in red, pink and navy blue which made it stand out. It of course boasted of the French sequins the design house is so popular for and there were some interesting cuts to follow as well. And of course the sequined jacket that Hasnain Lehri adorned, only he could have carried it with such ease and style.

What to expect: Beautifully embellished clothes in mainly traditional cuts

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Ali Xeeshan closed the third and the last day of PLBW 2016. The finale of the 3 day fashion week was, for the first time in the history of PLBW done by someone other than HSY. Thus, naturally there were high hopes attached to Ali Xeeshan’s collection. Known for his dramatic antics and out-of-the-box ideas, Ali did manage to put the audience in awe. However, handing over stuffed monkeys to models in order to send out the message of child marriages was a little too out of the box for my sensibilities. His collection was exactly how everyone expected it to be: huge flares, screen prints, plain blouses, use of interesting color combinations and the larger than life pagris.

What to expect: Everything you expect when you’re talking about Ali Xeeshan: loud and statement-making.

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Note: All images have either been taken from the designer’s social media or other Instagram accounts.

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