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Old guards take centre stage at Karachi fashion week
Friday February 21, 2014 3:22 PM, Shilpa Raina, IANS

Pakistani fashion veterans Maheen Khan and Shamaeel Ansari presented cohesive collections at the ongoing fashion week here, blending western aesthetics with Pakistani sensibilities and translating them into wearable everyday fashion.

Fashion Pakistan Week

Considering Pakistan's conservative attitude towards bold fashion, designers showcasing shift dresses, backless gowns, and shorts on the ramp during the sixth Fashion Pakistan Week left buyers and foreign journalists wondering about the buyers and audience for such garments.

"These are worn at private balls and parties," a fashion designer pointed out, flashing pictures of a recent party she attended.

Of course, there were pretty, young women wearing clothes that need a chauffeur-driven car. And they have to be rich in the volatile Karachi city to enjoy freedom of wearing what they like.

But aren't fashion weeks supposed to generate business and reach out to mass consumers?

These questions were answered Thursday by Khan's brainchild "Gulabo" - a street couture brand and Ansari's "Shamaeel" who is an authority in couture, and her pret line resonated with Pakistan's cultural potpourri.

Printing architectural landscape of Pakistan - trucks, autos and trees - and Google maps on black and white fabric with a dash of pink, gold and psychedelics prints, the free flowing long kurtas with different cuts, teamed with capris and cigarette trousers were very much wearable and resonated a strong sense of Pakistan's street culture.

Gulabo was a young, dynamic and vibrant collection.

Having over two decades of experience in the industry, Ansari's "affordable" and wearable pret range made a statement that got her standing ovation.

Jewel-toned jackets, richly worked monochromatic long coats, shift-dresses, kaftan dresses with constellations of threads, appliques, sequins and in-house prints stood out.

Unlike India, where designers take a few months to stock their ramp collection in their stores, Ansari's collection will be available at multi-retail store Labels from Feb 25.

Apart from them, Lahore-based designer Fahad Hussayn's collection was a representation of well-constructed and structured garments.

Staying away from his favourite black, the maverick designer opted for earthy tones, greys, and whites for his western-inspired collection that had chic dresses, off-shoulder gown and a factory-inspired jumpsuit for men.

(Shilpa Raina can be contacted at

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