|All About Weddings
Bridal Couture Week 2011
The second season of the highly anticipated and much hyped Bridal Couture Week commenced with all its grandeur at the Karachi Expo Centre on the 22nd of April and went on till the 24th. The event was a perfect reflection of what weddings in Pakistan have always been – a perfect mix of fashion and business. The event buzzed with energy and excitement as vehicles piled outside the venue. BCW was not restricted to the city's fashion elite, it also opened its doors to Karachiites who were ecstatic to be part of this mega event!
The venue was divided into two parts, the first played host to stalls boasting everything from flowers and wedding paraphernalia to event planners and stage decorators. While the other half was exclusively dedicated for the actual bridal week. In the midst of this fashion extravaganza there were streaks of disappointments as well, starting with chaos on the red carpet as the show ran two hours late! It seemed time was not given much importance and that resulted in the second half of the show being poorly attended.
However disappointments turned to excitement as JJ Valaya, India's renowned fashion designer opened the night. Models clad in signature Valaya apparel walked the ramp that had been covered with scarlet carpet on a backdrop of mirrored bead curtain with chandeliers perched above. He presented a traditional Indian collection with no notable changes in style. From net saris to a collection of bridal lehngas in a palette of gold and muted tones, the designer, inspired by the Mughal era, brought forward exquisitely embellished outfits for men and women.
Neelofer Allawala followed with her collection of beautiful paneled shirts, halter necked netted saris in black and silk with heavily embellished Mughlai motifs. Her paneled gowns with motifs of Empress Mumtaz Mahal were breathtaking! Allawala's collection marked the end of the first half as the audience was subjected to wait another agonising hour.
The latter part of the show was pleasantly filled with a performance by Body Beats dance troupe leader Hassan Rizvi who stirred some life back into the attendees by dancing to a mash up of Club Can't Handle Me and the popular Main Tou Aiwain Aiwain, a dance routine apt for mehndis and dholkis. Maheen Khan's collection of fresh white and ivory, bridal and formal gowns followed breaking the traditional norm for wedding wear in the subcontinent. Her small assortment of bridals reflected Maheen's personal sense of style – classy and chic. From ivory chiffons to creme silks, the apparels were minimalistic yet breathtaking. The show stoppers for Maheen Khan were Khizer Deewan and Mishal Naek, the blushing bride was clad in an ice blue lehnga, her face covered by a net veil which the groom in a bright blue chunri turban lifted at head ramp!
Ayesha and Somaya showcased their collection for the first time which boasted a wide colour palette from crimsons to bright red and green cocktail dresses. The embellished Chinese dragon motifs on flowing gowns were favorites among the crowd. Theirs was a wearable collection which had something to offer for all!
Rehana Saigol's collection boasted grandeur and did not stray away from conventional wedding wear in Pakistan. Netted saris with large motifs and chunky embroidery were her forte. A banarsi sari with deep purple velvet patch worn by Rachael was my favorite among Saigol's otherwise overdosed collection. Maheen Khan undoubtedly stood apart from the rest that evening with Ayesha Somaya following close by, Rehanna Saigol failed to bring something new and JJ Valaya failed to impress.
Day two kicked off one hour late than the promised time and Mona Imran was the first to go. Starting beautifully with little girls walking the ramp, clad in pretty angarkhas, peshwas and even a hijab, the highlight of her collection was beautiful cutwork on borders. Opening with a palette of light blue and dull gold lehngas and moving on towards a mehndi collection in yellow and green churidaar pyjamas with chunri dupattas, Mona Imran's assortment build up towards traditional wedding day attire. The highlight of this collection was an exquisite deep pink and orange lehnga with green trimmings on the hemline and gold embroidery. The dress was complete with a velvet pouch!
'Rang De Basanti' a collection by Sheereen Hassan was filled with vibrant colours! She fused yellows, pinks, greens and blues and matched them up with brightly coloured silk karandi fabric dupattas. Multicoloured embroidery on white with silver motifs paired with bright purple trousers stood apart from the rest of the collection.
After waiting another hour, Lajwanti opened act two of the show with a collection of flowing gowns and two toned dupattas. The focus was on large silver motifs and silver stripes along hemlines. She used sheer cloaks and coats over bridal lehngas in varying lengths with beautiful gota work alongside crystals. The heavier bridal wear had velvet borders and layered shirts. Resham concluded the show wearing a sequenced red lehnga with intricate detailing paired with polka jewellery.
Zainab Sajjid was the last one to put forward her collection with actress/model Humaima clad in a white peshwas with light pink crystal embroidery mixed with kamdaani work. Her collection gained momentum as it progressed from light pastels to brighter ones with banarsi and velvet hems and large circular embroidered motifs. She moved on toward solid orange, green and pink paneled shirts with jamawar churidaars. Zainab Sajjid was the star of the show as she brought forward dresses appropriate for all events surrounding a wedding and was suited to people with varying tastes in fashion.
However the event did not go without an occasional hiccup. Foreign models were tripping on ghararas and saris, some were wearing inappropriate and mismatched shoes with traditional bridal wear. The most petrifying of events was during a performance by Rabya Chaudhry when a dancer accidently smashed his head on glass lining the ramp! The accident sent audience in shock and appreciation as the performance kept going on despite the fact that pieces of broken glass were still scattered on the ramp!
The grand finale had a very interesting lineup of Deepak Perwani, Faraz Mannan, La Chantal and Mehdi among others. Faraz Mannan of 'Rouge' opened with a collection in pastels, whites and creme coloured gowns. He presented a men's collection as well with banarsi and jamawar kurtas and trousers made from sheer fabric. Crush fabric flowing dresses in soap green to bright orange saris fully embellished with zari work were Rouge's creations for the runway.
Saba of La Chantal presented her collection of flowy long gowns, dressed up with large flowery headdresses. Her notable creation was a black and silver bridal dress worn by Nadia Hussain, the choice of colour showed that Saba was trying to bring unconventional colours and cuts for the gutsy bride.
Mehdi closed the three day event with a collection boasting his signature motifs and embroideries. Thick thread embroidery lined his skirts and shirts as he tried to bring back the bride of the nineties with short shirt on lehnga. He presented an assortment of varying shades of green and pinks for women while his kurtas for men ranged from deep black to dark maroon. The jewellery that accompanied Mehdi's collection, by Shaikh Faisal Habib of Karat Creations, complimented his dresses beautifully.
BCW had its fair share of glitches and shining moments, from the shouts and screams we could hear coming from back stage, time-mismanagement to flawless set design and beautiful performances. However, it cannot be denied that the event is in its infant stages and will hopefully mature to be bigger and better in future!
Rizwanullah – Designer
There are Pakistani girls, there are girls from Dubai, and other international models, there are international designers, Pakistani designers. You see the bridal market is a huge market in South East Asia, i.e. Pakistan, India, Bangladesh. Events like these create entrepreneurship opportunities so I think it's fantastic, I wish them all the luck.
Tapu Javeri – Fashion Photographer
I have seen some nice fashion on the runway, and normally fashion shows which have bridals are really boring, but this one isn't, so I am very happy for the sponsors and for all the designers and the models. I honestly think fashion is an industry, right now it's a cottage industry in Pakistan, and so it needs as much help as possible.
Iraj – Model
I've been doing ramp for almost twenty years and I feel anything that contributes to the growth of fashion will always be appreciated; sponsors are doing a great job and the organisers have put up a wonderful event.
Kunain Khan – Model
Pakistan's fashion industry has groomed a lot, designers from India and Dubai were really great, and new models got an opportunity. Such events should keep happening because they are very good for the industry.
JJ Valaya – Indian Designer
It's more of a joy to be here. I only came at this point because Vaneeza, who I have worked with before and developed a rapport with, has been asking me for the last ten years. Let's hope it's not another ten years to wait to come back to Pakistan.
Hasan Rizvi – Choreographer
Whether it's in choreography, set-design, make-up, jewellery or fashion design, it is showing the world what we have to offer and it's about time our talent is promoted the way talent is promoted around the world.