If Oscar De La Renta was Pakistani…


Today, I plan to write an editorial piece, meaning something completely unsearched, from the heart, original, & written to teach my readers something.

Fashion designers, like other professionals get inspired from things they find in nature, architecture, and many a times from other fashion designers and runway shows. I personally don’t think it’s plagiarism if a designer borrows another designer’s vision and use their own artistic knowledge and capability (and maybe some vision of their own) to make a total new product. I think it is essential, especially as a newcomer to steal ideas from one another until we become so good in our craft that we are labeled as Avant-guard or original. You know, fake it till you make it. So it got me thinking. Pakistani fashion industry has come leaps and bounds as designers have begun to research and attend international fashion shows. To be honest, fashion has become so globalized that it is not uncommon to see styles you see on gowns appear on the trendiest shalwar kameezes and vice versa. If we continue this trend, will we have Oscar De La Renta in Lollywood or Bunto Kazmi in Hollywood? Who knows? But until then, we can only imagine the familiar visions and ethos that both western and eastern designers have.

Who is the Alexander McQueen of Pakistan? No other than the king of extraordinary, the co-owner of Bunto Kazmi, Farrukh. Farrukh has a little bit of rock-n-roll in his work ethic. His marketing strategy shows his unique aesthetic as he opts out to add shock value and showcases anything from Mughal dynasty. If I were you & have dressed feminine all my life, I would totally go the other way on my wedding day and pick a designer to pick something traditional & ahead of time.

Who is the Stella McCartney of Pakistan? That title I give to the owner of The Koel Shop, Noorjehan Bilgrami. Like Stella, Noorjehan Begum’s designs are for the modern woman. Her looks are clean, well-researched, and most of the time trendsetting. She also plays with creative structure and silhouettes.

So what if Oscar De La Renta or Zuhair Murad were Pakistani? Both Oscar De La Renta and Zuhair Murad’s fashion pieces, in my opinion, have a very feminine & delicate look. They design bridals and formals for women who want to look like princesses. Their work is very classic; think Princess Grace of Monaco. Both use fine fabric and have an impeccable eye for details. Both influence European royal flair & drama. The honor of their names should be bestowed on the kaarigars of The Democratic Country of Pakistan.

The title of Chanel of Pakistan goes to the darzis or tailors. The reason is purely technical. In my opinion, the darzis are the ones designing sensual, ultra-feminine outfits for women without making them too sexy. They have experience with flowy fabrics, embellishments & ruffles, which are so Chanel. Another word to describe Chanel is classic. The darzis or tailors of Pakistan have a very distinct culture; many would call them the tweed jackets of Pakistan.

Now, who would I consider the Vera Wang of Lollywood? You may not be surprised by the answer, but, Sabyasachi fits the bill. He designs for a woman who prefers timeless beauty. No fussy fabrics or embellishments with him. His work can be dramatic, but if women want to exude tradition, there is only one thing that rings true. The innovation and originality of each piece by Sabyasachi are done in silhouettes & intricate handwork.

In the Western world, I can think of no one with a quirky and unpredictable sense of style than Kate Spade. So who is the Kate Spade of Pakistan? She plays with different printing, textile & embroidery techniques and blends them for the contemporary and young market. You can always expect something new & modern, yet paradoxically traditional in her designs.

What about those proud Punjabi women who like to support designers true to their roots? Who is the Ralph Lauren or Tommy Hilfiger of Pakistan? Go to a local darzi and find out. Like a true Lahori woman who prefers designing with bright colors, western silhouettes, and heavily embellished fabrics. Personally, she is not my taste (because I am a true Karachite), but if you are a girl that prefers delicate and understated work, then I wouldn’t go to her. On the other hand, if you love to be the center of attention, then she is the designer for you.

Wow! Two fashion posts one after the other this week. I hope you enjoy this piece. Like always, I ask you to show support by leaving a comment. Happy Shopping!

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