If Oscar De La Renta was Pakistani…


Today, I plan to write an editorial piece, meaning something completely unsearched, from the heart, original, and 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 Sana Safinaz in Hollywood? Who knows? But until then, we can only imagine the familiar visions and ethos that both western and eastern designers have.

So what if Oscar De La Renta or Zuhair Murad was Elan or Faraz Manan? In a way, for Pakistanis they kinda are. Both Oscar De La Renta and Zuhair Murad’s fashion pieces, in my opinion, have a very feminine and 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. All four are influenced by the European royal flair and drama.

Who is the Alexander McQueen of Pakistan? No other than the king of extraordinary, Mr. Ali Xeeshan. Ali Xeeshan has a little bit of rock-n-roll in his work, even in Pakistani bridals believe it or not. His marketing strategy shows his unique aesthetic as he opts to add shock value and showcase anything from Mughal dynasty or witchcraft to the current problem of child marriages in Pakistan. If I were you and dressed feminine all my life, I would totally go the other way on my wedding day and pick a designer to pick something untraditional and ahead of time.

Who is the Stella McCartney of Pakistan? That title I give to Mrs. Sania Maskatiya. Like Stella, Sania designs for the modern woman. Her looks are clean, well-researched, and most of the time trend setting. Both play with creative structure and silhouettes.

The title of Chanel of Pakistan goes to Tena Durrani. Why do I give the title to her and not Sana Safinaz, who could deserve it as well? The reason is purely technical. In my opinion, Tena has been in the forefront of designing sensual, yet without being sexy and yet ultra-feminine outfits for women. She experiments with flowy fabrics, embellishments and ruffles, which are so Chanel. Another word to describe Chanel is classic and Sana Safinaz tend to me more modern and sexy. Just like the Chanel’s tweed jacket of the 1950’s, Tena Durrani’s luxury pret pieces have become the staple for working women.

Now, who would I consider the Vera Wang of Lollywood? You may not be surprised by the answer, but, Bunto Kazmi fits the bill. Both women design for a woman who prefers timeless beauty. No fussy fabrics or embellishments with these women. Their work can be dramatic, if they want, or exude tradition, but, one thing rings true. The innovation and originality of each piece is done with silhouettes and intricate handwork.

This was kinda fun vote for me. I thought who is the Pakistani designer for the young woman of today? Young women of today like quirky and unpredictable look in their outfits so they can express their individuality. In the Western world, I can think of no one who does that but Kate Spade. So who is the Kate Spade of Pakistan? Wardha Saleem, in my humble opinion. Wardha Saleem also plays with different printing, textile and embroidery techniques and blends them for the contemporary market. You can always expect something new and 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? That honor goes to Maria B. Maria B. is from Lahore and like a true Lahori 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!