• Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Classic Nida Azwer takes center stage at PLBW

Discussion in 'General Photos & Multimedia' started by ghazi52, Sep 27, 2019.

  1. ghazi52

    ghazi52 PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Classic Nida Azwer takes center stage at PLBW .......Day 1

    MALIHA REHMAN

    What trends can be set with embellished bridal-wear? At a fashion week dedicated to bridals, it's all about details.

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    Beautiful, traditional bridal-wear sells well which is why designers with an eye for business create it. And when the clients begin to flock in, they create some more.

    Beautiful, wearable clothes, with layers and layers of embroidery winding over them. And so the vicious cycle turning the wheels of the business of bridal-wear continues.

    Nothing wrong with that at all except when you place those clothes on a catwalk that is ideally all about setting new trends. What trends can be set with heavily embellished bridal-wear?

    Sometimes, none at all. And at other times, at a fashion week dedicated to bridals, the trends can be found within the details: a new color palette, unique placements of embroidery, a twist to a conventional silhouette.

    These nuances can make a collection stand out. Also, quite often, a great bridal collection is one that simply celebrates the work of a designer, asserting a well-honed signature and showing how it’s getting stronger.

    In that vein, the first day of this year’s PFDC L’Oreal Paris Bridal Week (PLBW) was, more than anything else, a celebration of Nida Azwer’s glorious, instantly covetable artistry. There were also certain others who made a mark.

    But before we go into the sartorial details, let’s turn towards the PLBW runway this time around: a faux garden with a backdrop of leafy plastic plants and astro-turf covering the length of the walkway. The theme would have befitted a spring/summer event more easily rather than a fashion week positioned in autumn/winter.


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    Also, with plenty of red bridals floating out in every collection, the mix of red and green in the resulting images was Christmas-card worthy. All you needed was a bit of mistletoe and carols playing in the background.

    From a technical point of view, the catwalk appeared to be too narrow with lehngas often rustling past the feet of the people in the front row. Bridal-wear tends to be voluminous and requires a wider space in order to be showcased in its true element.

    Also, a ramp that is higher rather than at the same level as the audience may result in better images. Far too many times, images from a great collection have lost impact because somehow, a gaggle of men have been caught in the background, having a good laugh, looking bored or worse, taking selfies!

    A flatter runway may have a more international feel – for that’s how it’s usually done internationally – but until the front row crowd starts behaving better, we have to accept that we are not living in uber-fashionable Paris.

    On to the clothes now. The first day of PLBW boasted some established names and some new ones and it was the diversity in design on the catwalk that made the day interesting…

    Hussain Rehar

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    Hussain Rehar was slotted in as the opening act of PLBW and let’s all be thankful for him.

    In a world where pastels, sequins and Swarovski crystals refuse to leave the catwalk – ever – young, vivacious firecrackers are rare. Hussain, with his knack for individualism, is an anomaly but such a welcome one.

    He has been making waves with successive, distinctive luxury-wear collections and with this show, he proved his mettle with bridal-wear. But having said this, he wasn’t really a firecracker this time around.

    With plenty of dhol-dhamaka in the backdrop, the models streamed out, sifting through bright colors and intelligently-placed embroideries. Gold lame nudged shoulders with corals and old-school green and pink combinations, set off by the sweetest bridal pouches and clutches, some of them worked with traditional chata-pati.


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    There were culottes, jackets, lehngas and fully embellished shirts that swooped low at the back or backless cholis, held together merely by a web of strings. The finishing was very neat, giving testament to how Hussain is coming into his own.

    It was all very pretty. Quite obviously, the designer is zoning in on the lucrative business for wedding-wear, decisively veering away from his love for the fantastic. But I do hope that come next fashion week, Hussain doesn’t show a similar collection.


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    Pretty is great and it sells well, but it isn’t memorable. Notwithstanding this collection, Hussain Rehar is so, so good at creating memorable clothes. He’s also got a predilection for sharp tailoring. I hope that as he gets more business savvy, he doesn’t let his intrinsic edginess slide away.

    Zubia Zainab

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    Zubia Zainab made their catwalk debut with a collection that made the mistake of falling into a pastel and sequins rut. They wouldn’t be the first new brand to have done so. This particular rut is a favorite amongst designers and I am sure that it draws in clientele. But on the catwalk, it just drones on.

    There were capes and embellished tunics, with ruffles and flares added in, mirror-work that was pretty but should have been neater and a smattering of gowns.


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    Gowns, in fact, are another glaring error to be found in many collections. We are generally a lehnga-wearing, kurta-shalwar clad country – we don’t know how to carry gowns and even if we do, most of our designers don’t know how to cut them.

    It’s better to stay away from them or, if we absolutely have to wear them, buy them from a foreign brand that is a pro with the cuts.


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    Appreciable in this debut line was the effort made not to completely smother the clothes with embroidery. The designers, however, need to think out of the box in order to gain prominence.

    Nida Azwer

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    With ‘Anarkali’, Nida Azwer carried on with her love for Mughals – meticulous hand embroideries etched Mughal scenes on shawls and jackets and the silhouettes flowed romantically from anarkalis to kalidars, lehngas, saris and izars.

    This wasn’t the first time that Nida has paid ode to the Mughal era or played with traditional silhouettes. I am sure that it won’t be the last time either. In fact, it would be safe to say that should I place Nida’s collections through the years together, it would be sometimes difficult distinguish one from the other.

    But then again, I don’t think Nida wants to create disparate collections every year. Hers is a signature that is deep-rooted in old-world Eastern glamour.


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    She has built her brand, dedicatedly and painstakingly, forging an identity that is easily recognizable. She may add a few tweaks here and there but truly, she is in her element when she is creating clothes that are timelessly beautiful, carefully crafted, to be cherished and worn and then, worn again and again.

    Could a few tapered, tailored outfits have added versatility? Maybe. But then, those wouldn’t have been classic Nida Azwer, would they?

    Aquafina Rising Talent showcase

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    The Rising Talent segment was dominated by clothes that were more fantastical than wearable and yet, some of the new designers showed promise simply because they tried to push boundaries.

    Urwah Ali, for instance, created pretty layers of tulle in a ballet dress and etched ballet figures on the hem of a long cape. Abbas Jamil Rajput’s (‘AJR) ode to the artistry of Versailles and Marie Antoinette created dramatic costumes.

    Model Mushk Kaleem carried off a heavy trail of tulle – which, may I say, was far too reminiscent of other tulle trails that I have seen in the recent past – and there were other outfits that were worked with ruffles, feathers and heavily pleated fabric.


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    Elaha Ahmed’s ‘Game Of Thrones’ inspired collection offered uninteresting layers of chiffon while Mehak Yaqoob’s designs, with their chains and buckles, did not impress.

    As Rising Talent segments go, this time’s showcase wasn’t a strong one. From unappealing colors to badly placed embellishments, the clothes could have been better.


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    But these are fledgling designers, only just beginning upon their careers and they are likely to experiment before they develop a decisive ethos. Hussain Rehar once made his debut on the Pakistan Fashion Design Council’s (PFDC) catwalk. So did Ali Xeeshan, Fahad Hussayn, Zonia Anwaar and so many others.

    Sometimes, it takes time for a designer to improve but kudos to the council for persisting on with its efforts with the Rising Talent, providing mentorship and even financing their collections. If the industry has to grow, new talent has to be ushered in by all means.

    Saira Shakira

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    The most obvious description for Saira Shakira’s show would be ‘heavily embellished’. This designer duo is yet another young success story, showcasing repetitively and working very hard, slowly and surely building a considerable clientele.

    ‘Kali – A Bloom’ was completely immersed in embroideries and Eastern silhouettes, clearly meant for this clientele.


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    As they tend to do, the designers added a few elements here and there – fringes on the sleeves and cutwork at the back. But these twists, that I look forward to when I see a Saira Shakira show, were very few this time around.

    It would be fair to say that the designers’ recent luxury-wear outings have been much more fashion forward.


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    This collection, meanwhile, got lost in a cloud of glittering sequins. Young brides-to-be may enjoy it but I missed the quirkiness that usually comes to easily to Saira Shakira.

    It was a good ending note - that could have been better - to the first day of PLBW.

    One down and two more days to go. Will we be blinded by bling – and proceed to see embroidered florals floating about in our nightmares – or is there some high fashion in the offing? With the way bridal fashion tends to be, I can’t be too optimistic. Then again, let’s hope for the best.
     
  2. ghazi52

    ghazi52 PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    day - 2

    Kamiar Rokni
    ‘Golestan’, Kamiar Rokni’s ode to his Persian heritage, was also a homage to his artistry. Deftly, expertly, he mixed and matched colours and splayed them out on to the catwalk, merging them with gota, mirror-work and delicate florals crafted by hand.

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    This was an all-out bridal wear line, offering options for the wedding day as well as trousseau, but there was nothing that was ordinary about the silhouettes.

    Then again, there is never anything ordinary about Kamiar Rokni’s designs. The cardinal bridal comes in a new blend of the age-old hue, the florals are wielded in distinctively different patterns, the meticulously crafted gota and mirrors move in ebullient zigzags and swirls and there is a delicious blend of diverse luxurious textures.

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    With unique details added in, every outfit stood out on the catwalk – I can only imagine how riveting it must be when seen up-close.

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    This was also a very retail friendly collection offering wearable silhouettes. But under Kamiar Rokni’s magic wand, even retail’s usually generic waters begin making waves.

    Misha Lakhani
    Speaking of magic, Misha Lakhani also knows how to wield it well. Hers is a more subtle spell, relying on an intrinsic glamour and a very strong design identity.

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    At Misha’s, the clothes will always ooze style and even the heaviest outfit won’t look like it’s being suffocated by embroideries. Instead, it will make a statement with finely cut silhouettes and well-placed embellishments.

    A bona fide designer never needs to hide behind embroidery in order to prove his or her mettle. This observation rings true particularly at bridal-centric fashion weeks where far too many try to pass off masses of embroidery as fashion.

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    Quintessentially, the designer dealt out understated elegance. There were the crushed lehngas and laidback off shoulder tunics that are her trademark, statement saris, jackets and velvet shawls and they all came worked with gota and distinctive mirror-work, weaving its way amidst thread embroideries.

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    So, so classy. Misha always is.

    Sania Maskatiya
    With successive showcases at major fashion weeks and a very finely tuned eye for design, Sania Maskatiya has fast become one of the strongest contenders in Pakistan’s market for bridal-wear.

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    With ‘Dilara’ at PLBW, the design house flexed its muscles, putting forward a collection that offered throwbacks to some of her finest work, reinventing it along the way.

    Glinting gold lame came worked with delicate florals, dupattas were lined with scallops, gota and neat hand embroideries, there were trails embellished with delicate cutwork and embellished statement shawls.

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    My particular favorite was a lehnga with a white base with multicoloured geometrical embroidery and florals worked down its length, paired with a risqué choli and a lightly embroidered dupatta.

    The clothes were beautiful, created with great finesse, but this was a collection that exuded the best of Sania Maskatiya rather than highlighting new directions being taken by her brand. Her best is going to sell very well.

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    Also, a special shout-out goes to the very well-cut menswear. With subtle embroideries worked on restrained palettes, they were refreshing in a market plagued by gaudy, untidy options.

    It is interesting that most menswear labels in Pakistan seem to have lost the plot while the ateliers catering to womenswear are standing out for the limited capsules they create for men, usually in coordination with their clothes for brides.

    That’s good news for men in the search for decent clothing. But quite a sorry state of affairs as far as the overall market for menswear is concerned.

    Sonia Azhar
    Sonia Azhar’s biggest error was that she treaded down a mostly pastel-coloured pastel route. At the cost of sounding repetitive, it is a hackneyed path. The tea pink meets grey meets dull gold colour scheme has been seen so often that it can no longer stand out.

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    The show also seemed to be an inspirational ode of sorts to all that has been trending for a while now. The ruffled dupattas? Check. The cancanned skirt? Check. The long column shirt? Check.

    Had Sonia chosen a different palette and made less of a chutney with varied silhouettes, some of the finer elements in her designs could have been more noticeable.

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    I noticed an embellished back, meshed with gota, pearls, dabka and very unique, pointed beads. The effect was diminished simply because the base was a been there-seen that light beige.

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    Maybe next time Sonia Azhar who, by the way, is a regular at fashion week, can choose better colours? Cut neater silhouettes?

    Mahgul
    And then, Mahgul’s ‘Tales of Bijin’ swooped in for the finale, telling stories that drew you in and that made you feel that, truly, wedding-wear could be all things wonderful.

    You could almost hear joyful wedding songs playing in your head. Pastel colours? They could be great! Swathes of embroidery and bling? They could be great! That is, as long as you have a designer on board who can transform them into something great.

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    This was Mahgul in her element; the way she used to be when she first ventured into the spotlight, turning an artistic eye towards design and whisking new interpretations from the usual ingredients.

    Her medley of colours was so well thought-out: emerald greens, bright oranges, dusky blues, crimson and white worked with silver and gold.

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    Also catching the eye were the embellishments: gota twisted and turned into florals on a pair of culottes; a bird, caught in flight, on the back of a shirt; a neckline accentuated by rivulets of mirror and threadwork; a thick silver border shimmering on a dupatta that spread across a single shoulder and was cinched at the other end.

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    It’s good to have Mahgul back in full form. I hope that now that she’s found her groove again, she stays that way. In a realm burdened by far too much tulle and bling, Mahgul knocked wedding-wear right off the park, making it something fabulous, something new.
     
  3. ghazi52

    ghazi52 PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    DAY .. 3

    There is always an intangible energy running through the very final day of fashion week.

    This may be because, with the fashion omnibus rolling to an end, this is the last day when the city’s fashion set – and then some – dresses to the nines for the red carpet and networks about. By this time, there is also plenty of gossip floating around – collections that worked, that failed and the odd inevitable controversy that’s being whispered from ear to ear.

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    There is also a sense of relief, particularly observed amidst the council that is orchestrating the event. Fashion weeks are lumbering, contentious creatures and it isn’t easy reigning them in. Now, finally, their work is done for a few months.

    And if HSY is slotted for the finale show, as he often has been at the Pakistan Fashion Design Council’s (PFDC) fashion weeks, the attendance runs high. Shero is the eternal networker who everyone loves and his friends from the fashion frat tend to turn up to sit in the front row, offering their support.

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    On the third day of the PFDC L’Oreal Paris Bridal Week (PLBW), HSY did showcase for the finale and I did see quite a few designers as well as social high-fliers turn up especially for him. Unfortunately, his show only managed to start at midnight. Many of them had left by then. It was a sad throwback to the PFDC’s heydays when fashion week would go on and on till the early hours of the morning. I hope that we don’t end up downsliding to those very uncomfortable, exhausting days.

    When shows get delayed one after the other, it is only inevitable that the energy, so palpable earlier in, begins to wane. It makes me wonder whether the finale to a fashion week truly is as coveted a slot as it is perceived to be. After all, it does mark the culmination of an event that has lasted several days. The audience has already seen multitudes of bridal designs. And with the clock ticking on, the audience is likely to be tired.

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    Designers work hard on their collections and it seems unfair when their work isn’t appreciated the way it should be. The solution to this is easy: end the fashion week early.

    But before I write about the final act, let’s start from the very beginning. The day started well, with an unexpectedly strong debut made by a brand that had been allotted the early evening slot. This slot usually tends to be dominated by bad design. Mohsin Naveed Ranjha, with his colossal 65 piece collection, broke the jinx…

    Mohsin Naveed Ranjha
    This may have been Mohsin Naveed Ranjha’s first time on the PFDC’s catwalk but he is hardly a new contender in the business. The designer from Gujranwala has slowly and surely been building his name, dressing celebrities, investing into multiple campaigns, participating in the Hum Network’s Bridal Couture Week and last year, when cross-border relations were better, landing himself into the spotlight by hiring Bollywood star Ranveer Singh for a fashion shoot. Mohsin also has a store on Lahore’s fashion-forward M.M. Alam road and word has it that it does quite well, attracting clientele within Lahore as well as those from the many cities in its vicinity.

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    With his ‘Chaharbagh’, he catered to this market with a massive collection that ran the gamut from trousseau to heavy duty mehndi and wedding clothes. From vermilion to crimson, greens, yellows, bridal reds and glinting whites, myriad colors were poured on to the catwalk, set off by smatterings of glitter: embroideries, gota and mirror-work. An effort was made to create some very different floral patterns although silhouettes were completely traditional.

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    It was a pretty collection but certainly not an experimental one. It was also very varied and while one may not like some of the clothes, there were others that were bound to appeal. The menswear, similarly, offered many options: bright kurtas with embroidered necklines, sherwanis and waistcoats – some, a bit too bold, while others, more urbane and restrained.

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    Nevertheless, the very long show would have had been difficult to bear had it not been for the upbeat Punjabi music playing out and the models coming out in twos and threes, dancing to the Punjabi beats, twirling and breaking out into impromptu bhangra. The joie de vivre was infectious and the audience cheered, taking photographs, making videos. Showstoppers Sheheryar Munawar and Maya Ali added in even more appeal.

    As far as debuts go, this was a good one. But Mohsin Naveed Ranjha will have to think out of the box and make an identity for himself in order to make it to fashion’s big league.

    FAS
    FAS’ lineup offered nothing new in terms of palette and delved frequently towards loud, OTT embellishment. This is, of course, quite common in the case of bridal-wear but the designer treaded far too deep into generic waters.

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    There was nothing particularly new about the embroidery patterns and many of the clothes – especially the menswear – did not fit well. The lack of finesse made this collection one of the weakest of the day.

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    And this was despite the presence of some very heavy duty showstoppers: Omer Shehzad, Kubra Khan, Amanat Ali, Imran Abbas and Ayeza Khan.

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    But showstoppers can haul in a bit of social media mileage but they can’t save a show.

    Noreen Neelam
    Noreen Neelam’s selection of whites and bieges had promise.

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    Also, the mirror-work employed by the designers glittered prettily from afar. Had its placement been more innovative, the clothes could really have made a statement.

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    Neater, more finely cut silhouettes would have also made this collection a stronger one.

    Nickie Nina
    Nickie Nina’s collection was varied, as is the case with most bridal lineups, eyeing every event that encompasses the Pakistani wedding, from colorful Mehndi options to cardinal reds and silvers and powder pinks for the valima.

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    The multicolored options were particularly appealing, offering blends of glitter and floral print.

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    The heavier options in all-red and silver were less interesting, particularly because overdoses of embroidery tend to smother design, making it forgettable.

    Fahad Hussayn
    There was a ballet dancer and a man playing the violin, a bride who seemed to be in distress and a whole lot of twirling and whirling on the catwalk. Hareem Farooq played a role and Aima Baig sang live. But what was Fahad trying to say in this dramatic pantomime? The audience wondered. Even the models wondered – I know so because I especially asked them later.

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    But the show did transfix. Creatures of fashion like Fahad Hussayn are so necessary to fashion week. They keep things interesting and they make the effort to deliver not just a show but an experience. I don’t ever remember a Fahad Hussayn show to have been boring. This one wasn’t either.

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    And yet, in this particular show Fahad’s clothes got lost in all the drama. Some of the heavy wedding-wear was so beautiful and quite quintessentially Fahad Hussayn in the way in which the embellishments were intricately meshed together. But their finer details could hardly be appreciated with the models constantly moving and the lights changing color so that the clothes’ true hues weren’t usually visible.

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    Also, the few outfits from Fahad’s print line, ‘Print Museum’ were very out of place amidst the heavy wedding-wear. On a bigger catwalk, Fahad’s theatrics could have been more riveting. At PLBW, they only ended up looking confusing.
     
  4. ghazi52

    ghazi52 PDF THINK TANK: ANALYST

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    Here are our top picks:

    Red and pink is a winning combo
    Mohsin Naveed Ranjha made his PFDC catwalk debut this year and we were spoilt for choice to pick a favourite from the showcase. That said, this particular red and pink number stood out, there's so much to love here!

    From the beautiful play on colours to the velvet lehnga paired with a halter peplum, this one gets a big thumbs up from us.

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    Rubab Ali looks happy to be wearing such a stunner


    Corset with a twist
    Channeling some old world charm with this sari with a corset, this outfit by Mahgul needs to magically land in our closet, like now.

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    Say no to OTT embellishments!


    Black is the new black
    For all those who don't like OTT embroidery and would wear black > everything, this Misha Lakhani ensemble is for you. So sophisticated and chic.

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    Perfect for the bride's bad influence best friend


    A pop of lime green goes a long way
    We looked at this one long and hard. While we're usually not big fans of ruffles, trust Kamiar Rokni to make 'em high fashion. For those who aren't afraid to have some fun and take sartorial risks, this one's for you.

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    We could end up looking like baby dinosaurs but that's a risk we're willing to take


    Hussain Rehar knows when not to go overboard
    Lots of dainty embroidery's great and all but we're all about that less is more aesthetic and Hussain Rehar just gets our vibe. The powder blue paired with orange and red with chunky embroidery is totally our vibe.

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    This wedding season, simplicity is key


    Powersuit meets sari
    We love mixing it up with jackets especially with occasion wear so we're glad to see more of these long layers on the ramp by HSY and Nida Azwer among others.

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    L-R: HSY, Nida Azwer


    Unleash your inner warrior princess
    Something about this look is just so powerful. Cinched at the waist and paired with voluminous pants, this one is sure to make you stand out from the crowd.

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