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Gul Ahmed ss ’11

WHAT: Gul Ahmed SS 2011 collection campaign launch and the First Annual Gul Ahmed Fashion Awards
WHEN: Thursday, 17th March 2011.
WHERE: DHA Golf Club Convention Center, Karachi.

In times of high fashion and designer lawn overkill, one brand that has truly stood the test of time and changing trends is Gul Ahmed. The textile powerhouse recently hosted the Gul Ahmed SS 2011 collection campaign launch along with the First Annual Gul Ahmed Fashion Awards 2011 inside the serene confines of DHA Golf Club in Karachi, which weren’t so serene once the party started, of course. With Natasha Hussain hosting the event and a multitude of important and beautiful faces mingling pre-show, this was definitely the place to be!
The designers showing their Spring-Summer collections were Maheen Kardar of Karma, Ayesha Farooq Hashwani and Kamiar Rokni, each of whom was given a vibrant assortment of Gul Ahmed fabric to play around with. And play they did! Each designer demonstrated an impressive variety and feel-good collections that taught us a thing or two about using Gul Ahmed lawn innovatively.
Maheen Kardar kicked off the show and like always, her collection pronounced her signature class, elegance and glamour. Her Bollywood theme for the collection was somewhat lost on us, however, because the only relevance we noticed were the hit Bollywood numbers playing in the background as bindi-wearing models paraded down the ramp. Busy prints inspired, at least according to her, by the splendor of Bollywood’s past and present were exhibited in abundance in the form of flowy gowns and skirts of various shapes, sizes and density. Her use of colour and dark bold patterns was quite interesting, especially when paired with a generous helping of bling and sequin detailing in some of the pieces. Maheen clearly decided to let her guard down and have fun with this one.
Ayesha Farooq Hashwani’s white and “pure” collection came next, hinting strongly at a fusion of Western and Eastern design that was both modern and feminine. Her cuts and silhouettes were visibly grown up, and we were finally able to see some nice figures back, which is a well-received change. Her minimalistic tops and gowns all worked together to give this collection a decidedly virginal yet incredibly sensual vibe. There were hints of 1920s Hollywood and Arab inspiration in some of the pieces, and even though Aisha’s collection was covered in a blanket of white, the overall vibe managed to remain engaging thanks to chic, subdued splashes of colour and print here and there.
Kamiar Rokni’s inspiration for his romantic collection were bold and daring heroines embroiled in adventure that we’ve all grown up watching and loving. This would have made more sense if his collection wasn’t 80 percent fun, frivolous summer dresses! Having said that, we have to admire his knack for creating pieces that are almost always a treat to look at. The dresses were beautiful and elegant, perfect for a woman out to have a relaxed time with her man. We also got to see a few innovative tops in interesting cut and colour that once again drew attention to Kami’s obstinate love for beauty and femininity.
The declared purpose of the First Annual Gul Ahmed Fashion Awards 2011 was to celebrate and encourage the young talent Pakistani Art and Fashion Schools has to offer. According to the director of Gul Ahmed Textiles, Ziad Bashir, the students chosen to showcase their creativity in garments and accessories were some of the best fashion students in Pakistan who would benefit greatly from the Gul Ahmed platform. The participating schools this year were Asian Institute of Fashion Design (AIFD) and Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVS) from Karachi; Iqra University from Islamabad; along with National College of Art and Architecture (NCA) and Pakistan Institute of Fashion Design (PIFD) from Lahore.
The accessories by IVS and NCA students was displayed off the ramp. The kids from PIFD, AIFD and Iqra University managed to pull together a few funky tops and dresses, but nothing that instigated more than a mere flicker or two of interest. Some of the designers displayed an ingenious use of colour and print with a couple of stand-out pieces, but most designs were just too busy and unimaginative to be seen anywhere other than the ramp. Their themes were all a fuzz of immature art-school stuff and we feel these young protégé’s will need to work a lot harder to come up with practical, wearable stuff that will woo their future buyers.