Last Friday the May Fair Hotel hosted an unprecedented event in the UK. For the first time, some of the most celebrated designers in India and Pakistan – Anita Dongre, Rina Dhaka and Bhairavi Jaikishan (India); and Umar Sayeed, Nida Azwer and Sania Maskatiya (Pakistan) – had the opportunity to show their latest creations at a fashion extravaganza organised by South Asian fashion influencers, Radhika Hasan and Aamna & Aisha.
Faisana Fashion Weekend was inaugurated with the exclusive “Champagne, Canapés and Couture” evening. The first of its kind to be held in the UK, the event brought together many South Asian celebrities, including singer Kanika Kapoor, former Bollywood actress Madhoo, actress, comedian, writer and singer Meera Syal MBE, and model and host and VJ Nina Manuel, as well as a large number of fashionistas.
The evening began with the exhibition of some of the designers’ creations, so those present had the opportunity to acquire any of the pieces while enjoying a wide range of beverages and canapés provided by the hotel’s team.
Next was the runway show featuring the latest collections of all participating designers, presented by the designers themselves. The evening also included a Kathak dance performance by dancer Fasih Ur Rahman of the Akademi Institute.
Rina Dhaka opened the show with a collection of romance and colour, where exquisite embroidery is combined with pops of colour such as orange or pink.
Sania Maskatiya was next. Her collection, called “Kuamka – Awakening” and inspired by Africa, features tribal patterns and combination of colourful materials.
Bahiravi Jaikishan’s collection is inspired by English summer. The designer uses a wide range of colours that include yellow and beige outfits with golden embroidery, as well as black gowns embellished with delicate multicolour floral embroidery.
Nida Azwer’s collection is composed by classic and vintage design elements infused with traditional crafts such as ‘tukri ka kaam’, ‘rilli’, ‘kantha’, ‘zardozi’ and ‘miniature embroidery’ worked into contemporary fashion. All clothing is handworked in Pakistan using only pure fabrics.
Latest in the show were the most reputed designers. With a long established career, Anita Dongre introduced her “Jaipur Bride” collection. Inspired by the craft traditions of Rajasthan, her collection features plain colour outfits embellished with rich gotapatti embroidery.
Lastly, Umar Sayeed closed the show with a collection of cocktail and party dresses characterised by the use of multicolour embroidery and fringes.
All the collections enjoyed the admiration of the audience, who was mesmerized by the quality and the richness of each outfit, and all the designers were given a great ovation.
At the end of the evening, all organisers expressed their satisfaction about the success of the event. Radhika Hasan said, “On behalf of the RHL (Radhika Hasan Ltd) team, I would like to thank all who attended Faisana Fashion Weekend to make it such an enormous success. For the first time in the UK, Faisana brought together the best of Indian and Pakistani fashion on one platform, showcasing their latest collections. The response from media and buyers has been overwhelming, proving the point that the UK holds a tremendous opportunity for South Asian fashion.”
Aisha Tabani Chowdhry also stressed the impressive response of the UK audience to the Faisana concept. “We had hoped to deliver something new and exciting and I think we managed to achieve that. Our six brilliant designers produced an amazing array of the best India and Pakistan have to offer – it was fashion heaven!”
Aamna Lakhany said, “Faisana Fashion Weekend proved to be a dream come true. It has been such an exciting and amazing experience and we are entirely overwhelmed by the huge amount of support we have received.”
After the exclusive event on Friday evening, Faisana Fashion Weekend concluded on Saturday with The Grand Trunk Show, an open exhibition showcasing a wide range of ready to wear and couture from the designers’ latest collections for the general public.