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It’s always a great honour for designers to be able to showcase their work abroad, regardless of where they might hail from. For Pakistani designers, the latest opportunity came in the form of Pakistan Fashion Week London 11, which took place just last week, between May 20 and May 21.

London’s prestigious Lancaster House, for the first time, opened its doors to some of Pakistan’s most celebrated and talented fashion connoisseurs. This 11th installment of Pakistan Fashion Week London also marked 70 years of Pakistan’s independence with names such as Umar Sayeed, Shamaeel Ansari, Sana Safinaz, Maria B, Maheen Khan, Shirin Hassan, Khaas and Umsha By Uzma Baber presenting their tasteful and vibrant designs.

The show was curated by popular event directors Riwayat and led by the accomplished creative director Adnan Ansari. Organised in partnership with the High Commission of Pakistan in London, it was one of a series of events planned by His Excellency Syed Ibne Abbas, for the country’s birthday.

Over two thousand people registered for the event which saw a catwalk run through the three grand halls of the palace. Ambassadors from a number of other countries joined in the festivities and the nine-room exhibition allowed guests to talk with the designers and purchase what they liked.

In line with the fashion week’s patriotic spirit, designer Maaz Jee paid tribute to Muhammad Ali Jinnah with a collection inspired by his clothing, whilst Maheen Khan showcased opulent shades of cream and gold capes and dresses with intricate embroidery.

Shirin Hassan displayed her latest bridals from a collection titled Nauratan. The clothes featured traditional work more than fusion and consisted of angrakha, lehnga choli and peplums with blockprint, Gota work and intricate hand embellishments. “It was a great experience doing the show in the palace. The catwalk was in four halls and a few of the models were Pakistani but most were foreigners,” Shirin told The Express Tribune. “The response was unbelievable, the entire Pakistani community was there, including the high commissioner. Also, one night before the fashion week started, we were all invited to dinner by the high commissioner which was a great gesture. We were overwhelmed!”

Sana Safinaz showed their latest Chateau Marmot collection, evoking the glitz and glamour of old Hollywood redefined with modern and sleek silhouettes. The collection had evening dresses, gowns and structured pants with tops in monochromatic classics. “It was a great experience,” said the renowned designer duo. “The actual venue was breathtaking and the whole ambience was beautiful! It was a real treat to show our clothes at Lancaster House and we’re so proud to be part of Pakistan’s 70-year celebration.”

Shamaeel Ansari also presented a collection which focused on timeless silhouettes consisting of jackets in different lengths, tunics, skirts and lenghas and heavily embroidered shawls on organic floral prints.

The event also welcomed newcomers such as Aisha Imran, Hamna Amir, Zeeshan Bariwala, Sonia Mahajan, Sana Farooq, Noor by Saadia Asad and Agha Noor. Each of the nascent collections was a treat for the eyes, with traditional and modern embellishments, embroideries and silhouettes portraying the rich Pakistani heritage.

“It is always a pleasure working with Adnan Ansari and the Riwayat UK team. I have been a part of their show for the past five years. This time, the venue was Lancaster House; truly one of kind!” said Hamna. “The collection I showcased this time was contemporary statement pieces, with a focus on pearls and gemstones,” she added.

For the uninitiated, it must be pointed out that it was from Lancaster House that the Pakistani flag was sent to our first ever high commission at Lowndes Square in London. Pakistan Fashion Week London provided the opportunity for thousands to return to Lancaster House 70 years later to celebrate local fashion and independence.

Adnan, creative director at Riwayat said, “It was a privilege to work so closely with the high commission and deliver this event. Their commitment for a truly inspiring event matched with Riwayat’s expertise and ability to deliver. We are proud of Pakistan! It was a great pleasure to present its best face on such a huge platform in London.”

He added, “Fashion is one of Pakistan’s leading exports and runs to a multi-billion pound industry and growing! Events profiling the leading names of that industry challenge the West’s perceptions of our country and increase the trading links between our two nations.”Read more at:formal dresses australia