Future Of Fashion : South Asian designers showcase dramatic couture at Christie’s ahead of New York Fashion Week

A Kamiar Rokhni creation on the catwalk at Christie’s in New York City, Aug. 27, 2019, during the debut of Fashion Parade featuring South Asian artists from India and Pakistan. Photo courtesy HAPPYMONDAY via Fashion Parade organizers)

Look out New York Fashion Week- there’s a new kid in town. The Fashion Parade Spring/Summer 2020 Runway Show which took place Aug. 27, at Christies, a leader in the art business, blew away audiences and critics and received big play in mainstream media including magazines, from Women’s Wear Daily to New York Post, Yahoo News, MSN, CNBC, CBS, etc.

The flamboyant show in the Big Apple featuring South Asian designers matched and even surpassed any past ethnic and mainstream show in terms of its conception and presentation, says chief strategist Sadia Siddiqui of Mustang Productions, who brought in two daring designers from India and four from Pakistan, to stage a “more than full house” show where half the audience was made up of promoters, Siddiqui told Desi Talk.

The designers were chosen to showcase how traditional craft and artisanal materials  can make futuristic fashion for coming generations, Siddiqui said.

Over more than a decade, Indian-American and other South Asian designers have become ubiquitous at New York Fashion Week with names like Naeem Khan, Bibhu Mohapata, Prabal Gurung, Sachin & Babbi, and McDuggal, to name just a few, taking headlines and dressing the likes of former First Lady Michelle Obama, and a slew of Hollywood stars.

Watch out now for the likes of Delhi Vintage Co., Rabani Rakha by Raaz, both from India, and Faiza Samee, Ali Xeeshan, Elan by Khadijah Shah, and Kamiar Rokni from Pakistan, to be as popular in North America as they are in their own homelands and Europe.

In existence since 2013, the Fashion Parade debuted in the Metropolis with Citi as its headline sponsor, partnering with the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology (FIT).

And, most significantly, Christie’s gave up most of its East Wing to the runway and audience, and threw in an art show highlighting South Asian modern and contemporary art, to bedazzle those who walked in to see the Fashion Parade. “There was art everywhere — all the way to the reception area. All of it was South Asian contemporary art … and the story continued to the runway,” Siddiqui enthused. To add to the glamour, some of the models were those who also walk during NYFW.

Messaging Fashion

There were multiple messages at different levels that Fashion Parade wanted to send out with this debut.

“Not only are we celebrating artisanal craft which might fade away if our governments don’t take steps … because the world is changing fast, slow fashion is fading away and fast fashion is coming in,” Siddiqui said.

“We wanted to promote the designers who use artisans and crafts, like Faiza Samee who uses only hand-made materials,” she added.

And in their first show in New York, “not only are we celebrating diversity but also (helping to change) the perceptions about India and Pakistan, that are very dated in the U.S.”

She believes this dated perception is a result of Indian and Pakistani communities not doing enough cross-cultural exchange.

“I wanted to change these perceptions and bring to the U.S., the design sensibility in these (India and Pakistan) countries.”

Notable attendees at the event included Dorinda Medley of The Real Housewives of New York City; Evan Betts of So Cosmo; Sophie Sumner from America’s Next Top Model; model Ashley Haas; and celebrity chef Palak Patel.

About The Designers At Fashion Parade

Delhi Vintage Co.

Delhi Vintage Co. strives to tell a story and provide an experience from its location in the Dhanmill Compound in Chattarpur Farms near Delhi. They carry a carefully curated selection of handlooms, bespoke bridals & couture, alongside vintage Indian folk art. They consider their work as an art form.

Rabani & Rakha

The ‘Rabani’ part of the R & R team was the brain child of husband and wife duo Rahul and Shibani Rastogi, both graduates of the Shri Ram College of Commerce, who began the line in 1999. The ‘Rakha’ name entered the equation with Gautam Rakha, also a graduate of Shri Ram College, with a diplomat from NIFT, New Delhi. The Rabani & Rakha team won the ‘Prix’d Indiction’ award in Paris with their creative expertise and skills learnt at the design studio of Tarun Tahiliani. This fashion team has shone in Hong Kong, Bankok, Dubai, London and Los Angeles, among other cities.

Ali Xeeshan

Regarded as a sought-after Pakistani brand, Xeeshan’s unorthodox, bold, artistic and creative design philosophy has got him a reputation as a theatrical genius. His label encompasses the tradition, heritage and culture of Pakistan with a modern, avant-garde design aesthetic that has quickly become a favorite among high profile clientele both internationally and in Pakistan.

ÉLAN by Khadijah Shah

ÉLAN is synonymous with elegance, opulence and luxury. Established in 2006, the fashion powerhouse earned early success because of its intricately detailed and luxurious evening and bridal wear and tastefully body-conscious silhouettes. This design team labor’s over every detail of their creations, employing intricate hand stitching as well as other classic and modern techniques.

Faiza Samee

Faiza Samee’s passion for textiles and embroidery began more than 30 years ago when she decided to investigate the origins of her own family heirlooms and antique textiles, as well as Mughal and Central Asian embroidery forms. She combed the alleys of her country to find master craftsmen and inspire in them with the pride to once again create masterpieces that circumstances had forced them to abandon.

Testimony to her talent is the fact that both the Victoria and Albert Museum in London and the National Museum of Scotland have commissioned her work for exhibition.

Kamiar Rokni

Launched in late 2007, The House of Kamiar Rokni is Pakistan’s premier fashion house, established by its creative director, Kamiar Rokni. celebrated in South Asia and elsewhere for his aesthetic, crafting global heritage into modern, wearable art. His work proposes a progressive narrative for South Asia across the catwalks of Paris, London, Pakistan, Mauritius and Japan.




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