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Ali Xeeshan’s Bride Has A Message

These models aren’t playing


Mahvish Ahmed

After a three-day line up of glamour and celebration of romance and love, trust Ali Xeeshan to address the elephant in the room. In his fashion showcase and at the grand finale at the PLBW 2016 Xeeshan’s collection conveyed a message as strong as his clothes were pretty: Marriage isn’t always a celebration.

dsc_5826In his theatrical set up, we saw dolls, dramatic hair ornaments, banana leaves and outfits in frosted pastels, ivory, peachy coral, acid green, and powder blue as well as a message that was loud and clear. The ‘Khamoshi’ collection began with a dark video by Abdullah Haris featuring a stunning but silenced bride (Amna Babar) surrounded by a suffocating society that is more focused on the ritualistic aspects of the ceremony than the consent of the bride.

dsc_6145 Intercut with slightly absurd shots of a monkey performing his ‘tamasha’ to the beat of his master’s ‘dugdugi’ the video highlights – literally and metaphorically – how many women in our part of the world are expected to accept what is decided for them.

This khamoshi is tragic when about 42% of the girls in Pakistan get married before their 18th birthday and 8% of adolescent married girls are already mothers between the ages of 15-19. But according to Xeeshan silence is not restricted to child marriages in villages.

dsc_6048“Brides-to-be come to my studio with their mothers in law and don’t even have the liberty to choose the outfit they like in the colors they want.”

The designer points out the injustice of this attitude. “They are not even married yet and have to succumb to the preferences of the mother in law, wearing what she likes and accessorizing like she deems fit. These are people coming from educated and well to do backgrounds.”

dsc_6178Ali Xeeshan’s bittersweet finale to PLBW featured classic silhouettes and with a running lotus flower motif that evoked youthful innocence complimented by the props that the models carried to drive in the larger social message of his theme.

dsc_6468His presentation closed with the beautiful Mahira Khan as the show stopper and a stunning collection showing that fashion does not only have to be about dressing up and looking beautiful; it showed that fashion can indeed be powerful.

ALSO READ: PLBW DAY 1: Colorful Bridals Make a Comeback


  • waqas

    Hi, I am a design educationist and design has always been a very strong medium for me whether to celebrate my fascinations, voice my opinion and put my concerns in front of the audience. But when somebody is sitting in his own cocoon and making what he is really good at and in the end just to sell his work he is abusing sentiments of a certain group of people who have actually gown through a big psychological chaos. I felt really bad when responsible people like fashion journalists and bloggers were appreciating him on this kind of interpretation of a very serious sort of issue. I am sorry but a pretty bridal cannot explain what a girl who is forcefully put in a wrong relationship goes through every day. Please ask the designer has he ever spoke to a single victim of this whole thing, I am sure he hasn’t. If he had done that the collection would have been very different. It wouldn’t have had the most beautiful motives places in a very precise manner to create amazing symmetry. If he had touched the real subject, the clothes would have been embellished with the broken dreams of those girls, the silhouettes would have shown who she feels being in an unwanted physical relationship and the colors probably would have shown the anxiety and depressions that are going to accompany her may be for her whole life. So please stop supporting such people who use social causes in their own interest otherwise it would emerge as a tradition one ever would actually do something that would contribute to the eradication of the issue.