An Extravagant Gala and a Fashion Museum All In One

A "met gala type" gala and museum that is both thrilling and ambitious will bring together a writer, an MUA, and a PR guru.

Three women who have been heavily involved with Pakistani fashion from the beginning are in charge of a museum devoted to fashion and an extravagant party with a red carpet and a different theme each year. Collectively, fashionista Nabila, writer Fifi Haroon, and event organiser and marketer Frieha Altaf are embarking on a very bold and thrilling idea that is so logical you question how nobody had ever considered it previously.

Fashion week as we once knew them has largely disappeared. Designers lack the will to put aside their desire to sell their pieces in stores and produce full collections that are imaginative and artistic but perhaps not always wearable. Retail-friendly bridals, grass, and lovely desi formals have taken over the fashion industry after it survived the financial losses caused by the pandemic and subsequent hyperinflation. Nobody in the design community wants to invest their time and money into producing an entire line that may be avant-garde and push the envelope but is not marketable. The past of fashion is now simply a thing of the past.

The Met Gala-style lavish gala, on the other hand, wherein the red carpet acts as the show itself, can encourage designers to spend money on one daring, attention-grabbing dress made for an influential person or celebrity they choose as their model. After all, it doesn’t take much work for just one distinctive ensemble to grab attention.

It is long past time for a museum to uphold the standards established in times gone by. It would act as a potent remembrance of the finest events in Pakistani the fashion industry’s last seventy-five years. It might encourage designers to at times think outside the box of business and exercise their creative faculties. It might foster the development of a more adventurous younger generation of artists.

According to Fifi Haroon, it will require ample research and time for our ambitions to materialise. She hopes that it will grow into a destination that tourists seek out when they are in Karachi so they can see some of the best designs produced in Pakistan.

“The museum is going to recognise and honour the benchmarks achieved in the past but we also want it to be a living, breathing house of fashion that acknowledges the present and paves roads for the future,” says Haroon. “We want to make it a common ground where the community can meet and celebrate the spirit of discovery and adventure that characterises fashion’s most magical moments. Perhaps, it will become a place where seminars are organised and the work of fashion graduates is showcased.”

“We’re very intent on making the gala an exclusive event with a curated guest list. That’s how fashion weeks were back when they started out. The Carnivale de Couture, back in the day, had a limited, very select, audience. Fashion weeks, now, had become open to the public at large, with very little exclusivity to them. We don’t want the gala to be like that. We want it to be exciting, with memorable fashion moments. We haven’t experienced such moments in so long.”

The Fashion Gala is probably going to happen much sooner than the museum, which will be situated at an unnamed UNESCO World Heritage site. Altaf states, “I’m aiming for either the end of 2023 or spring 2024.”

Although it will take a while for the museum to open, I remind Altaf that if the gala is a successful outcome, the publicity it creates may encourage additional investors to support the museum. It takes a lot of time. We require patrons, and they will not only include companies in the clothing and textile sectors; we’ll also need firms from all around who want to contribute to the establishment of a website that highlights some of Pakistan’s most illustrious accomplishments. For the museum, I’ve had this concept for a very long time, but it’s taken too long to develop. And after I was certain I was prepared to move forward with the strategy, I needed to collaborate with like-minded individuals.

What part will Nabila play? She explains,  “I will be looking over the hair, makeup and overall styling,” she says, “and applying the knowledge that I have gained over the years in curating the museum and looks for the gala.”

High-end fashion shows have occasionally been arranged in the past, but they never materialised because of a language barrier. However, Frieha Altaf did not arrange those particular activities. The Frieha-Nabila-Fifi trio has a history of helping to make things take place, whether it’s through running the nation’s oldest entertainment-related awards show, continually pushing the envelope with sharp styling, or making powerful, unapologetic statements through fashion editorials at a point when there wasn’t any such thing as them.

A luxurious gala and meticulously maintained museum might be ready to give Pakistani fashion the jolts it needs to get back into activity. And these three are the ones who can accomplish it.

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