From Faisalabad to London – Omar Mansoor’s Fashion Journey
|Omar Mansoor’s Madam Butterfly collection at London Fashion Week SS14 Photo: Shahid Malik|
The likes of Burberry, Christopher Kane and Temperley may hog the limelight at London Fashion Week but emerging designers areone of the cornerstones of the event. For the past 7 years an emerging designerfrom Pakistan has quietly been making a name for himself.
|Royal Blue was a major theme of Omar’s LFW SS14 collection PHOTO: Shahid Malik|
Omar Mansoor is a graduate of the London School of Fashion and is known for his sexy, flattering silhouettes and hisclever use of embellishment. A true couturier, he has built up a loyal andexclusive clientele. Arab princesses and wealthy socialites number among his clients. A Qatari princess wore one of his designs when Qatar bid for the Fifa2022 World Cup. Ascot is one of his busiest times of the year and his pretty, feminine designs are much in demand for both Ascot and elite events such as Polo in the Park.
|Omar’s 2011 Ascot collection|
To those of us used to Pakistani designers wholove to blow their own trumpets, Omar is a refreshing change. Unassuming andself-effacing, he’s the typical, slightly desi, Pakistani boy-next-door.There’s no posturing or posing; he’s happy to sit over coffee sharing storiesabout mangoes, movies and dhabas. Yet his outfits are cosmopolitan, sophisticatedand extremely polished. Moreover, this young man from Faisalabad achievedsomething that no other designer from Pakistan has so far managed – success andlegimitacy on an international stage.
Omar trained at the London College ofFashion and his effortlessly sensual clothes reflect his rigorous training. Theclothes are expertly cut and the fit is simply exquisite. However a designerneeds to demonstrate more than excellent tailoring to make it in the world offashion. Omar’s biggest strength is the way he draws on his Pakistani roots toadd intricate embellishments and detailing to his outfits.
|Embroidered Lace Dress from LFW SS14 collection|Omar says that he was inspired on this pathby some advice from Kenneth Cole, when Omar was just launching his label.
“You have to marry your westerneducation with your eastern expertise.”
|Omar incorporated beautiful fabrics into this RTW collection for LFW SS14 Photo: Shahid Malilk|
Omar claims this mentoring helped him todevelop his own take on fusion designs, which later developed into hissignature style. One of his trademark touches is a unique “charpai weave” thathe works into silks and other fabrics. His 2011 Ascot collection extensivelyfeatured woven bodices made with this technique.
|Omar’s signature “Charpoy weave” technique|
Omar may describe his work as “fusion” but hissignature style owes much more to the west than the east. Omar may have grownup in Faisalabad but his work reflects his background at London College ofFashion more than anything else. His work is unashamedly British fashion with ajust a hint of Eastern extravagance. Whereas his tutors advised him to let thecut of his clothes do the talking, Omar continued to experiment with an arrayof embellishment techniques. He is now known and appreciated for hisextravagant use of embellishment though by Pakistani standards his use ofembellishment is subtle in the extreme.
|Gorgeous backs were a major feature of Omar”s SS14 collection Photo: Shahid Malik|
|Omar’s Bohemian SS13 collection featured intricate lace detailing|
Omar’s work has evolved over the years.Last year at London Fashion Week he chose to show a very wearable bohemiancollection that was poles apart from the glamorous evening wear he is knownfor. He maintained his usual attention to detail with elaborate lacework on thefluid silhouettes and the show was generally well received. This year he movedback towards the sexy silhouettes that launched his career, but this time he chose to present a ready to wear collection as opposed to couture.
|Great to see a South East Asian model on the catwalk at London Fashion Week Photo: Shahid Malik|
Inspired by the Opera “Madam Butterfly” thecollection is a symphony of royal blue and black. Omar showed a range oftailored, sensual dresses that had great visual impact. The collectioncontained versatile pieces that can be dressed up or down as well as somefull-blown occasion wear. Whilst it is interesting to see Omar venture beyondcouture, the collection was perhaps not as cohesive as those from previousyears. There were some stunning pieces and the backs of his outfits were almostuniformly gorgeous. However, there were such a variety of silhouettes that thestrong creative vision that Omar usually projects wasn’t quite there. That said, it was a beautiful, appealing collection. It will be stocked at independent boutiques in the UK and Dublin and will be promoted via a tradeshow in early 2014.
|Omar’s glamourous evening wear has many fans|
|“Couture is another ball game” Omar Mansoor|
Omar meanwhile continues to develop his couture line, which includes unique bespoke pieces and is available byappointment in London. Omar’s evolution as a designer is encouraging and histalent is evident. A Pakistani designer with a truly international mindset and appeal, Omar Mansoor is one to watch.
Published in the Express Tribune on September 24, 2013
Copyright 2015 Karachista. All rights reserved