A Night Out: Pakistan’s Fashion Show

The embassy brought together designers and lots of food to celebrate the country's 60th birthday.

What: 60th Anniversary of Pakistan’s Independence, celebrated with a reception and fashion show featuring Pakistani modern, Western “fusion,” and bridalwear.

Where: Pakistani Embassy, International Court, NW.

When: Saturday, August 25, 7 PM to 10 PM.

Who: Hosted by the Embassy of Pakistan and the National Geographic Society. The show began with introductions from Pakistani Ambassador Mahmud Ali Durrani, National Geographic’s Terry Adamson, and Erwin Gomez Salon and Spa’s Sab Shad, who had done the hair and makeup for all 31 models. DJ Amer provided music for the runway—everything from upbeat Bhangra dance music to Justin Timberlake. Fashion designers included Hajra Hayat, Maria B, Uboo Nayna Couture, Tazeen Hasan, Monica Haute-Couture, Zari Boutique.

Attire: The reception preceding the fashion show exhibited a mix of Western cocktail dresses with Pakistani salwarkamiz (pantsuits) and saris in bright embroidered colors. A few guests stood out in faded jeans and button-down shirts, but on the whole it was a suit, tie, or Pakistani-attire night. Mingling among the crowd were embassy officials, designers, members of the Pakistani-American community, and National Geographic employees.

Food: Typical Pakistani fare—the type you might expect at a picnic buffet. Miniature samosas (peas and spiced potatoes stuffed in a buttery turnover crust), miniature shrimp kebabs rubbed with a spicy vindaloo seasoning, chicken kebabs with green bell peppers and onions, tiny egg-salad sandwiches cut into triangles and topped with thinly sliced carrots and onions, and for dessert gulab jamun—small round porus cakes soaked in a sugary-sweet syrup with saffron and served warm. Toward the end of the reception, there was plenty of food but no plates and the wine glasses gave way to plastic cups, but that didn’t seem to bother the guests who were happy taking second or third helpings on their napkins.

Drink: Orange and grape juice, Coke, Diet Coke, and Sprite.

Scene: The attire said “formal and fashionable,” but the mood was casual. Pakistani families chatted about whom they had seen lately while sipping on Welch’s grape juice; conversations circulated about the rain shower that had begun just as guests arrived. During the fashion show, the second floor was packed, with many guests standing at the outskirts of the seated audience. Children sat on the laps of parents or grandparents and did their fair share of crying during the two intermissions. As models walked down the runway, audience members cheered at their favorites—most likely someone they knew. The evening ended with an East-meets-West dance performance that made everyone clap along to the music. At the end of the night, guests were handed National Geographic goody bags containing a map of Afghanistan and Pakistan, and copies of National Geographic, National Geographic Kids, National Geographic Traveler, and National Geographic Adventure magazines.

Ratings (out of 5):

Boldface names: 2
Swankiness: 3
Food and drink: 3
Exclusivity: 3
Total score: 14 out of 20

Look below for a photo slideshow of the event. 

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