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How the rendezvous with Rembrandt worked
It felt as though, in all of its three-day glory, FWP’15 had been but a storm gathering to culminate herein, with Nilofer Shahid knocking it out of the park and injecting life into an otherwise tedious affair. Kudos to the organisers for saving the very best for last as there could not have been a better conclusion to the event.
Evidently, our sentiments are echoed by everyone in the fraternity. The collection, inspired by the legendary Dutch painter Rembrandt Harmenszoon van Rijn has remained the talk of the town ever since and as its patron, Nilofer is overwhelmed by the praise. “You know, I could feel the appreciation in the air that night,” she says excitedly whilst speaking with The Express Tribune. “Nothing but positivity and applause came from the audience. People said they had been ‘mesmerised’ as though mine had been an international show!”
Just as Rembrandt was the pioneer of his craft, Nilofer too managed to inspire awe through her exquisite craftsmanship and dexterous use of fabric. She shares the story of one particular audience-member who had been moved to tears by the ensembles. “She came to me crying and said, ‘It was like a master paying tribute to another great master, with passion and love,’” says Nilofer excitedly. “I tried to translate Rembrandt’s work into sartorial interpretations with as much depth as possible. So much so, I think it resulted in all else becoming pale and insignificant.” Prior to this, the painter has been depicted on the ramp just once before, by French high-street label Dior.
“It took us about five months to put the collection together, from the basic sketches to the tangible dresses and then, the showstopper for the evening,” claims Nilofer. For the latter, she brought to life one of Rembrandt’s most celebrations works, The Jewish Bride, assayed by supermodel Mehreen Syed. According to lore, another Dutch painter Vincent Van Gogh was so enamored by the painting when he first saw it that he was unable to look away for several minutes after. “If I could give ten years of my life to it, they would not be enough” is the quote famously associated to this encounter.
And if Van Gogh thought himself unworthy, one can imagine the sheer hard work Nilofer and her team put in to recreating the masterpiece. “It is by far, one of the most challenging things I have ever done for The Jewish Bride is one of Rembrandt’s most renowned romantic pieces, spiritually and physically,” admits Nilofer. “There was a hint of glamour to the bride. The long trail she sported portrays the grandeur reminiscent of her artist.” The final outcome has successfully softened even the toughest of critics.
With one of the most cathartic moments in the history of Pakistani fashion under her belt, Nilofer is now setting sail for the Bridal Couture Week to be held in Lahore next week. “The bridal collection is for the women of today, as she transcends from her home to another,” explains Nilofer. “It will touch upon her evolution as a young woman and so, I have dubbed it ‘The Journey of Self-Realisation.’” Unfortunately, Nilofer does not divulge much more about the collection but if her previous offering is to be relied upon, Lahore ought to prepare for a virtual feast.
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