This winter, I made a trip to Pakistan to attend my cousin’s wedding. I had an amazing break spending quality time with my family! The ceremony was gorgeous with various events and functions leading up to the main reception.
One of these was a ladies “milad” which is a traditional event where a selection of religious hymns/poetry readings are performed at someones house and all the ladies are invited to listen to them.
It’s considered auspicious to have this before the wedding to bless the new bride and groom.
After that, people chill out, mingle, have lunch and cake pops (yay) and some get henna intricately painted on their hands by a talented henna artist.
I loved the buzz of the informal event and how opulent the plush oriental carpet looked juxtaposed with well dressed women kneeling/talking whilst children meandered through, playing. I wanted to create an illustration that captured the vitality of that moment. I took a few photos on my phone and set about creating something. Here’s how it turned out!
The reception was an elegant and refined one – tasteful and pristine white floral arrangements were accompanied with two toned taupe draped ceilings and vintage chandeliers. Unlike the Milad, this event is far more formal, where women wore heavily embroidered traditional clothes and jewellery.
Fashion in Pakistan is very fast paced – every season there seem to be new garments in style. The hemlines vary from dramatic floor sweeping, gown-like silhouettes to stiffer, structured knee length embroidery encrusted coats.
I love how beadwork in Pakistan is handled very sensitively, particularly in Karachi, where there is a quintessential understated “look.” There may be a lot of embroidery, but the contrast is never un tastefully stark such as, for instance, silver with electric blue. The embroidery is always multi layered and the colors and textures are gradual, with a complementary spectrum of shades within each outfit and the appropriate amount of negative space to make ensemble work as a whole.
In the daytime, women prefer to wear casual outfits made of lawn or cotton in bold block prints. These outfits tend to be more fun, free spirited, experimental and at times, bohemian.
At night night women often opt for dressier more luxurious fabrics such as billowy chiffon or something with a softer, flattering drape. These formal outfits take on a classier and elegant, minimalistic appearance. In terms of embroidery – If it is just a soiree or dinner party, then simple embroidery made of threads or an embellished braid on the hemline or sleeves will do, (see below) but if it is a wedding, then shimmering silver zari work, sequins and rhinestones all come out to play!
These days, the silhouettes take inspiration from both the East and the West such as long printed chiffon kaftans, patterned trousers or embroidered tunics.
This illustration is of the reception which had more of a refined, elegant atmosphere. I used Tip Ex in a scattered way to convey the sequins and embroidery. I drew it one lazy afternoon sitting in the sun, with a mug full of coffee. Bliss!