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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 October, 2003, 12:39 GMT 13:39 UK
Catwalk unites Indian, Pakistani models
By Nyay Bhushan
BBC correspondent in Delhi

The leaders of their countries are talking tough to each other, and their armies are locked in a lengthy stand-off.

Catwalk model
Models say they were struck by similarities in Indian and Pakistani fashion (Photo: Bridal Asia)

But the fashion models from India and Pakistan who shared the same catwalk this week were more interested in each other's clothes, than in shows of force.

The annual Bridal Asia fashion event is developing a reputation for giving talent from the Asian subcontinent a common platform.

Now in its fifth year, the show sent three Indian designers over to Pakistan for a display in June - and then brought three Pakistani designers to Delhi for this week's event.

Faiza Samee, Hassan Sheheryar Khan and Simoneel and Maliha showcased their work this week alongside top Indian designers, including Ritu Kumar, Krishna Mehta and Sabyasachi Mukherjee.

And sharing the catwalk with the Indian models were four models from Pakistan.

Women in both countries are always experimenting with each other's fashion styles
Divya Gurwara
Bridal Asia organiser

Pakistani model Nadia Hussain found her first trip to India an "overwhelming" experience - and she couldn't help noticing how brides in both countries dress in very similar ways.

"We have the same cultural connection and I don't feel different wearing Indian clothes," she said.

Bangle-jangling beats sabre-rattling

Designer Simoneel Siddiqui feels such events show "we can have a bit of fun beyond all the political issues".

Models backstage
Backstage at the Karachi show (Photo: Bridal Asia)

Bridal Asia organiser Divya Gurwara says fashion cultures in both countries had much in common.

"Of course, the saree is more popular in India, while the salwar-kameez [traditional trouser suit] is prevalent in Pakistan but women in both countries are always experimenting with each other's fashion styles."

Male model Mikaal Patras Aziz Zulfiqar says there are some restrictions on holding fashion shows in Pakistan.

"For instance, it's probably not possible to do a show for a bikini line. But that doesn't mean that some shows don't have sexy or revealing clothes."

A Pakistani models an outfit by Indian designer JJ Valaya (Photo: Bridal Asia)

Nadia, who was urged to go on the catwalk by a hair-stylist, says being a female model in Pakistan can sometimes be a challenge, but "it is important to have the right contacts and attitude".

And as is the case in India, where models often aspire to act in Bollywood films, the Pakistani models are open to the idea of working in cinema.

Actor-model Shamyl Bakht Khan has already worked in some Pakistani films and is looking forward to the release of his upcoming feature, "Ladki Punjaban Hai" (The Girl is a Punjabi).

It was co-directed by an Indian and a Pakistani, and produced by a UK-based Pakistani, Afzal Khan.

"A part of the film was shot in Malaysia and directed by [an] Indian, Shashilal Nair, while the remaining film was shot in Pakistan and directed by Syed Noor," says Mr Khan.

The film is a musical love story featuring a Muslim boy and a Sikh girl.

Sikh men hit the catwalk
06 Aug 03  |  South Asia
Indian fashion takes hold
19 Feb 02  |  Business
Party politics for Pakistan's poor
03 Jan 03  |  South Asia

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