Regarded as the queen of couture in Pakistani fashion – and with good reason – Bunto Kazmi has become a household name, and every Pakistani bride’s dream designer. This status is especially remarkable considering she has never formally advertised, and partaken in only about a handful of fashion shows. She is as media shy as she is talented. Bunto Kazmi’s entire business has always run on word-of-mouth. Even at appointments, she does not have samples or a collection for reference. She simply does what no one else does: create one of kind, original outfits for her clientele on an order to order basis.
Bunto Kazmi inherited her business from her mother-in-law, Sughra Kazmi – a pioneering woman in her own right, who earned high acclaim in the business of fashion decades ago. But it was Bunto Kazmi who truly changed bridal wear for every Pakistani woman, for generations to come. How? By reinventing the traditional farshi gharara, an ensemble originating from the Lucknowi heritage that the Kazmi’s belong to.
What Is A Farshi Gharara?
A farshi gharara is a Lucknowi garment, traditionally worn by the Muslim women of the Awadh region of Uttar Pradesh during the era of the Nawabs. During the late 19th and early 20th centuries, it was considered everyday attire among Muslim women of the Hindi Belt, particularly for the women of Nawab and Taluqedar families. The garment was actually representative of the status of the person wearing it. The farshi gharara consists of a short kurti or choli, a dupatta and the farshi gharara itself; a pair of wide-legged pants that are loose on the thighs, and ruched five inches below the knee. This is what allows it to flare out dramatically. The ruched area is often elaborately embroidered as well.
A Different Take
The traditional farshi gharara had a short kurti or choli as the upper body piece, for which reason women would drape the duppatta around and in front of the ensemble. This would end up hiding the bulk and volume created from the many kaliyaan or pleats in the farshi gharara. Women would have to bunch up the drawstring inside the gharara due to the volume of the fabric, and the weight of the embroidery, otherwise it wouldn’t stay in place. Although beautiful in its own regard, the downside to this style of drapery was how it hid most of the jewellery the women would wear.
Enter the Bunto Kazmi era of farshi ghararas. She rose to popularity by giving this traditional piece a modern-day makeover, keeping lifestyle and practicality in mind – not trends. The short kurti was replaced with longer, just-above-the-ankle length shirts. The neckline, which was once draped with a duppatta, is now prominent with the designer’s signature boat-neck style. The starring yellow-gold embroidery found in almost every popular wedding garment in South Asian history, especially the classic farshi ghararas, was replaced with elegant, dull gold and silver work by her. These innovations amongst many that have made Bunto Kazmi one of the most sought-after designers in the industry over the last several decades. Her vision, her creativity, and the way she skillfully masters tradition with modernity are unparalleled. Her style changed the landscape of wedding couture and fashion completely, making waves that have resonated in the works of both contemporary and up and coming designers alike. Wherever the modern Pakistani girl goes shopping for her wedding trousseau, she’ll see Bunto’s influence.