The Met Office couldn’t have predicted the storm that hit Dhaka on Friday, May 3. While the city breathed a collective sigh of relief that Cyclone Fani had lost some of her teeth before crossing the border, the fashion world was left reeling in the wake of the thunderstorm that was Zurhem’s SS19 show, held at the Intercontinental Dhaka.
The red carpet sparkled with the city’s glitterati, leading up to the grand ballroom, which had been transformed into a bustling intersection in Old Dhaka, with printed facades and shop signs, complete with the exposed bricks and peeling paint that gives the historic area its scrappy charm.
The show opened up to riotous cheering as Zurhem’s charismatic chairperson Saadat Chowdhury took the stage. He dropped a bulletin of all the exciting developments within the fashion house, namely their gorgeous new outlet in Banani, their exciting partnership with Ermenegildo Zegna, and the rollout of two new lines – their Executive line of work suits at corporate rates, and ZRM, their youth brand of casuals and party wear.
The cheers had hardly subsided when the lights dimmed and Mozart’s Requiem signaled the start of an epic presentation. And as the models began to pour out on to the stage, the hype didn’t disappoint. This season’s inspiration comes from rickshaw art and Andy Warhol. Mehruz Munir’s vision for the collection had the Warhol-esque juxtaposition of portraits and animals or objets d’art in bold neons, rendered by actual rickshaw painters in a style any Dhakaite is familiar with, in the killer silhouettes that have marked Zurhem’s rise and rise in the industry. Opening with a queue that had his face paired with a tiger motif was a bold choice, a cheeky sartorial salute, if you will. In lieu of a traditional runway, the models circulated around the audience, before taking up position in front of the storefront facades. The palette shifted, hemlines rose and fell, and everything from light summer trenches and resort wear to tuxes, capes and boleros had their turn around the room, showcasing the house’s range and versatility. Zurhem SS19 is a collection that is simultaneously cosmopolitan and nationalistic.
With the mannequins in place, the man himself, Zurhem’s Creative Director Mehruz Munir took a turn around the room to thunderous applause. The fashion show was followed by a light dinner and an after party.