Having written a glowing review of the Sitara launch, my expectations of the main Sitara showcase were high and so, to be perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure if they would be met. Sitara had set themselves a lot to live up to in their description of the show , promising an opportunity to ‘explore you own culture’ and in the process raising big questions surrounding the meaning of art. This was characteristically ambiguous and left much to be discovered in the course of the evening.
Saying this, as I donned my heels, I was confident that KALA would be a classy night. The showcase took place at Falside Mill, my current favourite events location due to the open-plan layout, and on ticket collection we were greeted with tote bags of goodies – which was a nice touch, as I am always looking for evidence of value for money when it comes to ticket prices. I am also pleased to say that the Sitara tote has now followed me all around Berlin and held up in admirable shape throughout reading week (and perhaps provided Sitara some free advertising).
Upon entering Falside Mill, the stage layout was an open rectangle as opposed to one straight runway. This was smart because it provided more space around the stage for everyone to watch, and meant more models could be on stage at once without it looking overcrowded. Again, this meant that no matter which corner you were at, there was always a model to watch.
When the show itself actually began, it became clear why the theme of the event had been kept relatively vague, since the range of clothing was extremely varied. Like in the launch, Sitara kept things interesting by jumping from streetwear to traditional dress to formal wear throughout the show. The models walked with confidence and ease, despite navigating tricky outfits, perfectly showcasing the designs. A particular mention has to go to the model who managed to strut gracefully, whilst flicking his sleeves to display the tassels hanging down from them!
It was a multi-coloured show, and I noticed a trend towards shades of pink and maroon with many red toned details scattered throughout the outfits. If anything, this highlights that despite the ambiguity of the show’s concept, much thought was put into its execution.
In general, Sitara excelled at what it always excels at – the blend of traditional cultural dress with more modern silhouettes and styles. Traditional fabrics were used on a-line two pieces, and flowy fabrics designed in cropped and sheer styles.
Saying this, there was a movement away from the traditional as Sitara seemed unafraid to play with the urban and trendy. There was a fair quantity of streetwear on display: one outfit set featured cargo trousers, lace up crop tops and sleeve-only jumpers, once again putting a twist on current trends. I was also a particular fan of the shapeless and highly patterned dresses that cropped up time and time again throughout the show. Many of the dresses featured colourful bubble cut-outs that were a striking detail, and it was nice to see Sitara choosing to mix in bold and modern designs.
Of course, the show featured the quintessential flirtatious lingerie walk – done by Sitara in a lightly playful way. Models ran up and down the stage high-fiving each other and laughing followed by a couples chair dance that really amped up the crowd and got everyone cheering. Personally, I enjoy when the model walks are more casual and seem more improvised in this manner, as it really engages the audience.
In the talent portion, Sitara once again stood out. The show was nicely dispersed with dancing that spanned from traditional to hip-hop genres. Yet a live rendition of Lana Del Rey’s ‘Young and Beautiful’ accompanied by elegantly corseted evening wear was a standout moment of KALA. It was smart to include live music within a show of backing tracks to keep the show varied.
Following the show, the afterparty rapidly got into full swing as the stage was pulled away to turn Falside Mill into an ample dancefloor. The music stayed firmly rooted in crowd-pleasing classics and everyone involved in Sitara quickly merged with the crowd and got immersed in the festivities. I talked in my review of the launch about what a strong community Sitara seemed to have that made the show enjoyable and, if anything, the Sitara team seemed even more tight-knit and supportive than before. Whilst the models had walked at times seriously to match the wonderful designs, they had also blended crowd interaction and casual interaction with each other into their walks to create an energy of a Sitara family.
Bearing this in mind, despite my initial dubiousness at Sitara’s ambitious mission to explore our own culture throughout the show, I would say this was achieved through the feeling of community Sitara managed to create during KALA. This was not a show of simply models displaying clothes for admiring onlookers, it was a show of interaction and involvement for everyone and this, after all, is what fashion should be all about.