The doors to The Magnum Party 2017 opened almost immediately on to a life-size mannequin, which was chocolate connoisseur and sculptor Paul Joachim’s masterpiece creation for the event. Moulded into a lehnga and a peplum-style outfit, it had Mughal emblems embossed into it, which although deceptively real, were made from chocolate alone. With the help of flares that spread outwards and arms elegantly poised mid-air like a ballerina – the dress appeared real. Paul Joachim’s mastery over his craft was apparent from the life-like disposition of the figure and his style from the elegant poise in a figure that created a lasting first impression. The mannequin was Joachim’s first creation that welcomed guests. There were others spaced on the stage. A massive chocolate egg and a Chinese fan, along with hand-made desserts were presented on stands on the stage. While talking exclusively to Daily Times, Joachim comes across as distinctly down to earth and speaks in a level tone, nothing perturbing or quickening his speech. He exudes calm confidence and replies courteously and thoughtfully to each question. Joachim says his first event with Magnum has been a wonderful experience. “Coming to Pakistan, we came with the idea of bridging cultures and differences. Chocolate is one of those things that can do that. Magnum was choosing chocolatiers from around the world, so the competition was tough you know, but luckily they got in touch with my business manager and now we’re here. Chocolate can transform, chocolate is the connection between cultures and chocolate is a way to reach out,” he said. Memorable words from a food artist who took the plunge to come to display his work in Pakistan! I asked whether he was able to bring some cultural aspects into his creations and he replied cheerfully, “Yes, I think we have a little bit of Pakistan in there.” Paul’s speed and versatility is the key to his success. It’s apparent in the diversity of his works. On the cultural relevance of Joachim’s creations, he explained how one of his creations a small rose shaped one was an attempt to add a bit of Pakistan and it’s flavours into his works. I told him I’d keep my eyes out for it. Lahoris responded with the appropriate fanfare as people were dressed in the latest trends and posed in front of the Magnum board. The event opened revealing Meesha Shafi, in a massive white outfit that was spotlighted with an amazing light display. She blasted out tunes of “Feeling good” by Nina Simone enthralling the audience. Joachim said it was a blessing to be at an event like the Magnum one in Pakistan. He worked in collaboration with Sharon Spradley, a cake designer originally from Australia but also from Florida where Joachim is based. The kitchen staff at Avari was witness to the creative process and said that the team was at work for the past five days to prepare for the show. Joachim and Sharon Spradley both were immensely happy and amazed with the experience of working in Pakistan. They defied stereotypes and experienced the country in a way they never thought they could. They said they loved interacting with everyone in Pakistan and were keen to come back again, if it wasn’t for their tight schedules. Leading Pakistani designers had their work displayed on the ramp. Kamiar Rokhni remarked, “It was a lot of fun to conceptualise an entire show and exciting to use technology with Meesha’s dress. The part that I really worked on was the body mapping on Meesha and I created that outfit, that huge one. So, it was very interesting to work with technology. The right fabric held the dress up.” Asked about the process, he said, “I was creative consultant and co-choreographer with Rehan Bashir, we put it together! It was great teamwork with J&S and Lotus PR and of course Unilever. They gave us a lot of lee way to do what we wanted to do.” Munib Nawaz had some interesting thoughts about the event and about the future of the industry with a partner like Magnum. He compared it to ‘Coke Studio’ for music saying, “For me it was a lot of fun doing this. I’m looking at this as a platform like Coke is for music, so if the brands come together and provide a platform for designers to do something interesting, I think the industry is going to go much further than it has, and at a much faster pace. It becomes a huge platform for designers. It’s like a catalytic kind of approach.” From the financial angle he commented, “It was beneficial to the designers for whom the event is an opportunity to showcase their pieces to a slightly different audience, and they don’t have to pay so much for it.” The Magnum Party 2017 was an event like no other of its kind in Lahore before. It was a massive break-through for the fashion industry here and for the audiences who got a chance to experience fashion in an entirely different way. The writer is assistant editor at Daily Times. She Tweets at @HumairaSaeed10 and can be reached at email@example.com Published in Daily Times, October 11th 2017.