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Fashion helps Flood Victims at Pakistan Embassy

A downpour may have dampened the coiffes and chic ensembles dashing toward the residence of the Pakistani Ambassador near Dupont Circle to launch Fashion for Pakistan Flood Relief. But it was barely noticeable compared to the deluge the Pakistanis have been through. Organized by Georgetown resident Shannon Grewer after she witnessed devastation firsthand after floods swallowed up entire cities last summer, the event was designed to help victims, raise awareness, and bring people together. Over seven million people in Pakistan are currently without adequate shelter or food and large parts of the country are still submerged underwater. Through a newly created program, the private sector in Pakistan and the UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs will coordinate funds to rebuild homes and provide basic agricultural supplies to displaced people. "We created Fashion for Pakistan Flood Relief to increase awareness in the US of the conditions in the flood-affected areas of Pakistan. By combining fashion with philanthropy we hope to share with you a different image of Pakistan." Ms. Farahnaz Ispahani, wife of the Ambassador and a member of the National Assembly of Pakistan greeted guests at the top of the stairs wearing one of the beautiful creations of the Pakistani designer Deepak Perwani and ushered them into the tent covering the garden. Ambassador Husain Haqqani pointed out that most disasters aren't covered by Anderson Cooper and CNN -- and Pakistan's current crisis is one of those disasters. As a result, most Americans are not aware of the extent of the devastation in Pakistan. The Ambassador then introduced the designer Deepak Perwani, who emphasized that Pakistan has much more culture to offer than many of us are aware of (including beautiful fashion). A slide show of intensely moving photos followed the comments and spotlighted the many faces of the flood victims. The red carpet, which had only hours before been mislaid at Dulles airport and rescued by Shannon's resourceful husband Jether Grewer moments before it was rolled out, then became the scene of the beautiful, flowing and fantastically colored and bejeweled dresses and tunics that the designer had brought from Pakistan for the occasion and soon to be available in this country. As one model after another strolled the carpet, the audience was captivated by the stunning beauty and unique nature of the designs. After the fashion show concluded the men retired to the cigar lounge and the women stormed the table where the tunics designed expressly for the event were for sale. What started as an organized table with neatly stacked piles of brightly colored tunics soon resembled the bargain bin at Filene's Basement as the corner of the room became an impromptu Loehman's dressing room and women tried the well-priced tunics on over their party dresses. The designer's staff dug valiantly through the piles for specific sizes and hurried back and forth replenishing the supply, which went quickly. For more information on programs to aid flood victims visit http://mjsf.net/floodrelief.php or www.fashionforpakistan.com.