Nicole Kidman stepped out in a fairytale Dior ball-gown made up of intricate coloured flowers and leaves looking beautiful at first glance. But it was when she turned to the side that the crowd gasped at her super sleek ponytail with a huge quiff. In a new twist on the season’s must-have hair trend, Nicole’s hairstyle was slicked back at the sides and pinned underneath her quiff – which was then pulled into a ponytail at the base of her neck.
Congratulations to Natasha Danish Monnoo and Ahsan Kamran on their haan.
The final day of PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week 2013’s Prèt Show was opened by designer Faiza Samee who showcased her Spring/Summer 2013 collection. Inspired from her voyage through the Central Asian landscapes and the old world romance of Czarist Russia, the collection’s prints were a translation of fusion between the ethnic Central Asian weaves and vintage Russian Chintz. The designer used light and luxurious fabrics coupled with a variety of textures and weaves in fresh spring colours. The collection included short to mid-length tunics, some cut on the bias along with loose comfortable pants all handmade (the label’s signature) to ensure luxury and quality. The designer’s collection was modern, youthful and possessed a lean silhouette, allowing today’s woman to build her own look by combining a series of separate pieces. Faiza Samee’s collections are always a lesson in quality and originality. We love it!
Photos courtesy of Faisal Farooqui at Dragonfly
INTERVIEW WITH FAIZA SAMEE
1.What inspired you this season?
I was inspired by a journey through Central Asia using the textiles and weaves as my starting point and the vintage chintz patterns evocative of Czarist Russia.
2. How would you sum up your collection in five words?
Luxurious. Effortless. Elegant. Fresh. Modern.
3.What has been your personal best fashion moment so far?
With a career spanning thirty years, there have been many highs like when I designed costumes for the V&A (Victoria and Albert Museum), or when I made Benazir Bhutto’s wedding outfit. But I live in the now and look to the future.
4.What is your biggest strength as a designer?
I love colour and I have a real affinity with it. I would say my strength lies in being able to handle print and colour together.
5.What are your favourite colors to work with and why?
They change every few months. I’m in love with a new palette each season. This season it’s shades of cobalt, rose and black and white.
6. What are your favourite fabrics to work with and why?
Pure fabrics (most of which we weave in-house) because I like to use the best possible materials to provide a premium quality product.
7.How would you define your personal style?
I’m a bohemian at heart yet there’s this other part of me that loves sophisticated elegance.
8. How would you define the style your new collection?
An edgy, lean silhouette. With a series of separates which can be combined to create an individual look. Short to mid length tunics, paired with loose flowing trousers allowing for ease of movement.
9. How would you define the style your line exemplifies?
I love reinventing myself and fashion gives me the perfect platform to do that.
10. Who is one of your favourite models to work with?
I enjoy working with quite a few- can’t single out any one in particular.
11.How would you define the fashion scene in Pakistan?
Vibrant and eclectic.
12.What is your favourite international design house?
I love Etro, because its classic yet very exciting.
13.What is your current state of mind?
Happy and at peace. Thankful to Allah that I am able to pursue my passion for creativity and design.
14.Where can readers find out more about you and your work?
Our website: http://www.faizasamee.com/
The influence of fashion bloggers has been increasing for the past few years. More and more bloggers in Pakistan and abroad are offered front row seats at fashion weeks and their opinions are taken seriously by the once exclusive fashion industry. Suzy Menkes was amongst the first of the mainstream fashion editors to reach out to bloggers and engage them as professionals. She says, “The world changed when fashion instead of being a monologue, became a conversation. And that’s never going to stop.” Before blogging, fashion editors of mainstream newspaper supplements and fashion magazines were the last word on designer collections, but now bloggers and tweeters comment of fashion shows as they happen often posting photos of collections right from the runway, making them accessible to a much wider audience and that too much much faster than before. We bring you a list of the best bloggers in Pakistan who tell us why they started blogging and what sets them apart from the others.
THE PIONEER- AMNA SALMAN, STYLE STRIPPED
THE OPINION MAKER- AAMNA HAIDER ISANI, SOMETHING HAUTE
Whether you belong to the Pakistani fashion industry or you merely follow it, you would know that Amna Haider Isani has some serious influence. She is very articulate, her analysis is almost always spot on and her opinion matters. She was the first fashion journalist who embraced blogging and in that way she stood out from the traditional print media journalists who used to be more influential before the advent of fashion blogging in Pakistan which brought with it speed and sassiness. She says, “I came into fashion journalism twelve years ago and have been writing/working for all major English publications since then. I started blogging a year ago because I’m an obsessive writer and not everything I want to write is publish-worthy. Blogs are the next best thing and I enjoy the speed between writing, publication and readers response. It’s also more gratifying because my readers already know and respect me because of my contributions to Dawn, The News, Herald and Hello!Pakistan. They take me seriously. Plus, although I write on fashion and lifestyle, I do take my beat very seriously and hate when it’s trivialized and made to look frothy and frivolous. Fashion is a multi-billion dollar industry world wide and we need to realize it’s potential in Pakistan too. It’s not just about ten seconds of fame on the runway or a photo op on the red carpet. Or a tweet or blog post,actually. These are just cherries on the very rich pie.”
THE TRENDIEST- ANBER JAVED, A WARDROBE AFFAIR
Anber Javed may be very new at this, but the blogger from Islamabad has the coolest layouts and an eye for the trendiest things. In such a short span of time she has been noticed by the usually unwelcoming fashion industry. She says, “A Wardrobe Affair existed in my head for quite some time before it actually manifested itself around March this year. It happened when I came across a picture of Meesha Shafi looking stunning in an outfit by Muse ; the thought of having a place to discuss and dissect fashion and the fashionable immediately clicked. Once it took off, I realized that I was in a niche that was relatively unexplored and had a lot of room for improvement with regards to the online fashion scene in our country. The concept of introducing a fun, inspiring and spontaneous Pakistani Fashion Blog where people can throw opinions, views and verdicts was just fabulous – especially when it stemmed from my passion for it. So I picked a corner and decided to call it Home 🙂 “.
THE AWARD WINNER- AMARA JAVED, PINK 2.55
Winner of the Best Fashion Blog at the Pakistan Blog Awards, Amara Javed covers both eastern and western fashion with equal passion. She says, “I started Pink 2.55 in 2010 after a few years of freelancing for various publications, I wanted to start a blog to get away from editorial restrictions and basically just write what I felt, when I felt like it. Blogging is like my soul-food, it has an almost cathartic effect on me. I love that I am able to basically speak my mind, albeit about fashion, in my own way. My blog is a mix of everything. I cover Eastern and Western fashion, if I like something from Korea or Russia – I’ll feature it. I do celeb style, style tips, products, launches – everything and anything. Recently I have started doing intimate interviews with some of the countries biggest designers and featuring some very fashionable, non-celeb Pakistani ladies. I also think people really like the way I write – concise, casual, witty.”
THE MOST INFORMATIVE- FAIZA LAKHANI AND MEHVISH KARIM, THE SECRET CLOSET
Faiza and Mehvish may be the newest, but their website and accompanying style blog is the most informative. Although the design of the website and amount of information on the homepage can sometimes be a little overwhelming, the duo from Karachi are doing a fantastic job at developing an emerging fashion portal that is definitely a welcome addition. They say, “Fashion is an art form, and like all art forms, it deserves to be portrayed aesthetically and tastefully. Further while public sharing of opinions is one aspect of social media, simply creating an awareness of all available avenues is another equally important one. It is this careful balance that Secret Closet strives to achieve.”
Secret Closet has never just been about its Style Blog. We are proud to consider ourselves as an emerging Fashion Portal. While our blog is at the heart of our website, we invest a lot of effort in managing an extensive directory that profiles over 140+ designers with their latest collections, events and news updates. As we move along, we plan on adding many more from the different cities of Pakistan. Nothing excites us more than discovering a new talent and we are always eager to bring them forward to our audience.
So Secret Closet was launched in June 2012 keeping in mind (i) great emphasis on ‘Curated Information’, (ii) introduction of fresh and emerging talent, (iii) showcasing of the prestigious names in our industry, (iv) production of interesting original content almost daily; all of these are mandates by which we want to run our portal. We consider our portal’s content to be written by consumers for the consumers and would love it if our audience would think of Secret Closet as their ‘happy online getaway’ for a little while each day.
The key going forward will be in all bloggers respecting each other’s efforts, sharing acknowledgements and discovering their own niche, coming up with unique content and evolving their own style of writing.
THE ONE WITH THE MOST POTENTIAL, BEAUTY FRUITY BLURBS
Alyzeh Rahim is young, beautiful and brimming with energy and great ideas (the Labels blogfest was her idea) Although her blog is less structured than the others mentioned above and more of a personal diary/fashion through her eyes, it has the potential to become just as big. She says, “My love affair with fashion dates back to my childhood days, I certainly did not feel like the most fashionable kid back then with my oversized glasses but I always incorporated my own style into my outfits. I’d knit bags and revamp clothes. I had an eye and appreciation for beauty and fashion. Since then, fashion has become a part of my DNA.
I have been observing fashion blogs for a while now, and always had this thought in mind that when I would come to Pakistan, one of the things I would do here would be to start blogging actively. I bought my domain in my last year of university with this intent. I started blogging early 2012. My blog has a personalised touch to it, and that’s what differentiates it from other blogs locally. I post outfit pictures on a regular basis to share my personal style. I also observe trends and fashion campaigns that stand out. My blog is young, fresh, fun yet glam – and that is what I hope to communicate through my posts. I do think it is amazing that the blogging scene is growing so rapidly here, and that the people are recognising the importance of bloggers. Fashion is fast, and so is social media, to report things one needs to be quick and print publications take slightly longer, so bloggers are the gray area I feel. It is good fun to observe all the local bloggers different styles and everyone is doing so brilliantly and covering such interesting aspects of fashion with their respective blogs.”
It’s been almost three months since the LABELS e-Store (www.labelsestore.com) was launched and in that time, orders have been flowing in from around the world and outfits have been flying off the racks. For many Pakistani women abroad who have to take costly trips to their homeland to keep up with the latest fashion (especially in evening wear and bridals) the LABELS e-Store sure beats going for shopping in the heat, putting up with traffic and the maddening crowds that accompany such shopping excursions!
While some of the other multi-brand stores took their franchises to Dubai in the recent past, LABELS (already having done that a couple of years ago) went on to take the next step and yet again, set the bar high with opening up an e-store catering to a global audience – with the ease of a click.
The pioneer of multi-brands store in Pakistan, Zahir Rahimtoola (Founder and CEO of LABELS) partnered up with tech wizard Ather Ul Islam to design a website that caters to women across the world with an appetite for fashion and suitably addresses any concerns with regards to sizes, fabric/embellishment details and collections.
Zahir answered a few questions for Style on Paper to let our audience know more about this easy and convenient way to shop for ready-to-wear and bridal wear:
How many designers does the Labels e-Store house?
Presently, we have 43 designers online at our e-store. However, we are continuing to add more every few days. Very shortly, we will be adding footwear by Samia & Azmay Shahzada and handbags by Fashion Compassion.
What would you state as the best features of the e-store?
Pakistan, unlike most countries, doesn’t have a transient population and is largely dependent upon the local populous to support retail buying. The e-store being accessible worldwide reaches out to the missing transient factor and helps fuel sales.
Where do the majority of orders come from?
USA, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Norway, etc.
Which designers do your international customers tend to go for?
Sania Maskatiya, Elan by Khadija Shah, Nomi Ansari, Ayesha Khurram, Ayesha F. Hashwani, LABELS.
What are the attraction factors for local customers to order from the e-store?
This is an area that excites us the most; we are located in Phase 5 DHA, Karachi. Surprisingly a lot of our local sales come from the Clifton/ DHA area which is where we are located. An interesting factor is that most of the local buying takes place late in the evening. Hence, it is the convenience and ease of shopping that is driving the buyer to the e-store.
When ordering from abroad, size and fitting can be an issue. How do you address this?
Standardisation of size is a very big issue in Pakistan as no two designers have a similar spec. Hence, every outfit that is uploaded on to our website is first measured for the actual measurements and the same is posted alongside the image of the garment. Thereby, a customer can check their own measurements against the stated measurements. I may mention here that we do offer alteration services so that a customer gets a perfect fit.
There is a button for Live Chat on the e-store website. What function does it serve?
The Live Chat plays a pivotal role with the customer service. Since the customer can’t physically feel and touch the garment there are a lot of questions that are asked. Thereby a customer is assured that the outfit they are buying matches their requirements. Also some customers have specific requirements, which are taken care of through our customer services department.
You are about to launch the bridal wear section of the e-store. Tell us more about this.
Every fourth inquiry that we receive is either for bridal wear or custom-made orders. Buying of bridal wear is a very personal process. Hence, we are making this section as interactive as possible so that an international customer can order bridal wear with full confidence that what they order is what they get. In the case of bridal wear, we are working very closely with the designers to ensure the satisfaction of the customer and making the bride-to-be a very happy bride!
Zahir adds further:
“I have always enjoyed in developing new products, breaking out of the pack and taking risks. In recent years, I had a gut feeling that e-commerce was the root to expand the business of fashion beyond the frontiers of Pakistan. Moreover, in the recent past, we have seen a phenomenal rise in the use of social media. This emboldened me to fast track my thought as I had been mulling over the idea of opening the e-store for the past two years. I was very lucky to have met Ather Ul Islam, a brilliant young techie who developed the software in sync with our requirements. The results of which are for all to see. Ather is my technical partner in the e-store business and his contribution is huge in developing a truly world-class, comprehensive fashion portal.”