Muhammad Asad Ullah was at hand to see the grand celebration of the Pakistani fashion industry at the Hum Style Awards 2017 An awards show is always the best place to view a wide range of entertainment, and the HUM Style Awards 2017 hosted by the trio of Saba Qamar, Farhan Saeed and Ali Kazmi in cosmopolitan Karachi was no exception. The Awards are here to stay thanks to the dominance of the corporate giants and Pakistan entertainment industry carving a scintillating style and fashion niche. The best of Karachi and Lahore, Pakistan’s fashion power centres, were pitched at the same platform, and the atmosphere was electric. Where the perceptive Khadija Rehman of Generation (Best Retail) takes the brand to a level of sophistication personified and top-notch quality that makes her designs worth it, it is the indomitable craftsmanship of Zaheer Abbass (Designer of the Year Demi Couture) that enables him to impose himself in the interminable list of designers existing nationwide. Fashion trends and power packed performances swarm international award shows, including Bollywood, but the Pakistan fare now has its own signature allure. One witnessed drama, spot on choreography and sizzling performances — choreographed by Ilona Bekier. The script did falter at times featuring tasteless jokes; but in hindsight, it was much calmer and level headed compared to the fare previously. It’s always the opening and closing acts that drive the endurance for an entire show ending post-midnight and Saba Qamar opened the night with a performance putting forward her brutally honest account of how to be a star in Pakistan. This she did by putting on different masks with a recap of the past year following an Urdu version of Nancy Sinatra’s classic Bang Bang. It’s commendable for Saba, who recently stole the show in her Bollywood debut Hindi Medium, to have such a handle on what she wants to do — she always creates a parallel world on-screen and an award show is always made brighter by it. Syra Yusuf and Asim Azhar shaking a leg together on Punjabi beat, and then, Ahsan Khan’s conquest of the dance floor was a lot of fun; he always knows what he’s doing and does it well. With item songs trending in the Pakistan film industry lately, Sadaf Kanwal has already made headlines with Kaif o Saroor in Na Maloom Afraad 2 and earning Most Stylish Female Model Award was a cinch. This girl can pull off anything effortlessly; she paired a plain sexy off shoulder saree with a sleek bun for the red carpet and raised the bar of red carpet looks. Where Sadaf was game for the prize, we may just have to hand the award for Most Stylish Model Male to Hasnain Lehri for all the campaigns and appearances he has been giving lately. Having said that, Salman Riaz winning the award in the male category did raise eyebrows. Meanwhile the Pakistani lawn industry is booming more than ever and every other designer coming up with a special luxe lawn collection is evidence, but Sana Safinaz has taken the lead. No-one puts an effort like the duo does in their quality, fabrics or their campaigns. Although they gave up on lawn exhibitions a while ago after traffic jams and never before witnessed stampedes at venues around Pakistan, but still long queues at their flagship stores nationwide reveals the power of the brand. There’s a sharp crescent of change in men’s wear with florid bursts of colour without compromising on one thing that menswear is truly about: cuts. Where Republic by Omer Farooq (last year’s winner) has established itself as the go-to designer for everyday and formal wear, it’s Ismail Farid that has quite a good hand for suits, doing tremendously well for the quirky elements and seeing him walk away with the trophy wasn’t surprising at all. Best Emerging Talent is the most fun category, looking out for the younger crowd and encouraging them to set a milestone, spicing up the fashion industry. This was bagged by Saheefa Jabbar, breakout star of the year – the boy cut model, who, set the ramp and billboards on fire with her sexy appeal and looks. Her bridals have been weaving their usual magic spell, not because they’re sharp but her excellent fabric. Her painstakingly intricate detailing in crystals, pearls and sequins, her lehengas have been a good bet to win. And yes, Shehla Chatoor. Bagging the award for Designer of the Year – Bridal is no surprise. The Outstanding Achievement Brand Development Award was presented to Shamoon Sultan for Khaadi. The most stylish film actor male and female awards were bagged by Osman Khalid Butt and Sanam Saeed, respectively. Ayesha Omer grabbed the statuette for the Most Stylish Actor Female – Television; Feroze Khan for the Male category; and pop star Atif Aslam the coveted Style Icon 2017. Another episode of acknowledging the fashion and entertainment industry ended on a high note with celebrities in attendance appearing on the stage together for a performance. But Mahira Khan was much missed.
On commercial airlines today, travelling in economy is a pain, while the wealthy are well looked after in first class. But for the ultrawealthy, there’s a whole other level available. For China’s “Golden Week” holiday at the beginning of October, a group of rich Asians will take off from Hong Kong on a lavishly appointed Boeing 777 for a nine-day tour with stops at luxury hotels in Nairobi, Kenya and Tahiti. The cost is $45,000 per person. On Tuesday, that 777 was handed over to Crystal Air Cruises in a ceremony at Boeing Field. It features a large cocktail-bar area, with seating for 24 guests to mix socially. To pass the time on a long flight, the tabletops in the bar can be inverted to offer video games or gaming. A typical 777-200LR airliner like this one normally carries slightly more than 300 passengers, but aft of the bar on this jet is a passenger cabin with just 88 first-class, lie-flat seats. After it was built in Boeing’s Everett factory, the plane spent two years at Moses Lake, where the customised interior – mostly white, with stone veneer and marble accents – designed by Greenpoint Technologies of Kirkland was installed under contract by a team from Aviation Technical Services, the Everett-based airplane maintenance company. Accepting delivery of the jet was Edie Rodriguez, the chief executive at Crystal Cruises. Now owned by Chinese cruise and resort holding company Genting Hong Kong, Crystal’s high-end travel offerings include ocean cruises, river cruises, yacht expeditions and now air charters. Rodriguez touted the jet as “the most luxuriously appointed aircraft in the private aircraft industry.” Guests are cosseted by a crew of 20, including a dozen mostly young women whom Rodriguez insisted on calling butlers – “not flight attendants.” Rodriguez took every opportunity to promote the Crystal name and its connotation of wealth and luxury. “It’s my great Crystal pleasure,” she declared in a brief speech accepting the airplane. She said the 777 augments Crystal’s exceptional “lifestyle and hospitality brand portfolio.” Explaining the business model behind the purchase of the luxury jet, Rodriguez said that initially Crystal intended to treat it like a cruise ship in the air, planning high-end itineraries and selling seats individually. But the company discovered that though their target market, “the top 2 percent of the world’s wealthiest,” could afford such air cruises, they are too time-strapped to slot easily into a preset schedule. So Crystal switched gears to offer the jet instead as a private charter. Rodriguez said one couple have just chartered the 777 for their anniversary, along with “one of our floating assets.” A yacht? A river-cruise boat? She declined to elaborate further, saying her clients insist upon privacy. She disclosed only that the couple’s plan is “to take their guests on a custom-curated experience around the world.” It’s also possible to just charter the plane on a private flight from city to city. Rodriguez said such a one-way flight from New York to Paris would cost $375,000, or just about $4,300 per person with all 88 seats filled. Next month, the Vancouver Canucks National Hockey League team has chartered the plane for its trip to China, where the team plays the L.A. Kings in a couple of preseason exhibition games in Shanghai and Beijing. “The world is getting wealthier by the minute,” Rodriguez said, citing data that China has “more than a million millionaires and more than 400 billionaires.” And, boosting the private charter model, “a lot of the wealthy like to travel with, in quotes, people like them,” she said. Crystal Air bought a 787 Dreamliner as well as the 777. But it decided that the smaller plane doesn’t suit its needs and is trying to sell it. So what’s the likelihood of further Boeing orders later, perhaps a second 777? Rodriguez said demand is already strong for Crystal Air. “I’m a bullish, betting woman,” said Rodriguez. “I’d say, most likely yes.” The plane will be operated for Crystal by Comlux, a private air-charter company with operating certificates from Malta, Aruba and Kazakhstan. The 777 will be based in Victorville, Calif., when in North America; in Malta when it’s in Europe; and in various bases in Asia. The crew has been gathered mostly from the world’s high-end airlines. One Austrian pilot previously flew 777s for Emirates. The South African executive chef was poached from Etihad. But at least one flight attendant – or butler – has seriously elevated her career. American Priscilla Martinez came to Crystal from Spirit Airlines, the Florida-based ultra-low-cost carrier that offers absolutely no frills and provides the most frugal flying experience in North America. Martinez said she loves flying and appreciated her start at Spirit but is happy now to add a “customer service” dimension to her job. Crystal’s operation is customer service at a level Spirit passengers may barely imagine. – TNS
Step into the blue this season with Cath Kidston’s AW17 preview home collection. You’ll find Inky Spot, a gentle spot print, and Meadow field Birds in an on trend blue hue on pieces including tea towels, oven gloves and aprons. Blossom Vases is another brand new Cath Kidston design, which was inspired by collections of Dutch Delftware and traditional British willow pattern china. This print shows hand-painted Chinese vases, filled with Cath Kidston’s signature peony blooms and blossoms. Ideal for those looking to make a style statement in the home, this intricate print is available on soft furnishings and mugs.
Fashion weeks need to look, breathe and feel style with a sharp and cutting edge appeal to semblance of design and distinctive signature and the fourth edition of Arab Fashion Week 2017 was an affair for scintillating fashion. The catwalk stood resplendent amidst the groovy music. There were those who wowed and those who didn’t, one witnessed fashion drama, perfect ready couture, the inevitable luxurious metaphor and the sporadic collections which cannot be epithet as couture. With fashion weeks galore nipping at our heels the dream of having seasonal trends in fashion seems to have been realised. Community lays down the top 10 collections that went on the runway of Arab Fashion Week 2017, designers, bigwigs, and new comers alike, once again giving the look their stamp of approval with their unique iterations of the style. LaQuan Smith When it comes to celebrity appeal and what we’ve seen on and off at the red carpet, sported by Kim Kardeshian, Beyonce or Jennifer Lopez, its Smith’s Signature style, whose sheer quirky collection yet again made all the fashionistas sit up and take notice. Featuring deadly black PVC Catsuits, Python Knits, Over-the-Knee Boots, Corset Pant and Puffer Boots, critics defined it as an “unapologetically glamorous” and this black dress by LaQuan that looks as comfy as a tanktop at the top billows out into a sleek corseted dress worthy of any red carpet. Va. Va. Voom! Aiisha Ramadan The Resort 18 Collection, featuring 48 looks in the palette of deep blue, white and red – with crystals and delicate embroidery work; the chic appealing looks, all too perfectly detailed was a winner in our warm climes. Her collection was the perfect summery interpretation, nonchalant way more than anything too constructed or trite. It’s sunny, pretty and feminine and completely in keeping with Aiisha’s collection that was inspired by the beach babe. Michael Cinco Aishwarya Rai Bachan was recently spotted wearing the voluminous silhouette by Michael Cinco at Cannes Film Festival 2017, and Cinco’s showcase was just an extension to the beautifully constructed gowns in 50 shades of blue, gold and cream. The Swarovski crystals and complicated embroideries enhanced his regal collection inspired by the Indian heritage as the models sashayed down the pizzazz runway. This collection was completely different, obtruding among the litany of designers who showcased at the fourth affair of Arab Fashion Week in a more austere vein than crazy, luxury and blingy, but hey you’ve got to love the versatility! The dresses that set the fashion world’s pulse racing. Laura Mancini Laura’s collection featured the cutting edge luxe ethereal evening gowns and exquisite capes paying an ode to Maria Callas (the most renowned and influential opera singers of 20th century). This was sexy, high fashion designer wear! Pastel Pink dominated the collection with embellishment in gold. The silhouette was spot on, sexy backs fitted the contours of the body properly and dresses flowed exactly as they should. Laura Mancini, this Italian gal knows what she is doing and does it well. Kristina Fidelskaya One of Dubai’s hottest Russian designers Kristina Fidelskaya, presented her eclectic and tasteful collection in pastel hues but with the easy breeze to each feminine gown exquisitely constructed with the most intriguing construction in chiffon — retaining a sense of modernity and simplicity through the use of monochrome colors and light fabrics. The off-shoulder look was spotted in many ways, in the traditional style of one long and one bare arm and as a peek a boo slit. The trend works best for summer evenings or at a port under a warm sun and sandy beaches — it was evident how Kristina always has fun delivering the goods! Marchesa It was playful and relaxed yet daring and sporty taking over the runway as finale on the opening day of the fashion week with an elegant selection of evening wear including floor-grazing gowns awestricken with three-dimensional floral appliques, layers of tulle, long beaded fringe and incredible embellishments, it was all about luxe! It was signature Marchesa but with a burst of colour and on a night where most designers would prove to be least impressive, it was by far the most well done collection. The gowns to die for! Antonio Marras Blue here, Magenta there, silver here and yellow there paired with the black brocade; Antonio featured his men and women’s wear collection with overcoats, skirts enriched by floral brooches, embroideries and lace dresses with the Midas touch accompanied by men’s suits with ruffles shirts and sartorial details. Gotta love the grey self-check suit in this monochromatic ensemble! Bruno Caruso This Italian Fashion House presented the palatial evening wear sophisticated and bellowing the Italian signature featuring hand embossed flowers with Swarovski applications and feathered sleeves dominating the runway. High fashion moment, sexy backs, well framed glitzy earrings, the vertiginous heels, arms toting handbags, the designer clutches, big business and glitterati in the real sense of the world. Bruno’s showcase was a step ahead from the chiffon organza and just glittery accents seen on the runway at home. Ingie Chalhoub Inspired by the union of Arab tradition and Parisian chic, the collection featured romantic silhouettes with a touch of late 70s sophistication as models elegantly strolled on the runway in floor-length skirts, silk shirts with oversized bows, floral jacquard dresses with ruffled details and metallic evening gowns. It was a collection at the final day of the fashion week that received a resounding applause from the audience for its instant appeal. In a society and fashion steeped in every gathering, creations like Ingie Chalhoub will always be en vogue. That said, while there was nothing that hadn’t been done before, the clothes were very well made at least. Rad Hourani True to his aesthetic, his Dubai show was conceptually complex but structurally clean: square necklines, skirts layered over pants, and matte black shades in sharp contrast against uncoiffed hair. His unisex appeal to the clothes was palpably infusing the two anatomies and creating one neutral unisex pattern in spades of grey and black. Nothing else needed to complete the look. Fashion doesn’t get cleaner than this.
The Pakistan Sunsilk Fashion Week shows have been a showcase of creativity and optimism, shaping people who are destined to shape the Pakistan fashion industry. Fighting melancholy with a flicker is a Lahore thing. Although Lahore has been facing major security crises lately, changing dates for Pakistan Sunsilk Fashion Week 2017 twice, PSFW17 dealt with optimism, defiance against the gloom this season. Rather than seething in dark hues, the designers lashing their collections with bold silhouettes and pastels with wild flight of bright pigments as the models walked down the pizzazz runway. Where PSFW17 ended with a feminine appeal to the clothes dominating organza and silk; here’s a rundown to the Top 6 collection which went down the fashion aisle – in the sequence of the three days of fashion. Sania Maskatiya presents Sania Studio Sania presented a line of sumptuous prints that is her signature. Where her strength lies in how she doesn’t go completely western; her summer jackets, high waist jumpsuits and those bold silhouettes with floral patterns in crimson, beige and some serious blues, the sharply tailored pieces are a winner in our warm climes. Sapphire – Totem Well most of the people who have a presence on social media still remember the video of two women involved in a lunatic jousting, to stipulate – Yes! That was a lawn war at Sapphire’s store. This coveted high street brand lead by the quick-witted Khadija Shah – who has quite a good eye for what’s heading in the fashion business; featured a crazy fun or sophistication personified endearing spirit animals in daring black and khaki featuring the off shoulder tops and flared pants, the quality which makes her clothes worth it. Khaadi Khaas And variety was what the king of high street showed at the final day of PSFW17. Shamoon Sultan may not come out to take a bow, he never does, but his brand Khaadi Khaas was obtruding for putting out a fantastic cohesive collection of flowing silhouettes, a lot of red paisley with rich fabric and shimmering gold borders – the modern twist to the cuts of vibrant hues, their clothes are for everyone and Khaadi Khaas is here to stay and is very welcome! Asifa & Nabeel – A Silent Opera It won’t be erroneous to say for the duo Asifa and Nabeel it was a collection of successfully stepping out of their comfort zone featuring perfectly structured ruffles in organza and silk – the sharp cuts in pastels dominating the runway. The embellishments and details had the wow factor in spades. Republic by Omar Farooq He showcased, he conquered – but that’s what he usually does, because he’s capable of upstaging the mantra of menswear even if not his signature sedate collection. He brought his Paradox, taking inspiration from Japanese work–play balance using cotton, denim and a variety of silks to create structured silhouettes in primitive colours of black white and grey. He always knows how to translate well to retail and if you intend making a statement, his pieces will make you stand out all right. Ali Xeeshan Hues here and hues there, the colourful collection featuring shimmering gota ghararas and rich floral embroidery was a victory! Ali enhances the practicality of his dresses with the tiny hidden details that are flaunted on the runway as models sashay down the ramp. He pushes way to well the elegance trend with its easy structured designs, with sharp cuts and leave enough room to breathe easy in this dire summer.
Slouchy and chic are no longer polar opposites on the style scale. Designers have combined the two to create a balanced look that is effortlessly chic – carefree and elegant at the same time. On the runway of Fashion Pakistan Week 2017 (FPW), designers, panjandrums and newcomers alike once again gave the look their stamp of approval with their unique iterations of the style. Living legends just don’t go out of style. Frieha Altaf pulled it off with aplomb. It was definitely more orderly and why not – it was councils 10th anniversary celebration. Choreography by Frieha, PR by Take II and organised by Karachi Fashion Council, the FPW was the trailer of what’s coming next – the retail revolution that will propel the business of fashion forward. One always finds fashion weeks in Karachi more relaxing than the ones in Lahore. It’s the uncanny vibe of the place. Well, fashion has historically been a tale of two cities in Pakistan – Karachi and Lahore, and there has been intense competition between the two. From the glory days of the style mafia in Pakistan and the tension between the designers who supported either/or, fashion has clearly established two centres in Pakistan – one in Karachi, which has been historically, and the other in Lahore. Yes, Pakistani fashion began in Karachi and how they love to throw it in Lahore’s face. The Day 1 of FPW was a day of meagre highs and many lows. The skilled Ayesha Farook Hashwani opened the show with her La Plage collection, which was a deft display of bold embellishments, vibrant hues of sky, marine and sun. She was the only designer who lived up to her label’s puffery, since its always exciting making a comeback on the runway after years. If there’s one designer who went out celebrating the summer in this fashion season, it’s Ayesha, whose bold silk prints and myriad of cuts against bright hues screamed summer, rather than whispering softly like the pastel pieces by other designers on the ramp. From her cocktail dresses to pants and tunics, all popped with the interplay of vivid colour and design. Zaheer Abbass’s blue sari on Sana Javed was a treat – he added his candy eyes and aesthetics to the wardrobes, and kudus for it boy! The other designer who outshined the fickle fashion business was Tooba Chottani. She’s Zainab Chottani’s kinswoman and it would seem the ingenuity with finesse runs in the family. A dash of the unexpected was added to every conventional sartorial style – sheer skirts underneath oversized cape jackets with a mix of prints, and surprising detailing created an otherworldly vision unlike other designers showcasing on Day 1. And now the disappointment starts. Arsalan Iqbal’s collection offered hardly anything new in the tones of brown, black and grey. Humayun Alamgir featuring Ayaash with severe sequined and blingy brocade jackets were horrendous. Doing nothing for his clothes, nothing for the audience and nothing for the fashion week, Nauman Arfeen’s collection was in the line for disappointment. With luxe being the order of the day, the weakest collection to look at on Day 1 of FPW was Nauman Arfeen. The outfits, while way better than most showed that day, just did not have “it”. Nauman Arfeen’s Wild Wild Vest was way out of time-space paradigm, his collection failed to come up to the bar he has set for himself. Our only guess is that as one of the members of FP, he was too busy with the week to get down to designing. Fashion weeks are an exhausting business for anyone involved enough to be working full time on them. Behind the plethora of pictures, red carpet razzmatazz and general all round brouhaha, is hours, days, months of work and a ton of blood, sweat and tears. The pioneers, fashion superstars, debut makers, luxury kings and queens and ready-to-wear gurus were all spot on on Day 2 of Fashion Pakistan Week 2017. This is what ideally every day at every fashion week should be like. How exciting it is to witness a young gun backed up with a killer collection. Nida Azwer opened the day with all white, beige and grey ghararas, saris, dupatas and ajkans paired in the exquisite organza and silk featuring the traditional Sindhi embroideries of mirror work, bead work, rilli craft and Hurmich. It was a fabulously chic and clean collection by a designer who loves fashion. This is exactly what happens when a textile designer takes over the ramp. Under the British Council mentorship programme for local designers, Fashion DNA featured capsule collections by Zuria Dor, The Pink Tree Company, Jeem, Sonya Battla, Munib Nawaz and Gulabo. Nazia Hassan’s song in the background outshined The Pink Tree Company’s collection of emerald, greens, sun kissed orange and the turquoise silks. The comfortable and smart off shoulder shirts and pants for women teamed with shorts and cargos by Sonya Batla were perfect to show where the fashion scene in Pakistan is heading to. The other fashion house that is all set to rock this season, like always, is Gulabo by Maheen Khan. Her statement signature and floral prints was a quintessential inspiration of the hippie movement of 60s and 70s. Maheen once again wowed with a proper ‘show’ in every sense of the word with a very impressive fashion week collection. The designer brought her feminine, quirky floral aesthetic to clothes that should fly off the shelves from her many stores. Easy slip dresses that could double as tunics, pants, crop tops, it was a winner! From DNA showcase, well what we couldn’t understand was Munib Nawaz’s collection, those stitching out of place with gruesome fittings. Now only if he would get his act together and think finishing with attention to detail, he would be well on his way. Deepak Perwani, the rousing man of fashion, made a strong come-back after his previous Fix It collection with well-made clothes and a zany style aesthetic. With minimal embellishment, lace, crystals and shades of blue waters and morning sky, his dresses are to die for and the man knows how to create the most well-fitted pants. We loved the crazy ones on Mehreen Syed, teamed with a simple lace off shoulder top! The day belonged to Deepak Perwani for the blue suits he made his boys run with on the ramp, the colour of beech to the ramp via a series of delicious pieces. The Fashion Pakistan Council celebrated its 10 years in style with the most renowned fashion designers of Pakistan sharing the ramp, showcasing their masterpieces through an exclusive 10 year celebration grand finale featuring the collections by HSY, Bunto Kazmi, Sana Safinaz, Amir Adnan, Shamaeel Ansari, Umar Sayeed, Maheen Khan and Nomi Ansari. Although we’ve seen all the collections showcased at finale before at different fashion weeks but it, without much ado, was patently overwhelming to see the faces of Pakistan Fashion Industry together. There could not have been a better finale than this to the most fashionable day of Fashion Pakistan Week 2017.
Showcasing an artistic expression of a woman who is “eccentric and elaborate”, the world-renowned fashion designer, Monique Lhuillier came to town recently with her first fashion show followed by a trunk show of her Fall 2016 collection at Fifty One East store in Lagoona Mall. One of the foremost luxurious brands in the United States, Monique Lhuillier is an icon in the fashion industry famous for her bridal, ready-to-wear dresses and accessories. The Filipino-American designer has dressed celebrities such as Emma Stone, Blake Lively, Sandra Bullock, Anna Kendrick, Taylor Swift, Reese Witherspoon, Drew Barrymore, Jessica Alba, Kristen Bell and the First Lady Michelle Obama among others. “While remaining sophisticated and ultra-luxurious the collection takes cues from actress and style icon, Talitha Getty. Guests were able to see a rich colour palette and textures of cherry, teal blue, rose pink and basil contrasted by caramel and dark amber tones,” Lhuillier told Community in an interview while elaborating on her Fall 2016 collection. “Because the collection is a nod to early 1970s muses, fanciful prints are aplenty, including metallic tapestry lame, paisley printed jacquard and watercolour roses,” says the designer. Dresses in the ready-to-wear collection, she adds, are elegant to the limit of being luxurious yet comfortable with fabrics such as guipure lace, to blend dark colours with lacquer floral embellishment. The footwear collection includes high-heeled ornate floral caged sandals that make a statement when worn with crystal socks and evening sandals accessorised with mink details, giving the Monique Lhuillier woman playful and whimsical options, no matter the occasion. “My collection is made at my atelier in Los Angeles and because we produce everything in-house it allows us to use the highest quality fabrics and to oversee everything from start to finish,” says the designer. Speaking about achieving a harmony between bright colours and embroidery, Lhuillier says it is all about balance. Adding floral details and intricate embroidery to simple silhouettes while more architectural daywear looks are created with bold colours and clean lines. “I think women want to be more playful with fashion and feel more individualistic when putting looks together,” says the designer. Lhuillier believes she always had a natural inclination for clothing and the fantasy of special occasions, especially weddings, which have always inspired her. Her first source of style inspiration was her mother who sparked her interest in fashion. She then moved to Los Angeles to attend Fashion Institute for Design and Merchandising. After graduating, when it was time to plan her own wedding, she was looking for a wedding dress that felt timeless and romantic, with a modern twist. The selection proved to be limited and the whole process was far from easy. “I realised there was a void in the marketplace I could fill. A year later in 1996, I debuted my first bridal collection to a few retailers and magazine editors. Now, 20 years later, we have expanded into ready-to-wear, tabletop, accessories, fine jewellery, fine paper stationery and have many exciting collaborations to come,” reveals Lhuillier. “I am lucky to be able to go to work and do what I love every day. It is amazing to see my designs come to life on the runway, and even more amazing to see them worn by real women, whether they are wearing them day-to-day or for their most special days,” says the designer. Lhuillier says she is always looking to expand, especially in Qatar, she intends to dress the woman earlier in the day for her whole lifestyle. She is featuring daywear separates and more and more special day dresses. Her retail partner Fifty One is opening a free-standing accessories store which is an opportunity to showcase more of Monique Lhuillier shoe and handbag collections. She has recently just launched sunwear and is now working on “some more exciting new projects on the horizon” that she is set to announce very soon. Monique Lhuillier designs capture the essence of sophisticated luxury by provoking femininity, allure and glamour that have made her renowned in the world of design. Monique’s innate sense of style is prevalent throughout her ready-to-wear, accessories and bridal collections. The designer appreciates that luxury can be whimsical and playful, allowing the brand to become a destination for women who understand the art of fashion. Her craft and techniques defy the conventions of day versus evening dressing.
A rousing fashion week from Karachi this season it was, in one way or another — about ardour through originality. The sturdy, clear-cut voices that obtruded in the melee of shows were from designers who dared to be themselves and thus offered clarity with choices. Bridal Couture Week holds the reputation of being the most hip and happening affair of bridal bedecking trends and doing extremely well commercially for the designers. Choreographed by Ketan Bhatia from New Delhi with PR by Body Beats and HUM PR, Bridal Couture Week(BCW)-Gold Edition was organised by HUM Network. Every fashion week needs a neoteric and Fahad Hussayn pulled that off on Day 1, playing with a lot of vivid maroon, yellow and blue. Fahad caters to the mass appeal and knows how to put on a show. He flaunted extraordinary ghararas and sherwanis swathed gotta, chatta — patti and zardozi — work. Some of it was really nice, others were a miss. Mansoor Akram and Erum Khan showcased their fine bridals featuring long dresses and lehnga chollis. Where the former brought white-on-white collection on ramp, highlighting the idea of purity of marriage with gotta work and silver wire, Erum Khan was a mesh of East meets West in the hues of tea pink, green, grey and beige paired with floral printed silk and matte off-white sherwanis, (which was all about jewel toned, luxe clothes with a boho feel to them!) In a time where the fashion industry is visualising the future — how do we present clothing and what’s next? — it helps to see a designer who’s already here. Mohsin Naveed Ranjha (MNR) showed one of the most luring collection under his brand to date, filled with pieces in a palette of copper and brown. Although her showstopper Humaima Malick’s duppata seemed to be inspired by Republic Women’s Wear pieces (the one Sadaf Kanwal wore last year at PLBW), Rubya Chaudhry’s look with the bindi on that forehead was so strong that one felt that that was the train of thought he could have carried on with. But then MNR is MNR. While Tabbasum Mughal keeps herself in the headlines with her designer tantrums and mistreatment of clients, it won’t be erroneous to call her latest lawn collection an eastern duplication of Dolce and Gabbana’s Rose Collection (awkward!). Lehngas, shararas and fishtail gowns embellished with roses in blues and maroons in silk and net weren’t something to look forward from the designer. Games of Thrones is a famous series worldwide, but its inspiration on the ramp wasn’t something understandable. The ‘GOT’ soundtrack and spiked Viking-inspired hairdos faded the serious business of fashion. Lights, camera, action … and television; the power of small screen is undeniable, giving BCW a great commercial appeal, whilst offering little value for thoroughbred fashion enthusiasts. It won’t go down as the best of Bridal Couture Weeks. Business is tough and designers are exhausted. Where Day 1 line-up failed to impress, Day 2 got BCW’s groove back with a breath of fresh air and bright spots. Designers Neeta Lulla and Tarun Tahiliani for London’s leading multi-brand store Bibi London opened the show with Ethnic Indian Wears in pinks and oranges, whisking vintage and contemporary designs. Deepak & Fahad showed what masters of design they are, giving prominence to regal pure zari and zardozi bridals. They opened with Rubya Chaudhry in a sexy one red piece (let’s call it a hot gown) that fully embraced traditional grandeur, and ended with Hareem Farooq in a gorgeous white and gold long shirt paired with a traditional lehnga. Zainab Chottani closed Day 2 with a collection featuring modern Pakistani bride in shararas to gowns and harem pants. The collection mused in the shades of silver, blue and white. We’ve seen Zainab Chottani doing wonders playing around, and this wasn’t the best she could come up with on the ramp. Day 2 belonged to Zahid Khan of Kuki Concept — beguiling the audience with the Taj of Agra, which was all based in fiery ensembles of banarsi and jamawaar traditional lehngas, long shirts and saris paired with tila, dabka, gota here and there, shawls and lachas in colours worth the shop for mehndi outfits for women, and jackets, dhoti and turbans for men. The third and final day of BCW was the most magnificent. Karachi turned out in full force for the three beloved Karachi designers, Emran Rajput, Amir Adnan and, of course, the grand finale that showed the populist strength and showmanship of Sonya Battla. Amir Adnan’s flags flew. Celebrities strode out in Amir Adnan’s short jackets, red khullahs, black sherwanis and three-piece sherwani suits paired with Jodhpur pyjamas. Where Amir Adnan walked out of his comfort zone on FPW 16, this Ceremony Collection was exactly his playing field for what he’s known for. The other highlight was him accenting 12+ celebrities for his showcase, from Hassan Sheryar Yasin to Javed Sheikh — it was a star studded affair. There are few names known for their men’s wear cuts and Emran Rajput is one of them — making a name for himself with the cuts and styles he has to offer. Rajput’s was a men’s wear capsule collection showcasing bespoke sherwanis and waistcoats while getting traditional with shawls and kullahs. Battla is known for her minimalistic approach and Western silhouettes. Her finale for the night was all about black, beiges and off-whites driving frills and layers – indeed straying true to her signature. Day 3 was dominated by Karachi designers but one Lahori designer, Asifa & Nabeel and one retail brand Rang Ja (who made a debut in Bridal Wears) were awe-inspiring, seizing the centre of attention. The evening wears and bridals by the duo Asifa & Nabeel showed perhaps the best-fitted trousers at fashion week. The designers used contrasting shades of mauve, purple and grey to create opulent gowns and ghagras. They can easily boost the fashion cred of their brand to new heights. Where there is such talent, there needs to be an equally strong will to find a way. Rang Ja’s Bridal line-up was all about movement in vibrant tones and ethnic cuts showcasing shalwar kameez, sexy knee length skirts and lehnga choli — ideally suited for a pre-wedding functions like dholak and mehndi. Rang Ja was in the mood to party. There were a slew of flirty black sequels, finely embroidered and rocker chic looks held together by intricate metallic work for girls who just want to have fun. It is their spirit that makes the fashion world go round. One last highlight of Bridal Couture Week–Gold Edition’s finale was a walk by the cast of drama serial Udaari, which took to the ramp to create awareness about child abuse. Udaari has raised the bar for highlighting the sensitive issue in such a subtle way that one cannot stop praising the makers.
It’s all moving so fast now that there’s no room to flake out – shape up or ship out. If you have what it takes, no one can take it from you, and if you unfortunately don’t, no one can put it on you. The oozing allure and grandeur of Fashion Pakistan Week 2016 (FPW) kicked-off lambently with designers illustrating their latest collections and awe-impelling fashion ruffles plodded over for months. In collaboration with TDAP (Trade Development Authority Pakistan), PR by Take-II, and organised by Karachi Fashion Council, the FPW was a revelation as to where it’s heading as the business of fashion gets real. Fashion needs hoopla and Maheen Khan of Gulabo pulled that off on Day 1 with her ending, playing with a lot of vivid reds and black and white incorporating a concept of wearable collection that was cohesive and well-accessorised. With modern silhouettes, Gulabo featured jumpsuits, plated flared pants and crop tops. Maheen Khan’s collection was the only one from Day 1 of FPW 16 that could live up to its puffery — the first day of the fashion week sustained such unfathomable respites that half the audience walked out mid-way through the show. Designers before Maheen Khan couldn’t put forward their best foot on the ramp either — fashion wise. Deepak Perwani opened the night with his “Fix It” collection, as an ode to Karachi — opening with off shoulder silhouettes in the floral prints and pink; the embellished “Fix It” motifs on jackets, trousers and overcoats was something new coming from the designer house, but he just added four new outfits to a collection he had previously showcased at PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week- Lahore (awkward!). It won’t be erroneous to call Deepak a wiz and Karachi as his playing field, but FPW wasn’t an impeccable count for the designer this time. The two textile brands Kayseria and Lala also showcased, but not creating the necromancy expected of them. Where Lala tried to create a terrible mesh of East and West, Kayseria tilted more towards the Bridal Couture featuring ghagras and shalwar kameez in lighter tones with duppata on head. Why waste time of the audience, when you’re not even able to understand the protuberant line between prêt wears and formals? Consider the question please! Wardah Saleem is another very welcome addition to the fashion world. After a hugely successful DNA London show, the fabric lover has taken a plunge into fashion featuring mini-skirts and overcoats with florescent prints in a fine colour scheme paired with hand-painted bonzer bags, in collaboration with Jafferjees. This girl has a crisp that presented a rare, plushy collection coagulating marvellously on the runway. FPW started on a low note; but a fashion journalist has a responsibility not to crib over what’s being showcased — and to sit back and review later. A voice coming from the editor of a renowned newspaper was quite surprising and a turn-off: “How terrible it feels to sit and watch the crammed shows put on the runway that faded the serious business of fashion when you’ve spent the previous weekend interviewing SRK.” You don’t say that, bespectacled journalist! You cannot compare fashion with entertainment unless you’re there just to pick up the front-row placed courtesy bags and not even attend the entire day one line-up. A runway show is undoubtedly an icing on a multi-layered cake and the applause the cherry on top. There are so many designers and ideas that a day where everything is perfect is almost impossible. FPW got its groove back with a breath of fresh air on Day 2, with some collections that shined like a beacon. That said, I did not particularly care for Zaheer Abbass’s “White on White” collection. The collection was feminine with superb western cuts paired with layering, keeping it simple with sunglasses and necklace wears — he is one designer who does fierce very well, but this was certainly not him, not something Zaheer Abass could come up to the ramp with. Jafferjees showed what a master of design they are, celebrating 135 years in business. In collaboration with Wardah Saleem, they came up with a flashback to vintage trends featured travel bags, briefcases and purses with bold maroon for men and brown for women. The best thing about Jafferjees is that you get all they showcase on the ramp in their stores. Gul Ahmed is as exciting when it comes to prints as Sania Maskatiya or Deepak Perwani — but losing owns comfort zone wasn’t really an idea worth the venture for the brand. Multi-coloured Sindhi embroidery here and pom-pom accessories with chunri pants and chappals there wasn’t something to look forward to from the retail brand. Their shalwar kameez’s have been really lovely, smart, sassy, modern, edgy yet awami — with prints catching attention and everything on spot since it started, but the loss of identity was right there this time, more “Rang Ja” in nature. In perhaps the biggest and best FPW success story from Day Two, Amir Adnan and Huma Adnan presented a stunning collection, their best yet. Letting go of his signature designs of sherwanis (particularly bridal wears) the former got out of the box, giving a feel of freedom featuring three-piece suits, shin-length trousers paired with layered kurtas with “Escape” for men. With a whole new level of crafty silhouettes, with the use of cotton for prêt wear in the shades of blue, beige and white, Huma Adnan stole the show meshing the desi inside of us with cropped waistcoats and embroidered shalwars that looked like a million dollars, easy breezy and wearable with many a standout pieces. What was on display was masterful and truly one of a kind. The final day of FPW 16 was the most significant. Karachi turned out in full force to support the retail brands – Generation and Alkaram and, of course, the grand finale that unveiled the populist energy maestro force of Shamael Ansari playing with a lot of red, brown and yellow. The day opened with Attiya Khan in a hot brown cinched waistline and flared pants and ended with Zhallay Sirhadi featuring her sumptuous exquisite drama inspired by Japanese craftsmanship. Although Alkaram showcased nothing new but digital prints paired with western silhouettes, the off-shoulder tops and jumpsuits in black, beige and white with floral prints and geometrical designs played easy for the brand – setting trends for summer rage. Generation is a retail women’s wear brand working for more than three decades now. Envisioned by husband-wife duo of Saad and Nosheen Rahman, the brand conquered the three nights of runway with the duo’s daughter Khadija’s debut collection “A dot that went for a walk.” Generation still gives every women’s wear retail brand a run for their money, Khaadi even. Featuring dorri embroidery with boho-chic appeal in cotton with beautiful hues of tea pink, green, blue and white was a new sexy identity for eastern wear. Where many people go for Khaadi these days, believe me, the designs Khaadi is producing today were exactly featured twenty years back by Generation. There could not have been a more perfect collection that this to the most fashionable day of Fashion Pakistan Week 2016.
The biannual Bridal Couture Week known for being a tailor-made show for the Pakistani audience undoubtedly has grown into a parallel fashion week that triggers the latest in bridal trends. The recent Bridal Couture Week came to define the right niche of classical Pakistani bridals. Let’s get over the glitz and glamour spread of weddings. DAY -1 Hassan Sheharyar Yasin opened Day One with a collection of pastels and darker tones, combined with western silhouettes featuring heavily detailed gold work on velvet capes and jackets. It was another fashion week, another spot on show by Nickie Nina. The “Neh Shikar” collection by the duo was Rajput Rule inspired, featuring the traditional zardozai and thread work on velvet, chiffon, organza and jamawar. The use of Balochi tankas was a standout while the traditional cuts enhanced the collection. Aisha Imran’s collection “Heritage” was an ode to the city hosting the fashion week — Lahore. The breathtaking fusion of modern work and art with heavily embellished ghagras and lehngas paired with short cholis with dabka, goti and pearl work was a spell binding one. Shazia Kiyani (wannabe housewife-turned-designer) meanwhile came back on the Telenor Bridal Couture Week with a collection not to look forward to. The use of pure fabric in earthly hues with mukesh, hand embroidery and crystals couldn’t spread the magic of creativity on the ramp. The need of fashion education was right there while as fashion goes, it was average. Ziggy menswear is as exciting when it comes to men’s wear exclusivity as Republic by Omer Farooq or Ahmed Bhalm, and very different. Their collection of intricate Persian inspired Sherwanis went down easy. What was on display was masterful and truly one of a kind. Now the challenge is for the man behind Ziggi to translate that tremendous vision into a rack. DAY-2 Out of the designers who did the show on Day Two, it was Maria B and Rani Emaan who came out with the strongest statement. It was pure Pakistani traditional bridals translated in clothes that can be worn anywhere in the world and with that razzle dazzle so needed at a fashion week. Teena by Hina Butt tried to experiment with cuts and pairing quite unsuited for traditional bridals. Using lighter hues consisting of heavy necklines and floating gowns paired with off shoulder kameez, jacket and crop tops couldn’t turn the heads up except few noteworthy savvy silhouettes that went on ramp — like the one worn by her showstopper Uzma Khan — the yellow separates. With maroon, black and ivory on the palette, Humayun Alamgir was on ramp with an intense grooms wear collection. The “Shehnai” featured velvet sherwanis with gold work that didn’t show any groundbreaking trends but a sellable collection to do well commercially. Sobia Nazir made her ramp debut with the collection “Sar-I-Sang” inspired by the bolder look of today’s women featuring detailed heavy crystals, stones, pearls merged with thread work on pastel hues though her hero capes were not the right kind of cut for the bridals paired with a flat lehnga (so not voluminous) which turned out to be a total miss. Armeena Rana Khan walked the ramp for the designer in a fawn off shoulder top with a deep red lehnga which was overshadowed by the attitude and bubbly personality of the actress herself. The capital based designer where fashion industry holds no importance, Rani Emaan is a really bright spark — perhaps, the biggest in the lot who doesn’t belong to the fashion cities of Karachi or Lahore. Her collection wowed us as they went on the runway. A mix of a love for Western fashion combining it with the desi lehngas make her a unique mix of exactly what a bridal fashion in Pakistan needs. The most breathtaking showcase for Day Two was of Maria B. one of the largest network of outlets in Pakistan. One must applaud her efforts for bringing a traditional bride on ramp fusing with the modern day girly girl of today. The edgy contemporary sari pants and the voluminous lehnga in blush pink on silvery base with floral embroidery stood out. The onscreen famous couple from the anticipated Hum TV’s Diyar-e-Dil, Maya Ali and Osman Khalid Butt walked the ramp for the designer along with the Humsafar OST’s fame QB. All the drama was in the clothes. DAY-3 Day 3 featured Nilofer Shahid who is undoubtedly back with a bang after an extended hiatus. Her show opened by Pakistani/Bollywood actress Humaima Malik wearing ethereal sharara quite soon turned into a pleasant surprise of a clothing line featuring the glamorous bridals in earthly soft hues — some emerald green here and blues there. It won’t be erroneous if we call Asifa & Nabeel’s collection merely a try to resurrect the style. Flared pants although took the ramp with a storm but multi-paneled shirts paired with the former pants couldn’t just get along. The collection of the duo known for bridal wears in Pakistan was travelling back into the Mughal era with “tehzeeb”. The total put off collection of the finale was Lajwanti with an odd colour combination and hop scotch fusion of elements and overdone embroidery offering nothing new unlike Fahad Hussayn’s “Gulnar Manzil” opting for lighter and balanced colour hues and palette while stepping slightly out of his comfort zone of darker tones staying true to his dramatic aesthetics. With impeccable and intricate details, the different colours’ were perfect for the daring different wannabe bride — just as his dark plum. Fahad made use of his signature silk thread work on rich fabrics like organza, tissue, net and chiffons along with a metal thread work specially crafted for this capsule. Saher Atif’s collection featured fusion of pants paired with jackets and hemlines using layered net, organza, chiffon and kundun zari embellishment mixed with pearls and laces while at the same time Erum Khan’s “Dastoor-e-Ishq” was one to die for. Beautiful cuts enhanced the detailing of work in subtle gold thread on earthly hues and lounder tones in organza and chiffon, featuring ghagra cholis.
CANDID: Women in Doha or Dubai are open to funky fashionable looks, says Zehra Kabave. Photo by Jayan Orma By Anand Holla One quick look at Zehra Kabave will tell you that the woman not only loves to look good, but is passionate about the art of looking good. Her neatly plucked eyebrows will also tell you that she must be a beautician. And then her long mane of jet black hair tipped with colours blonde and green, narrows down the intrigue. She’s got to be a hairstylist. “Actually, call me a hair artist,” she says, smiling, referring to how she treats it as an art form. She would know because she is also a painter. Feisty and confident without being the least bit overbearing, Kabave speaks her mind like it’s the only way she could be. “For me, hairstyling is art. Each time I work on hair, I fly. I enjoy every bit of it. Through every new hairstyle or hair colour, I discover something new,” she says. At the zingy hair salon CUT by BLISS in W Doha Hotel & Residences, Kabave has been at the forefront of transforming women’s hair ever since she moved to Doha two months back. She says, “Doha has been amazing.” Kabave’s is a story of a woman who always knew what she was doing. She was 11 when she started dabbling in make-up and hair cuts back home in Syria. “My father was a little moody and didn’t like to go to the barber. So I started off by cutting his hair, and then moved to women, beginning with my mom, and later my neighbours,” she recalls, “That was playtime for me.” At 17, the Syrian hairdresser had taken to it seriously. “Soon, I opened my own salon. But as the situation in Syria began to worsen, I moved to Dubai around five years ago and began hairdressing at hotels in UAE,” she says. However, her loyal clients flying in to Dubai from Doha began persuading her to move here. “I liked the idea of working in Doha. I always wanted to discover this city, and I had also heard many good things about W Doha. So I decided to give it a shot. My Dubai clients are still on the lookout for me,” Kabave says, smiling. Her personal justification for the move is that her loyal clientele in Dubai could avail the services of any of the many pro hairstylists there, unlike in Doha. “There aren’t many hairdressers here. I need to help the people here,” the 34-year-old says, chuckling. “Seriously though, women here came to me with burnt hair, damaged hair, awfully coloured hair, and they told me they were tired of switching salons without getting what they want,” she shares, “When they meet me, they often say: Akhiran (Finally)! At last, we found someone like you in Doha, they tell me.” Not surprisingly, Kabave prefers the vibrant clientele of the GCC countries over all else. “I used to work as a hairdresser in Istanbul, Turkey. Almost all women there stick to basics and opt for a simple, natural look. Whereas, women in Doha or Dubai are open to funky fashionable looks,” she says. “Here, in Doha or the GCC, if a woman has to go to work at 7, she will wake up early and get a full-fledged make-up and hair done. They love to accentuate their beauty,” she continues, “Just as in the UAE, locals here are whacky when it comes to experimenting with looks. I love to work with them.” Moreover, the salon culture in the Gulf encompasses both socialising and lounging about, feels Kabave. “Most clients in the Gulf drop by at the salon to enjoy, chat, chill and have a good time. Many tell me they don’t know what they want to get done and that I can try out pretty much anything I wish,” she says. Done up in poppy, eye-catching decor, the CUT salon, Kabave’s new workplace, offers a ton of hair pampering services: wash and blow dry, waves and curls, steam iron, haircut, styling, colouring, highlights, lowlights, gents cut, kids cut, root retouch, eyelashes, hair extension, hair treatments and so on. While Kabave has done the hair of celebrities such as Moroccan singer Mona Amarsha, several Miss Europes and Manchester United footballers, she doesn’t like to hunt for stars. “I don’t want to become just a shadow of stars. There are lots of those kinds of hairstylists out there already. Also, I don’t feel comfortable in the glam world because most stars are moody and I don’t get to do what I want,” she reasons, “I would rather work with regular folks, and I ask nothing of them but a smile.” Kabave’s background in psychology studies, too, helps her assess her clients’ requirements. “When I talk to them, I try to understand their personality so as to get ideas for what look we should go for,” she explains, “Some women are very clear with what they want, some are withdrawn, some act excited and crazy, while some are nervous.” Since she likes to chatter a lot, Kabave must amp down her rhythm when she comes across clients who prefer silence. “Some women sit like this,” she says, mimicking a pursed lip and a slight scowl, “So there’s just no green light to talk.” With these clients, Kabave chooses not to hard-sell a look. “Even if the haircut she wants is old-fashioned, I just do it. That’s because if I try convincing her otherwise, she wouldn’t like it. She must have been having the same haircut and the same blow-dry all her life. So I respect her choice and keep to it.” The realisation of a refreshing new look can be overwhelming to some. “Sometimes, after I am done, my clients look in the mirror, cry with joy and hug me. That’s because for too long, they have wanted to get a certain style or look but haven’t been able to communicate it or haven’t been satisfied with the execution of it. To be able to bring that satisfaction to their faces is what I love about my job,” says Kabave. However, surprisingly, many women yield to the generalisation that male hairstylists are better than female. “Quite some women have told me that they don’t want a woman to do their hair, they want a man. So I tell them, just try me. If you don’t like it, don’t pay,” Kabave says. Having worked with men all her life in salons in Syria and Dubai in UAE, Kabave has learnt a few things from them. “I learnt how important it is to gain the client’s trust, especially for a blow dry. Male hairdressers are good with blow drying because they are strong and for blow-drying you need strong arms. But then, I, too, have strong arms,” she says flexing her muscles, and laughing. Apart from the obvious recommendation of eating a nutritious protein-rich diet and drinking lots of water, Kabave’s advice for hair care covers an important point for Qatar’s residents. “When you have a bath, the chlorine in the water here hurts your hair. So you must give your hair a last rinse with drinking water and scrub it well to clean it thoroughly. I faced this problem in Dubai, too. When I go to Turkey or Syria, my hair becomes shinier and thicker,” she shares. For optimum hair health, women must take hair treatments twice a week, feels Kabave. “Some women rush to me saying they are losing a lot of hair and I see that they are using the wrong colour or wrong oil. When I hold the hair in my hand, I know its CV. I know how she is treating her hair,” she says. As for dos and don’ts, Kabave suggests not messing around much with hair. “Don’t change your hair colour more than twice a year. If you have dyed a rich colour, stick to it. Changing it over and over again will make the colour look weak. Staying with one colour will retain its richness. And yes, use Argan oil,” she says. When Kabave claims that she can fix any sort of hair problem, her self-assuredness sure seems believable. After all, drawing out a woman’s inner personality through her hairstyle is what keeps Kabave going. “What I like best is to completely change a woman’s look. I mean, even the eyebrows,” she says, raising hers. “Sometimes,” Kabave says, “there’s something locked up inside a woman that she can’t reach or show it to the world. I tell her: Be yourself. So I try to find that something and show her the mirror. Most often, they will thank me and tell me: Now I can see myself… THAT is me!”
By Our CorrespondentBathed in eclectic colours and moods, the Living Room at W Doha Hotel & Residences buzzed with the energy of the latest in fashion on Sunday.A trunk show by popular Qatari fashion designer Dabya was a hit just as expected as the city’s savviest turned up in droves. Keeping with W Doha’s commitment to supporting local talent across design, fashion and music, the first lifestyle hotel in Qatar hosted the event.Guests were invited to mix and mingle in the vibrant Living Room, which set the scene for a high-octane fashion pop-up comprising of the very finest of Dabya’s Autumn/Winter 2014 intricate and imaginative designs.Born in Doha but raised internationally, Dabya embraces her Arabic heritage and combines it with an experience of global style and fashion. Her path as a fashion designer has taken her from Doha to London, Paris, Hong Kong and Malaysia allowing her to experience different possibilities for sourcing fabrics and manufacturing her collection to the highest possible standards. At the trunk show, Dabya revealed a collection inspired by twilight and the twinkling of the stars, using a combination of soft signature chiffon and lace with metallic and glossy lace trims.An exclusive mix of Doha’s trendsetters and fashionistas gathered at the hotel to enjoy the contemporary, ultra-stylish pieces. The Living Room provided the perfect backdrop, with funky music being played and an array of delicious canapés and mocktails. Of the trunk show, Dabya said, “The Autumn/Winter 2014 which I have showcased at the W Doha Hotel & Residences is the closest collection to me. It is inspired by twilight, dawn and dusk. It’s beautiful and unique and that the way I see my women.” W Doha Hotel & Residences General Manager Safak Guvenc said, “We are extremely pleased to have partnered with such an inspiring local designer and look forward to seeing Dabya further succeed. Fashion is one of our brand’s passion points and a theme that continuously enables us to support the best of up and coming talent in Qatar.”The Spring Summer 2011 was her launch collection as a designer under her own label, Dabya, although she has been designing couture garments for the past five years.
Diyah, the doting mother of twin girls and a zumba fitness instructor, now adds another feather to her cap with her own timeless, jaw-dropping jewellery line, writes Umer Nangiana “Give a woman the right kind of jewellery and she can conquer the world,” believes Diyah, who has finally set off to pursue a long-time love for Indian designer jewellery. The doting mother of twin girls and a zumba fitness instructor now adds another feather to her cap with her own timeless, jaw-dropping jewellery line. Enamoured by aesthetic Indian jewellery designs right from her childhood days, Diyah (her given name), an Indian expatriate, has always believed that jewellery had the power to make you feel stand out in a crowd. The real opportunity to put her creative prowess into work, however, arrived with her arrival in Middle East a few years ago. She realised a big void here for exquisite chic designer Indian jewellery and accessories and, most importantly, bringing affordability into the mix. After completing the ground work and finally, setting her long-time plans into motion, Diyah, who runs zumba and yoga classes in the city, is all set to launch the traditional in trend bohemian jewellery line. Each piece has been made with handpicked beads and jewels, woven elegantly in a way that personifies Indian heritage with a modern classy touch. “I actually went to see a friend (in India), who is already a jewellery designer. She showed it to me and I loved it. There and then, I decided I am going to take this to Doha with me,” an elated Diyah, now a jewellery designer, tells Community by way of inspiration. Her designs are all handmade and hand-painted. They are all typical Indian designs which people do not get to see in Doha. There is extensive use of real stones, including the unique Navratan, and they come straight from the state of Jaipur. “These designs are the ones that the Rajas and Maharanis used to wear. They have a lot of royalty attached to them. I use beads and Kundan work in the designs. Kundan is the small lining or engraving with silver on the top of the jewellery pieces,” explains Diyah. For now, she creates designs and gets the jewellery made by experts back home. She will have to bring all the raw material from India if she pursues it here. But, this is exactly what she plans to do in near future — make it here. She is eyeing a training course in assembling and putting together gems, beads and stones — thus replacing the need for an expert hand to do it back home. “The plan is that I am going to bring the stones from India and once I am done with my training, I am going to make them here. Then, I will be able to take customised orders as well, and it will make labour and all related chores hazard-free,” says Diyah. How does her designing process work as of now? “We have to buy the pieces from market, create our designs and then get them done accordingly. In the future, however, it is all going to be at my end. I will see the response here and the kind of jewellery that sells well and bring those specific designs again,” Diyah says. “We normally, keep it on a sheet of paper. We put beads on it and, then, it is aesthetics like putting pieces together. You have to visualise it — as to how it will look once it is finished. Then, I take a picture of the design and go to the karigar (maker), who makes the jewellery on that design,” she adds. From a zumba instructor to a jewellery designer, how did the transition take place? “The base is creativity. It is in my blood. Not just this; I have a lot of other things on my mind that I want to pursue — like my next ambition is to become a make-up artist. I will definitely try my hand at it,” says a determined Diyah. For her upcoming jewellery designs, she has set the prices ranging from QR100-500. Diyah claims she has the range to cover every segment of the society and there is something for everyone. “However, if you go for more unique designs and opt for more precious stones or you want to enhance the quality and quantity, the cost will increase. It depends on the buyers’ liking,” she reasons. Diyah says she has seen somewhat similar work displayed at some of the exhibitions in MIA (Museum of Islamic Art) Park. But there is a huge difference between her designs and those displayed at the exhibitions. “On close observation, I realised that those are not real beads (at MIA Park). They are plastic while mine are made from real expensive stones — that is a huge difference. They are using plastic and that is why the price comes down to QR30-40 and they are all from China. I am not using anything from China,” says the designer. Diyah is going to launch her jewellery line formally on December 6 this year through an exhibition at MIA Park. So far, her jewellery designs have not been seen by anyone else. Only a few days ago, she created a facebook page for these designs and this is where she will be mostly displaying her wares. To spread the word, she is also relying on the network of her zumba students and the upcoming Christmas season. “Westerners particularly, like this type of jewellery. So I am going to target them as well as the Arabs. The Indians can go to India and buy it from there. However, my market is open to everyone,” says Diyah. She says it will also be difficult for Indians living in Delhi, for instance, to especially travel to Jaipur for the jewellery so they can get it from her. Diyah also plans to showcase her jewellery in hotels if she manages to sell well after the launch. “I am already in talks with a hotel here. But then obviously they will put their own prices which will be more than what I am selling at,” she says, adding the hotels will also invite her to display her work outside the marriage halls. Referring to a picture of a necklace worn by the famous Bollywood actresses Madhuri Dixit displayed on her facebook page, Diyah says it is an exclusive design which is only custom-made and very expensive. These are bridal sets and nobody wears them on a daily basis. “The original comes at IR8-10 lac but if somebody wants to get that in fake stone or fake Kundan work, it can be had for IR70,000-80,000. This means I can get it done only if a customer places such an order. I can also customise the designs from big names in jewellery in India,” says Diyah. For instance, if you find a design in a newspaper and it is a diamond and you do not want to spend so much on diamonds, you can place an order with Diyah to get it made in fake jewellery. Her collection so far is all mixed, no special items or bridals. “The problem with bridal designs is that the investment is pretty high and it is like blocking your money. It can be made on order but it will take a long time, at least a month. So if somebody orders, only then can I get it made for them,” says Diyah. To check her collection, you can log onto her facebook page (Jewellery By Diyah) and order it online.
Doha-based outlet signs agreement with top designers from Pakistan to enhance its collection Staff Reporter PH Design, a Doha-based Pakistani fashion brand and outlet, has signed new agreements with top designers from Pakistan, including names such as Obaid Shiekh, Emraan Rajput and Mahagony by Sam Dada. PH Design already has BISSINO Men’s Collection at their outlet in Barwa Village. It also showcased the collection at Pakistan Fashion Week (PFW) 2014 held last month in Doha while carrying the glory of the past on its elaborate, timeless pieces that were pure yet contemporary in a modern sense. “The fashion buffs can now get their favourite designer outfit at our store. You can also place prior orders and customise your outfit according to your own preferences,” said Abeer Nauman, designer and the owner of the outlet while elaborating on the new agreements. Designers and celebrities like Hasan Soomro, actress Meera, actress Natasha Ali and Ghazala Humayun, the vice chairman of Fashion & Industry Committee (FPCCI), personally visited the PH Design outlet in Barwa village to promote the brand and its collections. “We took the audience on a journey of the vintage era, showcasing our cultural heritage which to date influences our sense of dressing and style,” said the designer about their showcase at the PFW 2014. “It was a perfect marriage of the old and the contemporary, the known and the forgotten, a celebration of style with rare embroidery techniques packaged in a vibrant, colourful fashion, an aesthetic that has come to define the label,” she added. Young boys and men alike admired their new style of dresses which are modelled in the sherwani (traditional Pakistani national dress) and suit styles, added Abeer. “When it comes to fashion, simplicity holds a timeless elegance. We all have to start from somewhere and building our basic wardrobes is the perfect place to begin the fashionista’s journey,” said the designer. At PH Design outlet, they have the fashion brand BISSINO. The designs are trendy and modern. The sherwani-style outfits are perfect to go with salwars (trousers), or jeans. On the sherwanis, the dabka and stonework make them unique and different from other dresses. All these dresses are in different eye-catching colours like maroon, blue, green etc. Renowned TV actor from Pakistan, Hasan Soomro, appeared as celebrity showstopper in the designer’s showcase at PFW. The event was choreographed by Imran Kureishi, who put together a flawless show, the grooming and make-up of the models was done by the maestro Glam n Glitz, who added a fourth dimension to men’s styling. The Men’s Collection is currently on display at the Barwa village outlet of PH Design for public viewing where they can also place their orders. For the convenience of people, the outlet has also placed complete images of the designs and dresses at their fan page of PH Design at Barwa Village in Wakrah at facebook.com/phdesign.doha. People can select their best choice from the images on facebook and then place their order with the designer along with any alterations they require in the designs of the dress, said PH Design. “This collection can be the best choice for evening wear at get-togethers,” said the designer. She said they also take orders for custom-made bridal and men’s wear for weddings. Special offer is given when bulk order for the entire family is placed.
The three-day event showcased works of some of the leading fashion designers from Pakistan. By Umer Nangiana The Pakistan Fashion Week (PFW), a three-day extravaganza of Pakistani fashion and a one-of-its-kind event in town, came to an end on Saturday. Organised by Rahat Mansoor of Dhoom Events, the fashion gala featured prét and ready-to-wear collections from some of Pakistan’s leading fashion designers. The collection, including bridal, casual and semi-casual wear, attracted scores of buyers from the local Pakistani and other expatriate communities during the three days. Raha, the chief organiser of PFW, said members of local Qatari community also turned out in large numbers and showed interest in Pakistani designers’ creations. For the convenience of those who could not make it to PFW, the remainder of the collection from the participating designers will remain up for sale at the outlets of PH Design in Barwa Village and Bombay Silk on Salwa Road. “With Eid al-Adha just a few days away, people will be able to buy new clothes for the occasion directly from the collection of some of their favourite Pakistani designer brands,” Rahat told Community, explaining the decision to extend the exhibition at the two partner outlets of the PFW. The fiesta began with a spectacular fashion show at a packed Al Feroz Ballroom of Doha Marriot Hotel on Thursday. The glamorous night witnessed a colourful ramp by Pakistani and international models donning the most recent ensembles by the iconic Deepak Perwani and other leading designers from Pakistan, including Sobia Nazir, Sana Safinaz, Zainab Chottani, Emran Rajput and Mahagony by Sam Dada. Choreographed by Imran Qureshi from Pakistan, the fashion show was inaugurated by Pakistani Ambassador Shahzad Ahmad and was attended by diplomats and dignitaries from many other countries besides members of different communities. The audience went up in roar when film actress Meera first appeared on the ramp wearing a Deepak Perwani outfit. The biggest attraction of the show, Meera then walked the ramp wearing other designers’ collection. She was followed by two celebrities from Pakistan’s television industry, Natasha Ali and Hasan Soomro. They were received with cheers from the crowd. Besides women’s clothes, the show also featured attractive men’s collection from Emraan Rajput who presented some innovative designs in Arabic men’s wear such as gandurah. Bissino by Wasim Akram presented by PH Design made its presence felt. The fashion show also featured a music performance by a duo of local singers who treated the audience to a couple of Pakistani folk and sufi songs. Other participating designers included Lajwanti, Maria B, Sobia Nazir, Amna Ismail, Obaid Sheikh, PH Design and Jahanzaib. Rahat said the event was aimed to promote Pakistani products and fashion in the Qatari market. She said Pakistani designers, in turn, enjoyed exposure to a market that was still largely untapped yet it was growing very fast. Speaking to the audience, she announced that the event will be made a regular feature and will be held twice a year from now on. Thousands of gift vouchers were also given to community members. The organisers said these vouchers could be redeemed at the exhibition for the latest Eid and Diwali collections.
By Umer Nangiana To add to the glitz and glamour of the upcoming Pakistan Fashion Week (PFW), a Qatar-based Pakistani designer brand PH Design (Pakistan House of Design) has decided to partner with the star-studded mega event. Besides boasting a wide range of its signature designs, the apparel outlet is one of the few in the local market offering a variety of popular Pakistani designer brands. For the fashion week, a three-day event starting September 25 at the Marriott Hotel, PH Design will be the only local participant. “We will have big names [from Pakistan] including Muammar Rana, Saleem Sheikh and Hassan Soomro from Pakistan’s fashion and film industry walking the ramp wearing Bissino Mens collection represented by PH Design,” Abeer Nauman, the owner of the outlet, told Community. She said the models at the fashion show will display a mix blend of sherwanis and casual wear. Local male models will wear the outfits, which have been tailor-made for them. Sherwani is a traditional Pakistani dress that forms an essential part of most weddings in Pakistan as a wedding outfit for grooms. “PFW is a highly prestigious event for Pakistani community. It takes a lot of hard work and dedication and PH Design is proud to be part of such a high profile event,” said Abeer. In order to boost sales and promote its brand name, the PH Design will be offering discount vouchers during the event. “So don’t miss your chance to get your favourite outfit,” Abeer added. For the convenience of customers, the outlet will also offer tailoring services at PFW during the three days of the show. The tailoring services are open for all vendors’ collections. PH Design will put their women’s collection on sale during the show to encourage customers to buy for the upcoming Eid al-Adha and Diwali. The PH Design owner said the long-flowing dresses in chiffon and silk will be the main attraction for buyers. A new range of stitched suits in lawn with aplics and embroidery has also been added, which she hoped will catch the buyers’ attention. PH Design will also host the visiting celebrities at their boutique in Barwa Village. A photo-shoot and press interaction will follow the visit. “Participating brands from Pakistan have shown keen interest in work with us so we are looking forward to sign partnership agreements during the event,” said Abeer. “We have lots of exciting activities happening during the three days of Pakistan Fashion Week and I urge community members to visit us and be part of this exciting event,” she added. PH Design opened shop in Qatar more than two years ago and has participated in past fashion shows such as the Doha Fashion Show and Concert at Regency Halls, Bollywood New Year’s Theme Party at Marriott Hotel and Global Village Fashion Show at CNAQ.
INAUGURATION: PWA Chairperson Rahat Mansoor cutting the ribbon while Amla Kale, Chairperson, IWA (first from left) and Abeer Nauman, PH Design co-founder (second from left) look on. PH Design, the newly opened Pakistani fashion outlet in Doha, is already making waves. By Umer Nangiana Bringing distinctively stylish and colourful designs from Pakistan’s vibrant fashion industry with a pinch of personal touch, PH Design (Pakistan House of Design) has formally launched its first outlet in Doha. Receiving an overwhelming response on the opening day, the fashion house is set to cater to a wide audience comprising mostly expatriates from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries of the sub-continent. However, members from local Qatari community did turn up in large numbers, showing keen interest in the attractive designs. Chairperson and founder of Pakistan Women’s Association (PWA) Rahat Mansoor cut the ribbon to formally inaugurate the PH Design shop in Barwa Village, Building 14, in the presence of representatives from Indian Women’s Association (IWA) and other guests at a ceremony on Friday. “There are not many Pakistani fashion outlets in Doha. PH Design therefore is a welcome addition to the scene. It is a place where women can come and select through a variety of designs,” Rahat, the PWA chairperson told Community. PH Design co-founder Abeer Nauman took the guests on a tour of the outlet before its doors were formally opened for the guests. On the very first day, the PH Design collection attracted visitors who kept coming till late in the night. The 100 gift vouchers for the first 100 guests were lapped up in no time. Dozens of visitors placed their customised orders with the shop. “PH Design started business in 2012 and gained fame through its unique designs and fashion shows in Doha,” said Nauman. “We work on different themes based on market requirements and occasions. Our designs are not repeated because we believe a repeat design makes the product common and we want each of our customers to look different which is why we offer ‘one design, one piece’ only,” the PH Design co-founder added. The visitors showed keen interest in a variety of designs including embroidery on renowned Pakistani fabric brands. Apart from its own designs, the outlet would also be stocking designs from other popular fashion outlets and designers from Pakistan. Besides couture, the boutique offers customisation services where you can select your design and get it tailor-made for you on your choice of fabric. These services are available for both women and men. The latter can choose from a wide range of embroidery designs available. “I am very happy for Nauman. She is a very good friend of mine. In all her collection, she has brought life into it. The live and vibrant colours, it is really beautiful,” said Amla Kale from IWA. “Everyone has a different way of getting it out. I personally like her collection. It mostly depends on the individual (choices) still this one is really good. People should visit it and I see a great response,” she added. The visitors particularly appreciated the boutique’s ambience. Rahat, the chief guest, said Nauman’s initiative was commendable. “In a very short time she has gone miles and today she has opened an outlet of her own. I personally love her designs. It’s a very creative work,” she added. Rahat said PH Design was also a constructive platform serving as inspiration for all women seeking independent business opportunities. BELOW: A CUT ABOVE: The men’s and women’s collection on display at PH Design. Right: Visitors at PH Design check out the apparels on offer.
TREATMENT: Keratin in progress. Shalinee Bhardwaj talks to experts and learns that with safer hair treatments now available, you can always let your hair down, in style Have you ever felt those pangs of jealously while watching the luxuriant mane of the pretty model in that TV commercial? Or looked in the mirror and tried to cover the thinning patch on your scalp? Then, welcome to the tribe. Yes, you are not the only one! A receding hairline and vanishing tresses are a matter of grave concern to all, irrespective of the gender. While it is not easy to digest the idea of losing your ‘crowning glory’, do we really have a solution? “Genetics and health are factors in healthy hair. Proper nutrition is important for hair health”, says Preethy Mary Jacob, a practicing Dietician in Doha. “The living part of hair is under the scalp skin where the hair root is housed in the hair follicle. The entire follicle and root are fed by a vein, and blood carries nutrients to the follicle/root. Any time an individual has any kind of health concern from stress, trauma, medications of various sorts, chronic medical conditions or medical conditions that come and then wane, heavy metals in waters and food, smoking etc. these and more can affect the hair, its growth, and its appearance”, Preethy explains. In order to dig in for a better understanding of the role of diet in hair growth, Preethy elaborates it scientifically. As she puts it, “Generally, eating a full diet that contains protein, fruits, vegetables, fat, and carbohydrates is important (several vitamins and minerals require fat in order to be delivered or absorbed by the body). Any deficiency will typically show first in the hair. A mild case of anemia can cause shedding and hair loss. Among others, the B groups of vitamins are the most important for healthy hair, especially biotin. B5 (pantothenic acid) gives hair flexibility, strength and shine and helps prevent hair loss and graying. B6 helps prevent dandruff and can be found in cereals, egg yolk and liver. Vitamin B12 helps prevent the loss of hair and can be found in fish, eggs, chicken and milk.” “The speed of hair growth varies based upon genetics, gender, age, hormones, and may be reduced by nutrient deficiency (i.e., anorexia, anemia, zinc deficiency) and hormonal fluctuations (i.e., menopause, polycystic ovaries, thyroid disease)”, she adds. Continuing further she says, “The essential omega-3 fatty acids, protein, vitamin B12, and iron, found in fish sources, prevent a dry scalp and dull hair colour. Dark green vegetables contain high amounts of vitamins A and C, which help with production of sebum and provide a natural hair conditioner. Legumes provide protein to promote hair growth and also contain iron, zinc, and biotin. A deficiency in biotin intake can cause brittle hair and can lead to hair loss. In order to avoid this, individuals can find sources of biotin in cereal-grain products, liver, egg yolk, soy flour, and yeast. Protein deficiencies or low-quality protein can produce weak and brittle hair, and can eventually result in loss of hair colour.” A balanced diet and proper nutrition are indeed the best bet for a healthier and longer lasting hair; nevertheless, looking at the wish list of the fashion conscious consumers, can the world of cosmetics be left behind? So, for those who also wish to keep their hair trendy at all times, a good number of hair care products and services are proving to be a worthy respite from that thin hair look! Bidya, Hair expert from Habibs Hair & Beauty Salon n Spa, Doha has more to add. “Damaged hair can be treated by the deep conditioning or ‘micro mist’ and power dose treatment. Micro mist focuses on providing intensive nourishment deep down to the cuticle of the hair in order to repair the hair. In the latter, molecules contained in ampoules strengthen the core of the hair fibre.” “We mostly advise clients to seek Aminexil Advance treatment in order to reduce hair fall and induce hair growth”, informs Bidya, “This is facilitated by the essential nutrients that help stimulate root activity and help protect the density of hair from roots to tip. The frequency of treatment depends on the client, looking at how her hair is responding to it. Latest in the line of treatments is the LO’real Fiberceutic hair filling serum treatment, even referred to as the “Botox for Hair”!” Harbeer Kaur, who was taking the ‘Keratin’ hair treatment at Habib’s, a salon that has earned a high repute for its hair care and beauty treatments; shares her experience. “This is my second time and Keratin has given positive results with my hair, making them smoother with reduced hair loss. The non-frizzy, natural blow dry look lasts for over three months without damaging my hair.” Maintaining your hair at healthy levels can be a difficult task when your day starts with blow dry, iron or styling products. Bidya suggests “taking a break whenever possible from excessive cleansing, heat styling and chemical processing.” “Our hair gets damaged if we continuously blow dry or iron without using adequate protection or with continuous hair coloring. Always put the protective product first before styling, as then the heat will be absorbed by the product and not hair.” She advises a handful of general hair care tips. “Use a good wide tooth comb; pick on your fingers to detangle your hair as you dry it. Allow hair to air dry as far as possible. Choose the correct shampoo according to your hair texture. Shampoo every alternate day unless required otherwise. If you have dry hair, do not miss applying oil for half an hour before shampooing.” Some food products can also work wonders with your hair when applied externally. Bidya says, “Eggs are rich in proteins, fatty acids and fat-soluble vitamins. This makes them excellent nutrient for hair besides having a cleansing and conditioning affect. For this, collect the white of a single egg and mix in 3 tablespoons of water. Apply this to your hair and leave for about 30 minutes before rinsing it thoroughly. Aloe Vera is not only a great moisturizer for the skin but it also works equally well on hair, especially dry hair. Aloe Vera treatment can help give a shine and soft texture, making frizzy hair manageable. For this, mix 4 tablespoons of Aloe Vera juice with 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Leave on hair for half an hour before rinsing”. In this incessant quest to fuller, shinier and healthier locks, impact of the ‘golden hand’ of your hair dresser, too, holds as much significance. From her experience, Bidya is prompt to answer this, “Clients with thin hair are constantly looking for hair styles that make their hair look thicker. With few standard hair rules and cutting techniques your fine hair can be well on its way to voluminous style, in routine. The right product and styling method are great tools to help your hair look fuller. There is really no perfect hairstyle, as many aspects need to be considered e.g. the length of your hair, its texture and weight, your age and life style requirement.” There are probably as many solutions as there are problems concerning ‘hairy’ issues. While a balanced control on diet and ‘what you eat’ lays the foundation for a healthy and strong mane; with safer hair treatments now available, you can always let your hair down, in style! Yet, if nothing is working out, there’s always more help around. Did we hear hair implants…? *All hair treatments should be taken after consultation with your hair specialist BELOW: SLICK: A satisfied customer with smooth, shinier hair. Right: The non-frizzy, blow dry look.
INAUGURATION: Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, President Redco Mills Pvt Ltd, cutting the ribbon to open the show. Fashion diva Maria B., fourth from right, and DFL CEO Sana Salman, right, are also seen. Community Report The Fashion Fiesta 2014 was a sight for sore eyes in its breathtaking ardor. In keeping with its promise to present Doha with the collections of the crème de la crème of the Pakistani fashion industry in a rich milieu, it also brought together Indian and Middle Eastern designers with an accent on cultural diversity. Concluding with an exhibition of the said collections at the Crowne Plaza over the weekend, the Fiesta was set up on a night of eclectic show last Thursday, giving the floor to a bevy of beautiful models, who carried the designs with aplomb on the ramp against the backdrop of foot-tapping music and shimmering lights. Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, President Redco Mills Pvt Ltd, inaugurated the Fiesta. Also present on the occasion were Qaiser Malik, General Manager Ezdan Malls; Ahmed Hussain, President of Pakistan Qatar Business Forum; fashion diva Maria B. with her husband Tariq, and designer Adnan Pardesy as well as editors of fashion and society magazines and a large number of enthusiasts. House of Ittehad and Nazish Kalani made their presence felt. However, the highlight of the show was the arrival on the ramp of Maria B., Pakistan’s internationally famed fashion designer, who created a flutter with her stunning new collection titled Mbroidered, showcased by models from different countries. The designs had a wow factor that could be felt across the hall, and their appeal could be gauged by the fact that all the models carried themselves as if to the manner born! Flush with success, Sana Salman, the CEO of Designer Fashion Lounge, which organised the show in collaboration with Zarri, Dubai, said she was grateful that the Fiesta lived up to its billing after a promising start last year. “The expectations this time were obviously bigger, and with a recent surge in fashion shows in Doha, we felt the challenge was greater. It was our chance to showcase the best of the east, and I’m really happy that we pulled it off. Trust me, it wasn’t easy. Because of the amount of interest the Fiesta generated, we had to cancel the initial dates planned for April,” Sana said. Sana, who has been on the circuit for a few years now, and is credited with the fastest growing Pakistani fashion label in Doha, said she was fortunate to have the likes of Maria B. and Adnan Pardesy personally come to Doha, and make a pitch at the Fiesta. “That a multicultural throng got the value for their money not only on the opening night, but also the hundreds of enthusiasts who came to see and buy designer wear over the weekend was immensely satisfying,” she said smiling. Sana thanked Hair & Beauty partner Diva lounge Spa; modeling agency Trinity Talent; silver sponsors Bombay Silk Centre; direct marketing sponsors Estart Direct Marketing; online media partners The Dubai events; marketing and media partners Qatar Happening and Abode magazines; and Hotel Crowne Plaza Director of Events Alex; and last but not least, Safvun and Javed, Managing Director Apex events, for providing DFL the platform to put together one of the most hip events of this year. The Sonar shine One of the highlights of the Fiesta was the designer jewelry on display by Hamna Amir, Pakistan’s premier jewelry designer and entrepreneur. Hamna carries the brand name Sonar, whose pieces have won her acclaim in the US, UK and UAE. Ranging from the heavier bridal sets to sophisticated everyday jewelry, including rings and bracelets that speak for their creative craft, she made the Doha event count yet again after first making her presence felt last year. The headpieces of this creative Islamabad designer are known for its signature style with stones in 24K gold plating. BELOW: 1) SHOW-STOPPERS: Models showcasing Maria B.’s gorgeous collection.
ROAD AHEAD: Mohamed El Talkhawi, General Sales and Marketing Manager, Audi Qatar, speaks about the future of leasing in the region. By Marione Borela Lineses Nestled along Salwa Road, the showroom spans an area of 3,100sq m that houses 30 Audi cars in various configurations. The venue sports elegantly unique design to indulge different tastes, exude prestige and represent Audi’s identity through their black-and-white palettes. Mohamed El Talkhawi, General Sales and Marketing Manager, Audi Qatar, talks about the introduction of leasing in the country, as well as the new Audi R8 V10 Plus. Excerpts. Tell us about the concept of leasing in Qatar? The main goal of this concept is to give everyone a chance to drive an Audi car. We have moved away from the usual methods like buying a car with full payment or through bank loan. Leasing lets you drive the latest car with almost no cost upfront, rather than shelling off a down payment when you buy. This is in addition to the customer driving a fully insured new car for two to three years. What are its benefits? At the end of the contract, customers can choose if they want to pay the remaining and buy the car, buy a new Audi car with the same terms as the first contract, or to give up the car. There is no need to lease for longer period, which makes it easier for customers to change in case they face a problem. And customers are benefited with full warranty, full maintenance, and full service. What is the common notion in the GCC about leasing? The thinking is that an individual needs to pay monthly for the leasing term and will eventually give the car back at the end of the term and still have nothing owned that has any value. That belief is true, but the financial analysis is totally wrong. Leasing allows you to drive brand new cars with almost no cost upfront, almost close to zero. In addition, the monthly payment for the car will cover the depreciation value over the term of the driving. Can you cite an example? Say a car is worth QR 100,000 which depreciates 25% of its value in the first year, then followed by an additional 10-15% through the course of time yearly. In the first three years the car would lose close to 50% of its market value. Therefore the buyer will lose QR50,000 of the original car value; provided that the vehicle has not been exposed to any incident and modification, which loses its value more. Leasing says, you don’t need to pay me the QR100,000 you can pay me the QR50,000 depreciation cost plus interest over the three years which everyone pays either way.” Is leasing for everyone? It is not for all but it is still available to all. It suits business owners, corporate sales and individuals who like to change their cars every 2-3 years, or prefer short term contracts. How did residents receive this concept? Both citizens and residents have become interested in the idea of leasing after we gave them a clear briefing on the concept. What’s the background of leasing in the international market and how is it different in the GCC? In the USA it was introduced over 50 years ago; but did well only in the past decade. Therefore, I’m not really surprised when I see the GCC resisting the concept. Today, leasing represents over 80% of the cars sold in the USA, which is the market that I have experience in for 20 years. It’s been introduced in the Middle East, but without the back up of knowledge of proper presentation as a concept. Middle Eastern countries gear more towards the idea of ownership; and not mortgaging properties. The leasing concept is against what the culture is used to, and it will take time to implement. What are the factors in consideration when car-leasing? Choose a car as you normally would pay in financing, considering safety and options. But leasing lets you add options since you only pay a portion of the price. Say, you originally wanted a 4-cylinder car, you are now able to get a 6-cylinder one. You get a better equipped car for less money. Choose the right car that accommodates your wants and select the proper term to accommodate your needs. The structure now is zero money upfront, in terms of the car, service, maintenance and insurance. What makes this alternative method attractive than the usual? The beauty of leasing lets you drive a new car, all the time, but if you prefer a car to own beyond the manufacturer’s warranty, you might consider financing because you’re not reducing your payments either way. Are there leasing challenges that face buyers in Qatar? There are limited resources when it comes to offering customers leasing options. Now, QNB is the only bank in Qatar that offers legal leasing contract. And Doha Bank offers a Buy Back programme, similar to leasing but with ownership experience. We offer leasing internally with our company. How do you foresee this as a new concept in the GCC? With time it will become apparent and better understood. I predict that it will grow magnificently in the region. Finally, tell us about the new Audi R8 V10 Plus. Audi is excited to reveal one of its exclusive Audi R8 V10 Plus in Qatar for the first time. The sports car is designed uniquely to introduce and accommodate a complete new standard in the market, offering an exceptionally edgy interior that compliments its sporty appearance. The Audi R8 V10 Plus is not just any sports car, but it is a mere reflection of Audi’s appreciation for creativity and imagination, combining both to come up with something new and original. BELOW: GLITTER: The Audi showroom at Salwa Road.