Around Town

Raffles Graduate Show 2016

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From Sari inspired gowns to embroidered numbers, to a variety of fun monochrome prints and Korean inspired stories depicted in ensembles to commentary on dystopic future, Raffles graduate show came together under the theme of Synergy Read the rest of this entry »

Flourishing Blurs by INAAYA

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While I am in Karachi on vacations, admist attending collection exhibitions and store openings, INAAYA‘s exhibit does come in for a refreshing change from all that. Inaaya’s Naushaba Brohi, prides in the use of craft within her collection. The basic notion of the brand lies on the fact that it elevates the use of craft within the contemporary arena.

What I liked about Brohi’s approach is the value she asserts towards these crafts is something that I, being a textile and a craft lover and enthusiast personally feel and resonate with. Infact one of my master’s project was based on tensions between craft and modernity, a fine balance that Naushaba brohi seems to have struck.  Her latest venture, wherein she took accessories made under her brand INAAYA from stores within an art space is one such step in her efforts to do so. Kind of reminds me of Issey Miyake who tends to showcase his pieces within art spaces and as installation, apart from fashion shows, blurring those lines between how fashion should be presented.

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Bloggers Eid Spreeeee!!!!

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With Eid just around the corner, us 4 friends, Maliha Rao, Umair Mirza, Rabeeyah and myself (all of us who also happen to be bloggers) decided to check out what is up and out there this Eid. Our first stop was Ocean Mall where we first splashed :P. Splash had a good range, a bit steeply priced, but good nevertheless menswear with some interesting textural and easy jackets and printed cotton shirts. They also had a quite a bit of variety of knitted ties. There was a lace shirt in women’s section that I liked and was this close to getting it… remember Burberry 😛 I also liked these round pair of sunnies that were cute and fun priced for 1250 PKR only.

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Get your print On!

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When a luxury pret and a customized clothing designer forays into a pret wear all eyes are on him how he would translate his aesthetic within the affordability without compromising the quality. Luckily for us, Zaheer Abbas’s attention to detail and penchant for perfection puts all those fears to rest. While he has experienced designing lawn by collaborating with a textile mill, one that died down without creating much impact…this one however hits much closer to designer’s aesthetic and notions of what something that comes out of his design house should be like.

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Hair by Paul Anthony

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I finally found a hair stylist… and he is BLOODY GOOD…

For all of you those who know me, know that one thing I am all finicky about, after my clothes, is my hair. Moving to Sydney that was one of the things I was worried about!  duh!! you need a haircut. Looking around where is what and how and going through quite a few pages (read alot) and portfolios I stumbled upon Paul Anthony and that too on Instagram from all the places.

Owing to certain past experiences, I am always worried about trying out new places concerning my hair and this was no different. However Paul pretty much puts you at ease once you walk in. A brief consultation on what would look good and what not and  how to go about it, you are pretty much on the way to good hair. A line that is not used by me for many but Paul knows his stuff. He knows what he is doing, what would work, what would not. Providing hair styling services to both men and women, this daredevil hairstylist has been at running his own salon for over a year now and worked his magic over several weaves. From giving customized advice to achieving the best possible result, you could see that he loved what he did (not many people can claim that) and is dedicated to the craft. As far as I am concerned, he gives you product suggestions..what to use, what not to, what would suit the hair and gave me tips and tricks to how to control my mop (we all know these curlies can go pretty wild after the day). It was pretty much a no brainer for me why I would go to him again after seeing my hair after 6 hours of going around town and going about my day and they retained their shape. Yayyyee!!!

For someone as finicky as me, I can now say that your hair is definitely in good hands. Located easily in Diamant Hotel in Potts Point, If you need your hair taken care of, and you are in Sydney.. hop over to his Salon


Its off to the Races…

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The culture of Races seem to have been prevalent in Australia for a while now but its influence into mainstream fashion is one of the most recent developments that I have come across here. First at Vogue Fashion Night out, GQ did a styling put together session around menswear for races and this time it was TOPSHOP to do the same. For those who are not aware of the fashion at the races, its smart, structured, chic and polished experimenting within that same area without going too crazy or outlandish. As Kate Waterhouse said at the event, its all about elegance.

At the recent launch of their STEP INTO SPRING event, one got to see a lot of monochrome dresses, structured separates as well as layered ones as well which could be styled easily with some chic accessories, a headpiece and killer heels. The collection centering around races also saw printed dresses and lace themed ones too. I also found out that the store had two in-house personal shoppers who could be booked for sessions as well as would be around store to help out depending on the occasion.  Its all about understated polished look and TopShop provided quite a lot of options for women to choose from.


Over to the menswear section, one saw prints making quite the bang with printed ties and pocket squares with herringbone and tweed suits with classic notch lapel in checks and windowpanes. And guys step out of the black, blues and navy are such better alternatives with keeping it classic without looking stuckup or boring. For much more experimental ones, it was floral jackets and printed shirts and some really fun and extra downward pointed bowties that were rather unusual but fun to add that certain jazz to any look (need to go back to get one for myself).

The event wrapped up with Kate Waterhouse sharing her race experiences and the fashion to follow giving suggestions as to what and how could ladies hit the races with panache without going overboard. One useful tip: break into your heels before you decide to take them for a spin at the races

*Also a shoutout to the nectar&stone… those boutique chocolates were bang on perfect.

*Images by TopShop

VFNO Sydney

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So while in Australia, my first brush with the retail fashion industry came via the Vogue Fashion Night Out or VFNO. With various events taking place at different stores around the city, it wasn’t quite possible for me to go around everyone of them, therefore I attended the various events that were taking place at David Jones store, and boy am I glad I decided to stay there. While there were many activities going around, it was impossible to attend them all. During the course of the VFNO, I attended two fashion presentations (a menswear and a womenswear) and a styling workshop of sorts regarding suiting. For menswear the summer looks presentation consisted of casual looks put together by the GQ team for the upcoming summer months. One of the major trends to note was the summer scarf … hmm.. *eyeing the scarves I brought from back home*. Interestingly layers in summers  (something I am not too keen on but was actually convinced through the presentation) were predicted to make fun relaxed statements. The casuals were polished with little bit of hipster quirk added to them with summer trends that are bound to hit Australia. What caught my eye were as usual the accessories… shoes and esp one of the patterned knit ties. The womenswear presentations included rtw pieces that were onspot with the key metallic trends and smart tailoring.

On one of the other levels, a styling workshop was done where a fashion presentation of suits took place. Hardy Ames, Zegna all styled and presented keeping in mind the suits and with a slight nod to the races that seemed to be one of the major highlights of the presentation. While one may see women all decked up at Royal Ascot races, the presentation gave various options for men…afterall why should girls have all the fun 😉 . The presentation also gave some nifty options that diverted from the usual suits that men tend to choose. These options with just bits of change ups were styled well and fit to almost perfection. A hint of color, a peek of pattern with a good fit to the conservative suit, steered it from being ‘boring.’ The store itself offered those services of slight alterations to the suit, because with the suit, it is all about a good fit that makes all the differed. To top it all, shoe shine and shave within the store, couldn’t get any luxe than that.

I also attended a QnA panel of designers.. Marc from Camilla and Marc, Gary Bigeni and Designers from Ginger and Smart. They talked about their collections that were also stocked at the stores, the inspirations behind it and what challenges they face as practitioners. Just before the panel, I did manage to check out some of their ensembles and trust me ladies! you definitely would not want to miss it.

Sadly I could not stay for longer ‘cos had some work to attend to… masters ain’t easy guys!


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Moving to another city can always be a daunting experience for some… settling in and all comes with its own set of fears.. I, however, have just begun to settle in sydney and just found out about this collaboration of indie artists, musicians, up coming fashion makeup and hair stylists, and performance artists all coming together under one roof. RAW artist is basically just that, a collaboration that travels many major cities providing up coming local artists an oppurtunity and a platform to show themselves off…and whats more is someone from city can showcase in another one too. I, for one, found out about the exhibit since one of my colleagues was having her fashion presentation and I for one, am always up to provide support provided I like the work. There were quite a many artists, some sculptural, others with their paintings that made up for the whole exhibit.  While there were quite a bit of performances which stretched the event a wee bit more than required, I did stay back for the fashion presentation. The designers showcased four to five pieces with the finale being more…

HOLLY EVA Holly eva Showcased a line of tribal necklaces with basics. However what was interesting was the styling that was a mix of a modern retro with a splash of vintage that elevated the whole thing to another level. The visual artist worked with a variety of materials for these pieces some being quite the punchy statements and definitely not everyone’s cup of tea.


LAURA PRICE: One of the wearable ones of the lot, this young grad took onto the centre stage with minimal ideas woven into a very retail friendly thought. While the wrap dress definitely made for a good statement, the separates sort of demanded a better fit and I wanted to see more (or maybe it was the model who did not seem too interested). The menswear were identical and blended into the presentation but could have been styled better, but definitely someone I would like to see more from. The sombre color palette was kinda interesting but they styling lacked a certain finesse and fierceness, which it needed.


SURFACE & SYMBOL Maria’s clothes RTW presentation was clean and simple without any unnecessary drama. The nude/gold color palette with coral accents worked well along with the almost self print that she used gave it a bit of dimension. A note… the opening piece, the jumpsuit, was definitely fitted very well, quite the feat that many still miss a beat on. The capsule presentation was cohesive and ready to be sent out to the stores. My only gripe was the tunic with a jacket, the model wasn’t too great in terms of presenting it, therefore defeated the purpose of the whole shapelessness of it.


VIVIAN TUNG The futuristic vibe of Vivian Tung’s presentation was hard to miss with the first garment itself that made its way to the presentation. All in white, the young tung (rhyme!! much) used a variety of materials into an interesting mix of shapes that were from hard edged to flared. From plastics to to fabric, the combination was quite effortless also thanks to the styling that paid an ode to the ice queens.. It was interesting to see how young designers are moving towards exploration of materials for fashion …  this futuristic bitch could switch her feminine side in a flick.


Another futuristic collection that made excellent use of light in presentation. Dissonance was probably the only one out of all who’s music complimented the whole presentation. With the acidic femme fatale feel, the brand made use of what seemed like materials upscaled for fashion garments. At many points they succeeded too with the origamic projections and shapes, what worked in their favor was the containment to just two colors of acidic green and black that played off visually brilliantly against each other. While clothes were a bit experimental, I would not be surprised if the brave ones step out on in it.

With her oriental influences and sharp lines, Seri Lee’s presentation (the finale) was much more than your average presentation. A performance art overlapped into it, the whole setting with the fashion presentation was interesting and one surprisingly never overpowered the other. The japanes influences and some attempt at deconstruction was clearly evident from the garments that were a mix of menswear and womenswear. With clean patterns and cultural references, the show made one sit up precisely because it made you expect the unexpected as to what would models do next. From martial arts positions to graduating to catwalk, it was an interesting transformation. I definitely liked quite a few statement menswear pieces that I could probably style my way. Nicely done.

A special shoutout to Vanessa Bailey who was doing special effects makeup on spot throughout the event and presented two models. One of the better makeup jobs that I have seen. Hollywood are you listening??

Desi Love

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Possibly the last event I attended before leaving…and one am glad I did. Gulabo is a brand associated with all things desi kitsch, especially truck art. With a brand with such strong identity, it is easy to get stagnant with a similar vibe. However Gulabo by Maheen Khan has steadily foraying into desi kitsch done really well (evident from the collections they have presented on runways) inspired by the love of all things Pakistan. The brand recently launched two lines namely Rangeela and Shaam foraying into further expansion of the brand

Gulabo by Rizwan ul haq

For someone who is a fan of print and that too in menswear, the novelty fun prints, esp the road map ones that I always wanted for men (talk about wish coming true) and the chainak (desi kettles) came as a fun respite from the usual solids or the usual safe prints we are served for menswear. For someone who has to get novelty fun prints customized, this came as such a fun addition to the retail market. The RANGEELA line was fun with its prints but sadly I couldn’t get my hands on one before leaving.

Rangeela by Rizwan ul haq

The SHAAM line as the name signifies is a much more simpler elegant line for evening wear that could be dressed up or down as pleased. The basic tunics in silks could be paired with skinnys, add in a smoky eyes and some chunky jewellery and you are good to go without much fuss. Others included white and golds as well as prints combined with signature Maheen Khan embroideries. As quoted.. “SHAAM, the evening wear collection for women, has been designed for the on trend woman who loves both traditional and contemporary styles and is looking for something classy…” Furthermore from the signature printed accessories, it was the canvas monotone truck art printed cross body bags that stood out for me.

Go all out this EID!! Pricing for clothes range from PKR.4,000 and above and PKR.1,000 and above for accessories and bags.

PR and marketing was done by Samra Muslim  of Walnut Communications