Trends: What’s popping in prêt this summer?



In the midst of all the madness, there’s a burgeoning crowd of women that no longer wants to put together the jigsaw puzzle called designer lawn.

For some, even the hype and hoopla is not enough incentive to brave the madding crowd of lawn-lovers, devise a savvy way to deal with an increasingly complicated concoction of fabric, match wits with a no-good tailor and eventually, come up with an ensemble that 20 other women are wearing!

With life whizzing by break-neck, sometimes it’s just easier to veer towards convenient ready-to-wear, in Small, Medium and Large – especially considering the fabulous options that are currently filtering into the market. Here’s what pops, entrances and sparkles in the prêt line-ups for the summer:

Sania Maskatiya’s digital garden

—Photo courtesy: Sania Maskatiya's official Facebook page
—Photo courtesy: Sania Maskatiya’s official Facebook page

Butterflies, concentric wires, horses, boats and eclectic florals drift about Sania Maskatiya’s ongoing range of cotton and lawn tunics. Prices are generally around Rs 5000 and the color palette is diverse.

There’s more coming from the label in the next few weeks, with its lawn for Al-Karam launching into the market – not just as unstitched cloth but also in stitched, three-piece versions!

Separate capsule lines for Al-Karam will also become a regular feature. With so much to offer, the Sania Maskatiya brand is probably going to be a summer favorite. And we’re certainly going to enjoy eliminating the tailor from the process of wearing lawn.

What we’d like to see: Mixing colors and print is Sania’s forte but we’d love to see her dabble with newer silhouettes with her ready-to-wear. Aside from the basic convenient tunic it’d be fun to pick and choose from a selection of those tricky hemlines and capes from the catwalk, trickled down to the affordable realms of prêt.

Coco for the funky

Zara Shahjahan’s Coco is a veritable candy-store for the hip sartorialist. There are jungle prints, toucans and cats peeping about her cotton tunics. There are also eye-catching inspirations from Sally Spratt’s ‘The Lust List’, with heels, lipsticks and handbags dotted about in digital print.

Zara Shahjahan's store in Karachi —Photo courtesy: Zara Shahjahan
Zara Shahjahan’s store in Karachi —Photo courtesy: Zara Shahjahan

Embellishments are slight: buttons, small golden chains at the collar and shoulder lapels. Coco, with prices beginning at Rs 3500, defines precisely how we like our printed tunics: tongue-in-cheek, saucy and utter head-turners. The upcoming ‘Coco Ethnic’ line, bound to toe more conventional lines, doesn’t interest as much but it will probably appease traditionalists.

What we’d like to see: More of Coco, on scarves and lowers, to accessorize our funky tunics!

Quintessentially pretty lines by Nida Azwer

Nida Azwer’s typically pretty summer lines feature the usual flora and fauna, birds, musical instruments, architectural inspirations, block-prints and shirts worked with traditional rilli.

Also in the offing are her stitched lawn capsules, all priced under Rs 5000, and traversing prints inspired by Turkish pottery, ceramics and winding, feminine trellises.

—Publicity photo
—Publicity photo

What we’d like to see: Greater innovation from Nida for while she may have nailed the market for pretty, retail-friendly ready-to-wear she needs to diversify and catch the eye of the fashionably adventurous client.

Sonya Battla traverses Manora

Collaborating with artist Nazia Khan and taking inspiration from her watercolors on ‘Manora’, Sonya’s ongoing capsule by the same name dabbles with silks and cotton nets, blending colors to create the effect of paint on fabric.

The rustic Manora skyline borders a hem or appears in a haze of grays on a short silk jacket or seeps across the length of a slinky silk dress. Prices lean towards the high, beginning at Rs 5000 but rocketing upto Rs 20000 for the dressier pieces.

—Publicity photo
—Publicity photo

Then again, this is a one-of-a-kind line that, according to Sonya, is diligently constructed piece by piece. Like the Manora island itself, a part of Karachi but with an identity of its own, Sonya’s ‘Manora’ is extremely wearable and yet, exudes a distinctive verve of its own.

What we’d like to see: A slice of that delectable ‘Manora’ aesthetic also translated to Sonya’s affordable high-street label ‘Kaju’. Additionally, this collection is absolutely cutting-edge and needs to be available, even if in limited quantities, at retail locations across the country rather than just through Sonya’s flagship store in Karachi.

Shamaeel Ansari’s ‘Metropolis’ for lawn

Shamaeel Ansari’s regal, elaborate signature stands out in her stitched ‘Metropolis’ lawn line, reminiscent of her recent catwalk outings and emulated through a mix of prints and embroidery that not many designers can nail.

This is statement evening-wear and prices are on the high-side, varying from about Rs 7000 to Rs 15000.

There are embroideries and prints inspired by William Morris’ floral wallpapers, entire shirts embellished along the lines of antique kilims, distressed ikat prints, Baroque florals, Mughal miniatures and printed jewelry melding into exuberant phulkari.

Some of the prints are available as unstitched three-pieces although this is a predominantly stitched collection, with optional scarves and dupattas, retailed in limited numbers at Shamaeel’s flagship store in Karachi and at select multi-labels in Lahore, Faisalabad and Islamabad.

What we’d like to see: An even more economical version of ‘Metropolis’ targeted towards the masses, showing the world just how trendsetting retail can be!

Clothes that invariably work at Sana Safinaz

From formal silks to semi-formal tunics, the Sana Safinaz high-street offerings have all the elegance that one associates with the brand. Flitting about a Rs 6000 price range, there’s something for every woman; bursts of shocking pinks and limes and plenty of beiges and bronze and embellishments that never go overboard.

—Photo courtesy: Sana Safinaz official Facebook page
—Photo courtesy: Sana Safinaz official Facebook page

What we’d like to see: Tunics are an inevitable part of the Pakistani woman’s wardrobe but there are far too many of them at the Sana Safinaz stores. As one of the country’s most coveted brands, we’d like to see the designer-duo venture into more adventurous territory. Newer silhouettes and hemlines would be a welcome change and we’d certainly love to see more of that jungle-esque line by Mohsin Ali for Sana Safinaz at last year’s Fashion Pakistan Week.

Deepak Perwani

Deepak Perwani’s range of digitally printed lawn tunics offer pretty, breezy summer options, featuring geometrics, jewelry and inevitably, florals. Prices remain under Rs 5000 and in true Deepak Perwani style, there is no over-embellishment.

What we’d like to see: The current line-up hardly stands out but Deepak promises that this is just a teaser and there is much more that’s coming up: prints inspired by Sicily and a capsule dedicated to the aquamarine hues of Hala. Those are the tunics that we hope to stock into our wardrobes for the long summer ahead.

High-street highs and lows

Khaadi Spring/Summer 2015 collection. —Publicity photo
Khaadi Spring/Summer 2015 collection. —Publicity photo

Clustered in the market, of course, are also a multitude of high-street retailers: Khaadi, Sapphire, Generation, Daaman, Sheep, Gul Ahmed, Bonanza’s Satrangi, Kayseria and Nishat Linen, with a constant flow of stock which may not always push the envelope but is certainly easy-to-wear.

Comfortable tunics are the order of the day and occasionally, one spies interesting designs: clusters of printed pink flamingoes at Sapphire, monochrome outlined with pink embroideries at Gul Ahmed, brilliant shades of yellow and turquoise at Khaadi, quirky saccharine hues at Satrangi and playful prints and pleats at Daaman.

A brand that has recently come into its own is Generation, revamping its image with some very interesting lines, such as the blue-based ‘Indigo Dreams’ and the geometrics that define the recent ‘Streamlines’ line.

Another favorite, Maheen Khan’s insouciant ‘Gulabo’, can always be counted on to deliver a kitschy, saucy statement.


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