Pakistani Showbiz

The Kapoor sisters join the lawn wars

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It’s Kareena vs. Karisma – which sister do you like better?

One’s the current toast of Bollywood, the other’s a yesteryear hit heroine. They’re both doe-eyed and fair-skinned — a combination that most Pakistanis find hard to resist — and lo and behold, they’re wearing the same clothes!

Unknowingly, designer Faraz Manan has managed to pit the Kapoor sisters against each other. In a strange twist of events, both sisters can be seen advertising the same lawn print — one’s wearing the original, the other, the replica.

“Kareena Kapoor is our brand ambassador for Crescent Lawn and before her, it was Karisma,” says Faraz, the designer behind the hit Crescent Lawn. “It’s so strange that Habiba Fashion, an Indian company selling our replicas, chose to hire Karisma to model the same prints that her sister’s also modeled this year.”

“Why did they even bother? They could have just used our images and saved themselves the cost,” laughs Faraz.

But is not exactly a laughing matter for the Kapoor sisters. It doesn’t bode well for Karisma’s image to be associated with a copycat brand and according to Faraz, the Kapoors’ PR company is taking the matter very seriously.

Didn’t Karisma realize that she was wearing the same print as her sister? “How could she? Both sisters do such extensive modeling work in India, they can hardly keep tabs on each other’s various campaigns,” points out Faraz.

This new development is just another episode adding to Crescent Lawn’s trysts with copycats this year. Earlier, the lawn’s prints were ‘stolen’ prior to its official release, replicated and made available in the market just three days following the original lawn’s launch. Aficionados could go and buy the Rs 6000 original; penny-pinchers could satisfy themselves with the Rs 2000 similar but not-as-pretty copycat print.

“Fortunately, business hasn’t suffered because of these replicas,” says Faraz. “Even though we are just a three year old brand, we’ve managed to build a loyal clientele who only want to buy the original.”

But in the long run, business may very well suffer. Even loyalists can get tired of seeing replicated versions of their expensive suits, worn by all and sundry. Copies are veritably the biggest threat faced by designer lawn at present. The designs for seasonal collections are kept hidden away until the very last moment, lest copycats get hold of them and quickly begin creating cheaper versions. This year, designer Khadijah Shah changed the date for her Elan lawn’s private launch so that it took just two days prior to the lawn’s market release. She couldn’t risk letting her designs out too many days beforehand and have the copies selling in the market on the same day as the release.

“If the copies come into the market a few weeks after the original, customers have gotten the chance to have first dibs on their suits. They’ve enjoyed them and probably worn them already. To have the copy releasing around the same time as the original is very unfortunate,” observes Faraz.

Coco Chanel likened copying to flattery and Crescent, then, has been paid a huge compliment by being ripped off not just in Pakistan but also in neighboring India. Is the brand going to do anything about it? “I guess we’ll have to take it as a compliment,” shrugs Faraz. The lawn’s been sold and so have the copies. And in the absence of lawn copyright laws, there’s not much else that can be done.

All’s fair in love and war… and these are, after all, the lawn wars.

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