Maheen Karim and Sanam Chaudri launch pret lines for Bonanza – Pakistani High Street Fashion takes off

Maheen Karim chanelling the Black & White trend

My next post was sooo going to be about something other than fashion but it is such a busy month fashion-wise. Besides I do so love fashion and some of my favourite designers have been very busy indeed. Today saw the launch of pret by Maheen Karim and Sanam Chaudri for Bonanza.

 This Maheen Karim outfit was selling out fast

This collaboration has been generating a buzz in fashion circles for months now. Bonanza has an extensive retail network in Pakistan while Maheen and Sanam are some of Pakistan’s “Bright Young Things” of Fashion. Surely a marriage made in heaven, with retail firepower meeting high fashion.

One of several exciting “high-street fashion” lines launched by top designers, these two lines by Bonanza are part of a sea of change that is freeing fashion lovers from the torturous process of trying to explain fashion concepts to darzis (tailors).
Maheen Karim in my fave design

So today’s launch saw each designer launch a total of seven designs in a variety of colours. Maheen’s line was attractive and most pieces had a fab luxurious vibe. She played with both colour and cut and produced some striking designs. When we spoke she explained that she had personally taken charge of the line from fabric and prints to cuts and execution. She herself wore a gorgeous piece that everyone had their eyes on.

She showed a mixture of longer and shorter lengths and had included a pretty “cape over a shorter shirt” combination that looked great once worn. Hopefully they’ll display it on a dummy in store because it was one of those designs that looks distinctly underwhelming on the hanger.

Three very different Maheen Karim designs

Maheen Karim’s set also included a couple of simpler long shirts with printed collars and cuffs with a little embroidery. While theses were pretty and wearable, I felt that her other designs were stronger. I feel this line should push the envelope as Bonanza is already doing a lot of “pretty and wearable” outfits in their “Satrangi” line which has a wide range of designs available in-store.

Sanam Chaudri at the launch (from her twitter)

Sanam Chaudri’s clothes were comparatively edgier, with a couple of eye-catching silver studded designs. The cut of one of these designs was a little too tent-like but the other was very sleek if a little too simple. Someone wearing it at the launch had jazzed it up with a pretty scarf which took the outfit to a new level. She also showed some pretty embroidered pieces and shorter kurtas. Her colour palette was bold with bright fuschia and turquoise. Her cuts may not be everyone’s cup of tea, particularly as she included too many unstructured pieces. On the whole however I think she admirably hit the brief of offering something a little different from the run-of-the-mill pret usually available in this price range.

Each design by both designers will have a production of 80-100 pieces initially. The designers will be sending new designs to stores every couple of weeks. They will be available at 4 Bonanza stores to begin with: Zamzama and Dolmen Mall in Karachi, one in Lahore and one in Islamabad.

Starting at Rs3500, the designs are wearable, versatile and varied. They will be available in sizes from Small through to Extra Large, which Maheen Karim says uses the same sizing techniques as her general line.
Ayesha Farooq Hashwani in Sanam Chaudri (pic from Sanam’s twitter)

Organised by Catalyst PR, the launch was buzzing. It was particularly lovely to see Ayesha Farooq Hashwani and Sania Maskatiya wearing designs from the new ranges. I love the way the new crop of designers support each other – so positive and rather sweet.

All pics my own unless otherwise stated
Copyright 2015 Karachista. All rights reserved
Salima Feerasta
Salima Feerasta
Salima Feerasta is chief editor of and one of Pakistan's top fashion and lifestyle journalists.

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