#TBT Fashion Week – Mumbai Style #LFW14

Lakme Fashion Week has it all – divas, style, groupies, stars and of course bucket loads of fashion. This time round it also had three of Pakistan’s top designers – Rizwan Beyg, Sania Maskatiya and Zara Shahjahan. Sunday quizzed them about their fashion week experience and all things Mumbai – the food, the shopping, the people and the style.

On fashion week

Rizwan: This was my first time showing at an event of this scale in India. There are similarities and differences between fashion in India and Pakistan but there is more that unites us than separates us. The event was incredibly well organized and the response that we all got was wonderful.
Sania: Lakme Fashion Week is like a well-oiled machine. There are professionals in charge of every step of the process – from IMG Reliance who does the overall management to stylists to set designers. We do pretty well in Pakistan despite not having the same huge budgets but the level of professionalism made showing at Lakme Fashion Week very easy – despite coming in from abroad. We were all made very welcome and Popxo held our hands every step of the way.
Zara: The scale of Lakme Fashion Week is amazing and although we have come a long way in Pakistan, we can learn plenty from the professionalism of fashion week in Mumbai. Every aspect from rehearsal to fittings was timely and well planned. We were assigned a high couture tailor who completed all the alterations within an hour. What was great was the exchange of ideas and meeting new people who are as obsessed by fashion as I am. Their sense of style is so different and yet so similar.

zara shahjahan, sania maskatiya front row at lakme
Frow selfie!


People Spotting
Rizwan:  It was a mix of begums, young kids, students, bloggers and fashion journalists. There was heaps of variety and a very ecclectic approach to style.
Sania: There was a much cooler, laid back vibe in India than we see at fashion week here. I saw a lot of interesting fashion choices and more risk taking.
Zara: The crowd style at Lakme was more casual than fashion week over here, yet very fashion conscious. There were less blow dries and more nonchalant juras. I loved how they would celebrate their cultural identity: for example there was a cool boy who paired a designer blazer with khussas and a girl who juxtaposed a trendy outfit with elaborate mehndhi all the way up her arms.

red carpet at lakme sania and zara
Red Carpet
The shows
Rizwan: The shows ranged from the ridiculous to the sublime. Just like in Pakistan, there are those who understand pattern, cut, design and aesthetic – then there are those that just make clothes. India has its share of bored housewife designers and so-called “celebrity” designers whose claim to fame is based more on their star connections than their design sense. But it also has some truly stellar designers whose embroidery, cut and structure are simply astounding.
Sania:. I was only there for three days and I had a ton of things to do so I had to be very selective about the shows I went to.  The ones I did see such as Gaurav Gupta, Outhouse and Amit Agarwal were really good. In general, I loved the drama that the Indians brought to the ramp and the sheer exuberance of their ramp pieces.

sania maskatiya at lakme
Sania in Kenneth Cole
sania maskatiya at lakme
Frowing – Sania with Priyanka Gill of Popxo
Zara: There were simultaneous shows in different rooms with one being for newer designers and another for more established ones. There were many designers I’d never heard of before. In Pakistan we only hear of a few big names but the Indian fashion industry is huge. 86 designers showed over the four-day event so there was literally something for everyone. It was great to immerse myself in so many different forms of fashion over the week. The best Indian designers really excel at construction and form, something that I think is lacking here. One thing I did notice that many designers used mixed fabric, something that my clientele would have issues with.
Where we stayed
backstage prep for sania maskatiya
Sara Tabani – last minute backstage prep

Sania: We stayed at the Palladium Hotel, which was basically taken over by the fashion fraternity for the week. We were continuously running into big names from the industry and it was so convenient being on site as there was so much to explore in connection with fashion week. Many of the designers had stalls and the organisers Reliance had a wonderful apartment upstairs where we got to experience some luxurious spa treatments.

luxury foot massage at lakme
Luxury foot massages and spa treatment at the LFW apartment

Rizwan: I stayed with my Chacha in Mumbai – he’s a scriptwriter for Sanjay Leela Bhansali and my Phupa is Saira Bano’s brother. My stay was a mixture of Bollywood yesteryear and exploring favourite Mumbai haunts with family, as well as soaking up fashion week.

Zara: We stayed at the Palladium, which is a great location. It was very handy for the shows as I had my little daughter with me. They are very strict with their no-kids policy at Fashion Week so it was great to be able to pop up to her whenever I wanted. As well as the fashion week stalls, there was also a huge mall attached to the hotel with high-end stores including Anita Dongre, Rohit Bal and Satya Paul. It was great to be able to check out what Indian designers are doing in retail terms. Their taste and sensibility are very different from ours and it was interesting to see that their Pret lines are not as developed as ours. Their bridals, however, were literally breathtaking.

zara shahjahan with family at lakme
Zara with her mum and daughter


Where we ate
Sania:  Mekong -A Thai/Pan Asian restaurant at the Palladium Hotel, where fashion week was held. There was so much going on at the venue that we didn’t venture far for meals but this was great. There were fabulous views of Mumbai and we ran into Shilpa Shetty and Sushmita Sen while there.
La Folie -This great boutique bakery is in the Kala Ghoda art precint in Colaba. The chef Sanjana Patel has trained under the likes of Pierre Herme and her desserts are just divine. We couldn’t make it out there but some family friends sent us a selection of their desserts on the day of our show. Simply amazing and a must try whenever you’re in Mumbai.

sania maskatiya, sara tabani, zara shahjahan at lunch in mumbai
Sania, Her sister & Zara


Zara: The Good Earth, which is a little like Khaadi Home but has a restaurant attached. The food was yum and it was an interesting experience because you can buy literally everything in the restaurant. The light fittings, chairs and wall décor all had price tags.
Mahesh Lunch House – they are very famous for their crabs and lobsters. It’s not a very fancy place but the food is delicious.Rizwan: I’m a total foodie so was out every night enjoying a smorgasbord of the most amazing regional cuisine. I ate everything from Gujrati thali to Goan food. My favourites include: Elco Arcade in Bandra for all sorts of chaat. Sev puri, bhel puri, papri chaat – you name it, they have it. Their pav bhaji is absolutely delicious but you really have to go for their pani puri – to be eaten standing at the counter with the server making them as fast as you can eat them. Jimmy Boy –  great for authentic Parsi cuisine. Try the Patra ni Macchi and the Prawn Patio

rizwan beyg in mumbai
At fab Parsi restaurant Jimmy Boy
rizwan beyg in mumbai
Exploring the Shiva Pandal

What we bought

Sania: A few knickknacks and lots and lots of books. There were some great stalls selling the most amazing textile and fashion coffee table books and I must have bought 25 kilos of books. I had to leave them with family friends and ask them to send them somehow because there was no way I could bring so many back with me.
Zara: I bought some lovely cashmere shawls in some very cool prints. I picked up some antique jewellery and ordered some pieces from Outhouse jewellery. I also brought back some yummy Haldiram mithai.
outhouse jewellery mumbai
Shopping at Outhouse
zara shahjahan daughter
Zara’s daughter at Outhouse
zara shahjahan shopping in mumbai
Shopping at Good Earth
Rizwan: I brought back some fabulous South Indian spices from Crawford Market – mace, peppercorn and fresh Keralan spices. I also bought aachars and other foodie goodies.
Mumbai Experiences
The Dahi Handi festival was going on the day we arrived. I’d seen it in the movies of course – when people form a human pyramid to break a matka – but seeing in real life was amazing. There were troupes forming human pyramids in every street. There’d be a group in orange shirts in one street and round the corner another group in purple shirts would be making their own human tower. It was incredibly colourful and fascinating.

indian festival ganpati
The first day of the Ganpati Festival


Bollywood is huge in Mumbai and with family in the industry, it was inevitable that my trip had a Bollywood flavor. I met Ayesha Parekh, Sanjay Leela Bhansali and Amrita Singh. I also spent time with Alia Bhatt’s mum and Sonakshi Sinha’s mum. Fashion is so intertwined with Bollywood that we had some fascinating discussions. While I met some fascinating people, I’m not a fan of the Bollywood showstopper effect on Indian fashion. In Pakistan we sell based on design and aesthetic rather than celebrity endorsement.
rizwan beyg with friends in mumbai
Rizwan with Masaba, her mum, and Alia Bhatt’s mum Soni
rizwan beyg with farida jalal in mumbai
Rizwan with Farida Jalal
rizwan beyg with sanjay leela bhansali in mumbai
Rizwan with Sanjay Leela Bhansali
rizwan with friend in mumbai
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rizwan beyg with saira bano in mumbai
Rizwan with Saira Bano
Although I was in India earlier in the year, this trip was all about fashion week. It was great to immerse myself in everything that was happening. Wandering around backstage and during fashion week, I was able to see many of the outfits up close and was struck by the sheer excellence of the best designers. The invisible seams, the flawless finishing, the boning and structure for some of their pieces were all remarkable. I also enjoyed meeting and seeing so many famous Indians including Manish Malhotra, Shilpa Shetty and Sushmita Sen. My friends were totally embarrassed when I went up to Shilpa in a restaurant and introduced myself but she was absolutely charming.

sania maskatiya with shilpa shetty in mumbai
Starstruck – Sania with Shilpa Shetty
sania maskatiya mumbai
Running into famous faces all over the hotel


The collections
All three Pakistani designers chose to stay very true to their signatures and showed collections that were reflections of their own sense of style. Zara showed florals, Sania showed digital prints in contemporary silhouettes and Rizwan showed Truck Art. There are those who argue that it’s time for Rizwan to move on from truck art but as long as he’s innovating and is still inspired by it, it’s not for anyone to dictate to any designer. After all even Chanel reinvents its signature suits and pearls every season but you never hear anyone tell Chanel to move on from pearls.
Rizwan Beyg
Rizwan Beyg Lakme Fashion Week 2014

Rizwan Beyg chose to show a wearable, pret collection rather than his delicate embroidered couture collection. We’ve seen variations of this pret Truck art theme at the last two PFDC fashion weeks but this time Rizwan added a sari, a dhoti shalwar and various other Indian-inspired elements. The vibrant colours and trendy cuts were a major hit with the Indian crowd. With price points starting at InRs5,000 and an emphasis on being able to produce large numbers, Beyg received a lot of interest from local and international buyers and multi-brand stores interested in carrying his line. The stars of his collection, as in Pakistan, were the accessories. It seems like every fashionista wants those bags and shoes in her wardrobe. Here’s hoping they become more readily available on both sides of the border.

Zara Shahjahan
Zara Shahjahan Lakme Fashion Week 2014

Zara Shahjahan showed a pretty mix of semi-formals and formals based on her signature vintage florals. For once she seemed to allow herself complete creative freedom and the result is collection that is as fresh and inspired as it is bankable. With trendy cuts and an ethereal prettiness, this was a beautiful show.

Sania Maskatiya
Sania Maskatiya Lakme Fashion Week 2014

Inspired by Japanese culture and symbolism, Sania Maskatiya’s Sakura collection  featured bespoke prints and a variety of cuts and textures. Using earthy tones of taupe, ocre and navy Sania showed a mix of wide legged pants, tapered trousers, short jackets and flowy tops. The collection was brought together by little touches like obi-style belts for a look that was modern yet subtly oriental.

Click here to view their collections.

The business of fashion
All three designers agreed that fashion week in Mumbai is much more about the business of fashion than it is over here. Since cross border trade is still a problem, all their discussions were about potential collaborations but in general there were many buyers at Lakme Fashion Week and there was a general focus on promoting and selling fashion.

zara shahjahan family
Zara’s mum and her daughter crossing the border


Copyright 2015 Karachista. All rights reserved
Karachista Staff
Karachista Staffhttps://karachista.com
Team Karachista - keeping you up-to-date with the best of Pakistani Fashion & Lifestyle

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