For the past one hour, possibly more, I have been struggling to make a folder of my recent pictures taken in Karachi and Goa, so I could share a few images with my blogdosts. Zero success!! It is totally frustrating. My daughters are much too busy these days to help out. One leaves for Doha tonight. Another has a date. That leaves moi, tearing her freshly shampooed hair in rage. Not that it helps. Last year on Mahashivratri, I was at the historic Babulnath temple with Arundhati. God knows what those sadhus were smoking ( chillums were involved ), but both of us came home pretty light headed after inhaling a great deal of some sweet smelling smoke!
I wanted to post my Imran Khan column here, but for some reason it is stuck as an image in 'My Pictures'. Don't ask!!
Better luck tomorrow???
‘Lawn Wars’ across the border…
Forget our Fashion Week Wars during which famous desi designers go for each other’s throats and are ready to kill rivals for crimes ranging from stealing designs to bribing models. That’s a piece of toast compared to the ‘Lawn Wars’ currently raging in Pakistan. Wars that are fought so fiercely by competing fashion designers, they make our U.P. Elections skirmishes look like a Teddy Bear’s picnic. Question number one: what is ‘Lawn’? Question number two: Why are Pakistani designers clawing each other’s eyes out over it? ‘Lawn’ is to Pakistan, what silk is to India. ‘Lawn’ is pure cotton of a superb quality. The arrival of new ‘Lawns’ in the market is a ritual that is greatly anticipated by women since it coincides with Spring.This quaint tradition goes back several decades. ‘Lawn’ is nothing more than a printed mill fabric that fuels the textile industry in Pakistan. Gul Ahmed in Karachi is possibly the biggest ‘Lawn’ brand. While Gul Ahmed caters to the mass market and is astonishingly well priced, it is the smaller, more niche units that attract designers, who tie up with the mill to create distinctive prints, which are packaged and sold as three piece suits ( shalwar-kameez-dupatta). These suits are further embellished with decorative patches, lace and embroideries. Designers try and create a new look ‘Lawn’ every year, and that’s when the wars begin. Driving into Karachi from the airport, I noted that nearly every large hoarding featured ads for Designer Lawn Exhibitions. These monumental sales are conducted under especially erected tents on gigantic grounds or fancy halls. Think Rohit Bal hiring half of Azad Maidan to display his new collection. That’s the scale! Designers fight tooth and nail for dates to launch their Lawns, and hold press conferences before this momentous event. The system is pretty well oiled. Customers stream into these exhibitions and survey the new Lawn suits displayed on store mannequins. They then make their pick and get coupons according to a series of numbers.After queuing up in serpentine lines armed with those coupons, clients finally get their hot,little hands on selected suits! Complicated? Perhaps. But that’s how it goes. Did I bring back ‘Lawn’ suits? You bet! But I bought mine at crowded local markets ( much more fun!). I only hope they are the genuine article and not made in China!
The fashion scene in Karachi is very vibrant with several top notch designers creating beautiful, well finished garments at affordable prices. Heading the fraternity is Maheen, a striking lady, who is known as the Coco Chanel of Pakistan. Immaculately dressed at all times, Maheen has enjoyed a great deal of international success ( she designed the costumes for ‘Alexander’), and has her own label ‘Gulabo’ that promotes Truck Art ( very uniquely Karachi).More than that, she mentors young designers and steers the Karachi Fashion Week with enormous aplomb. Along with Shamaeel Ansari ( another hugely successful designer), Maheen has created a strong brand for Pakistani fashion and is looking forward to showing in India soon. Inshallah, it will happen.
The Balls in Karachi are something else! Yes, Balls! Imagine the incongruity of it all. Socialites throng to these glamourous events which are generally linked to fund raising initiatives and patronized by the rich and famous, who turn up in all their finery for these officially ‘dry’ functions ( remember: no booze, we are Pakistani), but at which Scotch ( a national obsession) surreptitiously flows like the Sutlej. Will our own socialites please organize a few Balls immediately?? We need to catch up!!
I was wondering where I’d landed when the lovely ,young PIA flight attendant repeatedly announced the arrival of our flight at ‘Chitrapati Shivji’ International airport! Pass me the Scotch, please…