The most cumbersome aspect of Asmaa Mumtaz’s salon, The Dresser, is its highly obscure location; its huddled away somewhere off Ferozepur Road and nobody quite knows how to get there.
But when The Dresser turned one this week, Mumtaz went around the area and painted neon green signs and arrows directing her select clientele through the serpentine route to this little haven. It was quite fitting to feel that you were on a treasure hunt at your friend’s birthday party. Only this time your present was a funky soho-esque salon, where an array of delectable yummies awaited with an evening full of pampering. Surely, there can’t be a better way to turn one!
“We, women have just too many issues,” laughs the pop pink-lipped stylista. “If it’s not the husband and in-laws, then it’s the kids. If not them, then work or friends. Hence I have The Dresser tucked away from the world where you can come relax, weep, indulge and basically do whatever you need to feel special.”
A fun-filled fiesta
One could sense exactly what she meant, when one saw a popular journalist huddled with the Paper Magazine editors, distressed and gesticulating wildly about a personal issue; designer Maheen Kardar narrated elatedly of her encounter with Vogue’s Anna Wintour; and when model Rabia Butt joined in, the fashionistas hugged her to congratulate her recent Lux Style Awards victory. It felt like the Lahore version of the female classic “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” being staged out.
The delectable delights
Tables full of devilishly decadent cake and an assortment of mini cup cakes in Mumtaz’s signature pop pink and neon green icing, along with delicious bruschetta with olive and sun-dried tomatoes were a perfect offering for the hip crowd that kept nibbling, talking and laughing, and then talked and joked more. The food was endless as was the conversation.
Songs of praise
For women like designer Maria B, who have seen Mumtaz grow from strength to strength, it was a proud moment. “I’ve seen Ashoo develop from a young muse for my brand, M. Girl, to a stylist. I’ve observed her through her personal and professional growth and she continues to be a muse for me and my brand with her personal strength and talent,” said the designer.
Special services for special people
Despite its exclusivity (as one could assess from the women invited), the services at The Dresser are at par with other salons, but are inherently special as they use Mumtaz’s uniquely brewed concoctions deliciously titled Coco Loco and Cheeni Weeni (amongst a host of other creative appellations) for their facials and massages. A tantalising aroma of cinnamon and spices wafted through the cosy confines of the salon as Mumtaz’s close companions sat comfortably ensconced in over-sized sofas getting complementary massages. Even Redah Misbah of Depilex, an obvious rival, was quick to point out, “Ashoo’s a friend and what she does is supremely exclusive. There’s no place like this in the country where they create their own products.” Guests were also treated to Mumtaz’s signature pop candy rouge that she created on the spot for each of the ladies there.
The most heart-warming aspect of the evening was that young and successful women from beauty and fashion partied like little school girls without any professional and personal rivalry just to celebrate the success of their own kind. And this is precisely what girl power is all about: frills, fun and focus.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 5th, 2011.