It is always nice to meet friends in a foreign land; any such opportunity brings with it a sense of togetherness and bonding. And if the occasion is presenting Pakistan in a successful, shining manner, a glowing sense of pride also becomes a part of the package.
Recently, the ever delightful and enterprising Zeba Husain, Shezray Husain and Shehrnaz Husain did just that in Dubai by expanding their business horizons.
The Husains launched the House of Ensemble — a multi-label boutique that stocks some of the most sought-after designer labels from Pakistan and India — in Dubai. Fashion designers and journalists traveled to D-town to attend the grand opening of the store, welcomed by the signature warmth and smiles of the Husains.
Housed in a villa on main al Wasal Road in Dubai’s upscale Jumeirah 1, the boutique has been launched in partnership with Faiza Malik, Zeba’s sister. The chic store brings together big names from the Pakistani and Indian fashion scene along with some new and cutting edge labels. The store offers the biggest designer collection in town, with over 50 South Asian designers under one roof. The list reads like ‘Who’s Who’ of fashion including Shamaeel, Umar Sayeed, Sana Safinaz, Deepak Perwani, Sabyasachi Mukherjee, Faiza Samee, Ritu Kumar from the big wigs; Nomi Ansari, HSY, Nida Azwer, Rana Noman, Saniya Maskatiaya from the young Turks and Delphi by Nida Tapal and The PinkTree Company representing the cutting-edge chic.
Ensemble offers its in-house cotton casuals from its line One and formal collection Shehrnaz, too.
“The most salient feature is that we present latest trends that are in vogue in home countries like India and Pakistan. Usually, people abroad have this impression that that they are offered old trends. We want to change this perception and offer the latest as in our other stores as we have the largest chain of stores,” explains Shezray. After Karachi and Lahore, now Dubai can easily be called the third city where our fashion finds great demand and an ever-burgeoning market — even before Islamabad. The emirate cannot be a second priority for any smart retailer.
“Our USP is that we are offering the same prices as home countries,” says Shehrnaz. “We are not adding ridiculously high mark-ups as Dubai is just two hours away from Pakistan. There’s a lot of traffic between the two destinations. Dubai fashion savvy women can easily compare the prices and procure from Pakistan. The aim is to provide choice of latest collections for the same prices at their doorstep,” she explains.
It was delightful to meet Raheel Rao, Aamna Haider Isani, Deepak Perwani, Nida Azwer and Nomi Ansari at the event. Umair Tabani, Rabia Samee and Saleha from Faiza Samee, Rana Noman Haq, Fatmah Amir were also present at the Ensemble Dubai launch. Deepak’s bantering, Aamna Isani’s witty commentary and Raheel Rao’s funny observations provided much needed lighter moments in the oppressive heat of the desert. In jest, I tried my best to corrupt Rabia Samee, Faiza’s daughter, but failed miserably. It’s a pleasure to see a child I have known grow into a strong-willed, lovely woman.
I was over the moon as my partner in The PinkTree, Sheena Rizvi and friends Amber Z Khan, Asma Kamal, Sadaf Jalil, Muna Khan, Meena Raza and Zaib Shadani turned up to support The PinkTree Company, which is also stocking at Ensemble Dubai.
We talked, laughed, ate, had wonderful moments and created memories — a few of my favourite things. For lazy dogs like me, work becomes bearable when wrapped in such splendid blessings. And the Ensemble Dubai launch was that and more. It blended business and pleasure in style.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 25th, 2012.
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