In love with fashion from across the border? Warm up your credit card because it’s no longer necessary to beg for a visa to indulge in your love for Indian style. The best of Indian fashion, from superstar designers to emerging stars, is now just a click away. Pernia’s Pop-Up Shop, India’s answer to Net-a-Porter, offers a stunning range of clothes and accessories picked by Indian stylist Pernia Qureshi.
Pernia may be just 28, but she has swept onto the Indian fashion scene like a force of nature. She moved back to India in 2008 after post-graduation stints at the hottest fashion mags in New York, and then worked with the likes of Tarun Talhiani and JJ Valaya. But what really made India sit up and take notice was when she styled the 2010 film Aisha. Pernia dressed star Sonam Kapoor in Dior and Chanel, and her unique cosmopolitan high fashion aesthetic has been in the limelight ever since. Within a few short years, she has proved that she is a game changer and is shaping up to become one of the most powerful women in Indian fashion.
Not content with being among India’s most contemporary stylists, Pernia launched her online Pop-Up Shop about a year and half ago. It was an almost overnight success, and has seen exceptional growth in the last year. The carefully curated e-store offers an appealing mix of India’s well-known brands and emerging designers. It’s the only luxury e-commerce portal in India, stocking the likes of Manish Malhotra, Sabyasachi and Rohit Bal. The portal has also championed relative newcomers such as Atsu Sekhose and Shehla Khan.
Pernia readily admits to being heavily influenced by Net-a-Porter, as she says, “They were the pioneers of luxury e-commerce and have paved the way for everyone else.”
This season Pernia loves — capes by Anamika Khanna, Dhoti shalwars worn with blazers and the retro trend for printed saris.
Pernia’s Pop-up Shop is certainly as well put together as Net-a-Porter. The clothes are expertly photographed and displayed in the same way. The front and back of each outfit is shown on a model as well as by itself, with the option to zoom in on details. This is a huge improvement over the “garment on a dummy” style of photograph found on most e-stores.
One of the major strengths of the store is its well-selected stock. Merchandisers shortlist options, along with Creative Director Edward Lalrempuia (former fashion editor of Vogue India), but it is Pernia who has the final say on what goes in or out.
Pernia’s site also offers a huge range of fabulous accessories, ranging from clutches to jewellery. The site has an excellent magazine and also offers the chance to shop celebrity style based on pictures of Bollywood stars. The shop’s return-policy is not as robust as Net-a-Porter’s legendary customer-friendly policy but in other respects, it is an excellent venture.
Pernia was recently in Pakistan for a family wedding and she reveals that she has a strong Pakistani customer base — those residing in the country as well as overseas Pakistanis. She speaks about her love for Pakistani fashion.
“I have so many Pakistani designers in my wardrobe. My personal favourites include Misha Lakhani, Faiza Samee, Elan by Khadijah Shah, Kami, Bunto Kazmi and Nasreen Humayun Sheikh,” says the stylist.
Currently, Ayesha Khurram is the only Pakistani designer Pernia stocks at her online store but she confirmed she is looking to add more designers. “Misha Lakhani and Elan are at the top of my list of must-haves!”
For Pakistanis looking for Indian fashion, she recommends Atsu, Anamika Khanna, Abu Sandeep, Frou Frou and Arpita Mehta. According to Pernia, all these designers do simple feminine clothes that should appeal to the Pakistani aesthetic.
Asked about which international designers she loves, Pernia says, “Ever since I started the store, I’ve come to realise the incredible depth of Indian fashion and what great local designers we have. These days my store is my closet and there are so many great clothes, I really don’t need to look elsewhere. Shoe-wise, I couldn’t give up my Manolos or Brian Atwood but for clothes, I’m spoilt for choice.”
Pernia is everything you’d want in a stylist. She’s up to date with the latest trends, and has an encyclopedic knowledge of what different fashion designers are doing this season. She is full of ideas of how to wear different trends and how to create looks for just about any event. Thanks to Pernia’s Pop-up Shop, her expertise is just a click away.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 15th, 2013.