Pakistan’s fashion industry seems hell-bent on defying the country’s current economic conditions, as evidenced by Toni & Guy launching their latest and largest world franchise in Islamabad on Saturday evening. With the addition of the expert salon, it appears the otherwise quaint city will get a chance to add some character to its landscape.
“No matter what the economic situation in Pakistan is, our women will always spend on looking good,” said actor Mahira Khan, who was present at the event. She has a point, because Toni & Guy is far from the only international brand that has set base in Pakistan in recent years.
The launch was organised and managed by Rezz Events, and featured a special hair and make-up show with 12 models, styled by experts at the salon, trotting down the ramp. The models exhibited outfits designed especially by HSY, House of Kamiar Rokni, Mohsin Ali, Sublime by Sara Shahid, Munib Nawaz and Republic by Omer Farooq.
Designed by architect Salim Khan, the salon has a contemporary appeal, with a classic yet chic design concept. The large glass windows of the salon overlook a Japanese garden with natural light beaming inside the space. “I would like to go to a salon not just for the services, but also for the experience and that is what we offer here,” said Juju Haider, Creative Director at Toni & Guy Islamabad. Haider, who has been an integral part of the success of the franchise in Lahore, said she was ready to take on the challenge of introducing the versatile and edgy cuts that the brand is known for. “It’s about time Islooites start experimenting,” she laughed.
With hairstyling stations on the ground level offering a range of cuts, colour services and hair treatments, the floor above offers nail care services as well as facials, skincare and spa treatments. The brand’s unique and exciting services include an exclusive range of products, for professional and personal use. Make-up services for brides and grooms-to-be are also featured on the services’ list. Like its other branches, the one in Islamabad also stocks and sells premier salon products, like Label.m for haircare and Guinot for skincare. Label.m is the official haircare product for London Fashion Week. Apart from this, the salon provides free consultation on cuts, colour and styling for maximum impact.
CEO Toni & Guy North Pakistan Shammal Qureshi emphasised on the importance of educating people about what products to use. Qureshi said that it was the success of Toni & Guy Lahore that directed them towards launching the salon in the capital. “There is a great deal of potential in Pakistan for the styling and fashion industries,” he said.
Speaking to The Express Tribune, Qureshi said that a large number of clients were driving down from Islamabad to Lahore for their services; hence it was important to launch the salon here in order to cater to the needs and demands of customers. “People want access to the best services and products, and we aim to meet their expectations as closely as possible. We think Islamabad has a lot to offer to us, just as we have a lot to offer to the people there. It’s a special place and we are sure we will be appreciated,” he said.
Qureshi, who is a certified trainer from the Toni & Guy Academy in the UK, plans to open a branch of the academy itself in the future, where expert trainers will provide hair-cutting and colour courses and industry hopefuls will get the opportunity of becoming certified Toni & Guy stylists.
Meanwhile, potential customers in Islamabad seem more than happy to have a branch closer to home. “I would definitely come here for the experience,” said Barrister and Law Professor Shahmeen Sheikh, a guest at the event. Sheikh said such a salon which meets international standards was the need of the hour for Islamabad.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 14th, 2014.