Quaint grandeur meets retail vista

Shamaeel Ansari discusses latest venture and the significance of merging deluxe style with traditional wear .

Salima Feerasta December 29, 2014


Fashion stylist and designer, Shamaeel Ansari launched her much-awaited flagship store, House of Shamaeel Ansari, in Karachi on December 28. The luxe boutique is an exclusive reflection of Ansari’s chic yet opulent aesthetic.

While Ansari’s powerhouse brand encompasses the lavish sector of fashion, she has a wide assortment of outfits. House of Shamaeel will be catering to order-based bridal and couture, alongside ready-to-wear cotton, evening and semi-formal ensembles showcased to their full potential.

Her Metropolis and Tughra line, comprises of cottons and linens features digital prints, embroidery and interesting cuts with elaborate detailing denoting Ansari’s signature. The casual collection fused with hints of gold, embellishments and sophisticated tailoring are more than just everyday outfits. The clothing line can be effortlessly accessorised to appeal to a wider clientele.

Her semi-formals utilise silks, nets and chiffons with a majestic mélange of threads, appliqué, sequins, and prints instilled with a vibe of femininity. The collection is notable for the unique soft silhouettes and attention to detail, while Ansari’s rich coloured draped silks have a cosmopolitan appeal. Her formal line is blatantly baroque — comprising of rich tones, ornate embroidery and layered silhouettes.

Meticulous panels with Moghul and shikari scenes hang at the entrance, fronted by an antique-style desk. Polished wooden floors, textured walls and high ceilings provide the perfect foil for Ansari’s intricate ensembles.

The spacious outlet is divided into several rooms, with distinct areas for casual wear, semi-formals and formal wear. The thematic dressing rooms are named after legendary female figures from the Sub continent, including Noor Jehan, Hoorum Sultan, and Mumtaz Mehal. With velvet drapes and plush surroundings, these are possibly the most luxurious fitting rooms in town. Ansari has a separate studio within the store for bridal consultations.

Ansari, who commenced her career in 1987, was one of the first Pakistani designers to have a retail outlet. Her previous store in Zamzama was a chic trailblazer but she bunged that outlet to concentrate on international projects and is now expanding operations on the domestic front once again.

Ansari shares, “I am very excited and enthusiastic about the plans we have for the outlet. House of Shamaeel Ansari, will be my way of saying ‘thank you’ for 27 years of love and support to my customers, to the industry, and especially to all fashionistas.”

The Metropolis has a range of around Rs8,000 while the semi-formals range from Rs16,000 to Rs30,000. Her formal range starts at Rs45,000 with quite a large selection at around Rs60,000

The House of Shamaeel will provide exclusive offers and discounts on the 30th and 31st of december to celebrate their opening. If you plan to visit, be sure to check out the dressing rooms.

Ansari was the chairperson of Fashion Pakistan Council (FPC). Her classic label is available at popular boutiques in India, Dubai and throughout Pakistan.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 30th,  2014.

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