With hopes to beam with pride

Huma Nassr of Shaan-e-Pakistan on what to expect from the India-Pakistan collaborative cultural showcase

Mehek Saeed July 02, 2015
Arsalan Iqbal, HSY and Zainab Chottani, who showcased at this year’s Telenor Bridal Couture Week, will participate at the event. PHOTOS: PUBLICITY


Fashion knows no frontiers. This holds true for Shaan-e-Pakistan, a cultural showcase that will feature talent from both Pakistan and India. The project emerges to the fore following the laud garnered by Aalishan Pakistan and Lakmé Fashion Week, the last two major showcases featuring Pakistani designs in India. Slated to take place from September 10 to 13, the event will be helmed by Huma Nassr of Braahti and is its first India-Pakistan collaborative show. The Express Tribune speaks to the brains behind the project and local designers set to showcase at the event. 

“I’ve been working for the past nine years and have built strong relationships with people across the border,” said Nassr, who has established base in India with her New Delhi store Braahti. “I thought it was time other designers and entrepreneurs got the opportunity to do the same,” she added. Shaan-e-Pakistan spans over four days, the first day of which will be held at the High Commission of Pakistan and the other three at The Grand Hotel in New Delhi.

The first day is scheduled to be an invite-only welcome event, for which invitations will be sent out by Braahti and Abdul Basit, Pakistan’s High Commissioner to India. “We’re expecting a mix of people, from diplomats to officials to people from the fashion and music fraternities of both countries. Since music transcends boundaries, we’ll treat [the attendees] to a qawwali performance by the famed Amjad Sabri.”

Guests will be handed out look-books of the designers collections on this day in order to give them a taste of what’s coming up. Nassr intends to get chefs from both countries to make dishes that are specialties of their respective countries. The second day is scheduled to be a fashion show comprising 18 designers, nine from each of the two countries. The third and fourth days will be dedicated to an exhibition, where designers from the second day along with others, will get designated lounges so that people can come see their clothes up-close. “The two ‘Fs’, fashion and food, are important to me and this event will bring them both together,” noted Nassr.

Of the clothes that’ll be shown at the event, Nassr shared, “It’ll be a purely bridal and couture showcase, with designers getting the chance to portray their talent.” She revealed that Hassan Sheheryar Yasin (HSY), Umar Sayeed, Zainab Chottani and Arsalan Iqbal are among the names from Pakistan who’ve been confirmed to participate in the event. Iqbal said his line could potentially draw inspiration from Mughal to Persian sensibilities. “My collection of 12 outfits for men and women will be different from what I showed at Bridal Couture Week [this year]. I want this collection to be figurative, as Delhi is more culturally-enhanced and appreciates a spin on cultural aspects,” he stated. Work on his collection is still under way.

Upholding the aesthetics of the house of Umar Sayeed, the designer is in the process of finalising the collection for Shaan-e-Pakistan and hopes to show one that “represents the country.” What to expect from Chottani? “We’ll be working with chiffons in our bridals because that’s most appreciated across the border. It will be a very royal collection,” she explained. HSY wasn’t available to comment on his collection. India’s Anshu Jain, who showcased her line at Ensemble in Lahore and Karachi earlier this year, will also show at the event. “We want a mix of established and new brands because the latter are the ones that need the exposure,” Nassr  noted.

The Pakistan Fashion Design Council and Fashion Pakistan Council have been approached to put forth capsule collections by a few of their designers on the last two days of the showcase. Multi-label store owners will also be invited as buyers to come view the collections that day. On further plans for the exhibition, Nassr shared, “I want to bring together the thriving handicrafts of both the countries with stalls from places, such as Jaipur and Ludhiana, along with those from Punjab, Sindh and other provinces of Pakistan.”

Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd,  2015.

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