Sunday 26 June 2011

Ambreen Khan at Pakistan Fashion Extravaganza 2011

Ambreen Khan was another of the designers at the 2011 Pakistan Fashion Extravaganza. I hadn't heard of her before this event, but apparently as well as being a fashion designer she's also a TV host, presenting a show in Pakistan called "The Kitchen Queen".
A styling point - I don't think this necklace/tikka suits the model in white above, it looks like it's wearing her rather than the other way round! The model below is an exmaple of how to pull off this look:
This peach and gold outfit on the left is probably my favourite out of the churidar suits.

Now onto the more bridal style outfits:
Not loving this grey and yellow/gold lehnga. Compared to the two above it looks a little plain and doesn't appear to have much of a shape.

In amongst all the very traditional outfits from Ambreen Khan were these two outfits which appear to be from a completely different collection!
I don't think they look bad (even the peacock feather skirt!), but I'm struggling to think where anyone would wear these, they don't quite seem formal enough to wear to an evening event, and a little too dressy to wear in the daytime.

A big thanks to Shahid Malik for these photos.

Saturday 25 June 2011

Faiza Samee at the 2011 Pakistan Fashion Extravaganza in London

Here's the collection from Faiza Samee as shown on the catwalk at the 2011 Pakistan Fashion Extravaganza which took place last month in London. A big thanks to photographer Shahid Malik for these great photos.

The show started with these two orange outfits:
Orange isn't usually a colour I'd immediately choose, but I think the shade chosen is not too bright. I like the top one better because it has fitted sleeves and nicer detail on the neckline, not loving the loose sleeves on the second outfit.

After four light-coloured flowing outfits, came these two outfits which I think had a little bit too much going on with them with the print sleeves and different fabric panels. They made a definite contrast to the light flow-y feel to the previous outfits:

I liked the next four outfits, they had that light summery feel but were a bit more formal and I think there was a good balance between embroidery and colour choices:

These next two outfits I liked from the waist up. I don't like the heaviness of what looks like velvet to complete the tops and then to pair that with velvet trousers too ruins the look for me.

I really liked this purple outfit:

This one confused me a bit with all the layers - a long top, a skirt and pajama bottoms too?? and I don't like the way the top sticks out (presumably where the skirt starts underneath?)

They usually save a showstopper for the final outfit, and this did make me think wow, I love the detail on each part of the top, but personally I'm not a fan of tops this long - you can barely notice the skirt (or is it trousers?) underneath.

Which was your favourite outfit?

Monday 20 June 2011

Pakistan Fashion Extravaganza 2011 - First look at the Pakistani designer collections

Last month, London held host to the annual Pakistan Fashion Extravaganza. I didn't attend, but this week I received photos from the catwalk from photographer Shahid Malik.

There are over 150 photos which I'll be posting in upcoming posts, but in the meantime, here's a sneak preview from each designer:

Asifa and Nabeel

Truphae's collection included a lot of the outfits they showcased at the Asiana Bridal Show earlier on this year - including the peacock feather finale outfit.

Ambreen Khan

Faiza Samee
Faiza Samee wasn't the only designer to include bright orange on this catwalk!

Asim Jofa

Ayesha Ibrahim

Everyone always pairs gold with red, but I'm loving this gold and blue combination.

Gulzeb's collection included jumpsuits and mini-dresses, but I prefered her more traditional outfits, like this maxi dress.

Shazia's Bridal Gallery
Some of Shazia's outfits looked very over the top to me, but I liked this dress.

Maria B
I'd seen a lot of these Maria B's at other shows, but there were a few new ones in there too. I'm not sure what to make of the jewelled hairbands, they looked good on some of the models and others they were pulled a little too tightly and looked to me like the swimming caps we were forced to wear during swimming lessons at school!

Nickie Nina

Look out for full reviews and photos of each collection coming soon on

Sunday 12 June 2011

Phulkari London Shop Review

Another of the shops on my list to visit during my recent trip to London was Phulkari. They're a fairly new shop (I think they opened in February this year) but they caught my attention because like Onitaa, they stock Indian and Pakistani designers.

However unlike Onitaa which is miles away from any other asian shops and is aimed at the super-rich, Phulkari is on Ilford Lane, amongst the likes of Gul's Style and RDC and is a lot more accessible to the likes of you and me.

I visited on a Sunday morning/early afternoon so it was quiet and we had the whole shop to ourselves to browse. It's not massive inside, but it didn't feel claustrophobic (like some of the shops which have back-to-back rails of clothing everywhere) everything was nicely spaced out and easy to look through.
I made my way round the shop, firstly checking out the recently launched Shyamal and Bhumika collection, then moving on to the other designers they stock including Joy Mitra, Dozakh by Kartikeya & Isha, Abdul Halder, and Nida Mahmood,

I had quite a specific reason for visiting Phulkari that day - I wanted to buy a Satya Paul sari. I emailed the store in advance to find out their price range (starting at £130 for the crepe saris to £480 for the embroidered saris) so I had an idea in my head of how much I wanted to spend, the next part was to find the right sari for me!
The photo above was taken at the store launch in February, so the Satya Paul collection was somewhat smaller when I visited in May. I found a few designs that caught my eye and the staff were happy to open them up for me and let me see all the detail. They even checked for any they had in stock which weren't out on the shop floor.

I narrowed my choices down and after trying on (with the help of an assistant - because no way can I drape a sari myself!), I settled on a green, blue and purple print for £180.
This is me holding it up against myself in our hotel afterwards - the blouse (which comes unstitched) is a plain purple colour although when I showed this pic to my sisters they thought it looked good with the animal print top I was wearing underneath.

I was very pleased with my purchase and afterwards out of curiosity I went to the Satya Paul website to see how much it would have cost to buy online direct from them. I found a different colour variation of this outfit for 9,995 Indian Rupees plus 1,000 for international shipping. Indian Rupees don't mean anything to me, but a currency covertor put 10,995 rupees at £151.53.
So technically I could have saved myself £30 by getting it direct, but I'm happy to pay that for being able to see it in person first, try it on, and to be able to walk out of the shop with it there and then rather than worry about it getting lost in the post.

I will definitely be going back and shop at Phulkari London, and according to their most recent facebook status, they'll be getting some more Satya Paul stock in soon, including the recent Jewels of The Sea collection.

Photo credits go to Tajpal Dhamu Photography, originally posted on the Phulkari London facebook page.

Thursday 9 June 2011

Shop Review O'nitaa London: Indian and Pakistani designerwear destination

Photo credit to
I recently spent a weekend in London, and on my list of shops to visit was O'nitaa. I've written about the designer collections they stock, such as Nickie Nina which were showcased at the 2010 Asiana Elite Bride Show and more recently the Yousuf Bashir Qureshi instore launch.
However I'd never visited the store in person and was keen to see some of these designer outfits up close.

The first thing to note about Onitaa is the location. Based on Glenworth Street, NW1, this store is nowhere near any of London's main asian fashion hotspots. This isn't one of those shops you'll come across by chance, it's somewhere you'll go out of your way to visit.

The store itself is unlike any other asian fashion shop I've ever visited. It feels very grand when you walk in with its long walkway down the centre of the store (which seems like it goes on forever!) and each designer collection spread out on either side of you. I had my husband with me when I visited and he described the store as being like every girl's dream walk-in wardrobe.
Photo credit to
I took my time browsing, recognising some of the outfits from fashion shows photos and from Onitaa's adverts in Asiana Magazine. Most of the outfits in store are sample pieces so there was a level of wear and tear/loose threads etc. but even then this was minimal and I really liked a lot of what I saw...however this place is a definite no no for asian fashion fans on a budget!! If I wasn't visiting for asian fashion blog research purposes I probably would have left very quickly after seeing the first few price tags - many of which were in the thousands.

Whilst in the store, I saw a customer trying on the very beautiful Zainab Sajid outfit above (at least I think it was this one). I also had a chance to check out the price tag for this, if I remember correctly it was around £4000. I know asian bridalwear is increasingly becoming more and more expensive but I think you'll agree with me that most ordinary asian brides in the UK wouldn't be able to justify a cost like that - nevermind spending that amount on a formal outfit!

When you take into consideration the average prices in O'nitaa, you start to understand why they chose a location so far removed from the other asian shopping areas like Green St, Southall, and Ilford Lane, because O'nitaa's offering isn't really accessible to asian fashion fans who don't have a big budget!
So pricing aside, I asked, store owner, Onita to talk me through some of her collections. She was keen to point out that she doesn't necessarily go for "big names", instead, she goes for designers whose work impresses her. One designer she highlighted was Asim Jofa, she highlighted the craftmanship of his outfits - the stitching on the embroidering was so perfectly finished to the point where you didn't get that "sticky" effect you often have when your embroidery catches on other fabrics.
The collection by Arnab Sengupta (a double winner at last years IAFA Awards) also caught my eye - the amazing details that goes into each piece is barely captured in the photos I'd seen before.

My overall thoughts on Onitaa are that this shop is every girl's dream, but for most people that's all it'll stay as - a dream! If you're after designer name collections from India and Pakistan, without having to travel there yourself, then O'nitaa is perfect for providing this service...although if you're anything like me, you might need to save up first!

If you're looking to visit O'nitaa, why not attend their launch for the HSY Spring Summer 2011 Pret collection, which is taking place from the 16th - 19th June:

Do I have any blog readers who have shopped at O'nitaa? Leave a comment with your thoughts!

Tuesday 7 June 2011

The Asian Fashion Blog guide on how to become a model - part 4: the designer and stylist view

Following on with my blog posts on how to become a model (links to my previous posts on this are included at the end!) I spoke to Ziggi Akhtar, designer of asian groomswear and also a stylist who regularly styles shoots for Asiana Magazine.
Here are his views on what it takes to be a model!

Models for Photoshoots
The choice of model is based on the concept of the photoshoot, often the client/designer/advertiser has a very specific look in mind so to be successful models need to be versatile and adapt to each particular shoot.

Models for Catwalk/Runways Shows
Height is the important thing here. For the catwalk models need to have a fierce attitude and a catwalk-worthy walk. As with photoshoots, models need to fit the brief/concept, so if it's as asian bridal catwalk you need to be able to pull off a bridal look.

The Downsides to Modelling
The hours can be very long, sometimes shoots last the full day with a variety of different looks to be captured in a set amount of time. Here's a video of Ziggi, his models and the Asiana team at work on his latest campaign shoot which appears in the Spring Summer issue of Asiana Wedding Magazine:

Advice for Models Starting Out
It can take longer for newer models to learn the ropes, which is why more experienced models are often used when there's a tight deadline to be met. Still, there's plenty that aspiring models can do to improve, such as studying the images in fashion magazines, practising poses, and doing all they can to learn.

One final tip - this might sound obvious, but if you're going for a casting make sure you look your best, from waxing, threading, plucking to any other beauty regime you follow. As a model you're relying on your body and looks to get a job, so make sure you show off the most polished version of yourself!

A big thanks to Ziggi for his input, for more behind-the-scenes videos from Ziggi's photoshoots join the Ziggi Studio Facebook Fanpage or subscribe to the Ziggi Studio Youtube Channel.

If you missed the previous posts on modelling advice, here are links:
1) The fashion spectator's view
2) The make-up artist's view
3) The creative agency view

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