Renowned couturier Zara Shahjahan first captivated the fashion audience with her design sensibilities in the world of bridal couture, high-street fashion and luxury prêt. She has now graduated on to lending her aesthetics to lawn designing and recently launched her independent Spring/Summer lawn last year with 18 innovative designs. Her source of inspiration for her lawn designs remain patterns appearing in Asian art and culture, specifically with respect to the Indus Valley heritage. You will also see florals used liberally in Zara’s embellished lawn collection in blues, whites, pinks and yellows. Here, Zara talks to Brides & You about her success and journey as a designer.
Q: What were you doing before you started designing?
A: I studied designing at National College of Arts so I was always oriented towards the creative arts. I started designing right after graduating. I have always been fascinated by designs. I have a love for detail. I love creating original patterns and designs that incorporate elements of art in them. To be able to create something that makes someone feel beautiful is a privilege and a passion that has driven me to pursue this field.
Q: Is this something you always wanted to do?
A: For me it was something I had a natural flair for and a passion that I wanted to pursue. Once I started to design, I found myself drawn to the art like none other.
Q: Who were/are your role models in fashion?
A: Chanel. Coco Chanel’s style and elegance is eternal.
Q: What is your design philosophy?
A: My label’s design philosophy has always been to create fashion that is simple, beautiful and always in vogue. I strongly believe in creating clothes that are wearable and amplify a woman’s femininity and individuality.
Q: Where do you draw inspiration for your designs?
A: Inspiration comes from everywhere. It could be a beautiful day or a momentous life experience. Anything that impacts me in a small or big way can form the basis of my inspiration.
Q: What is your signature style? What are you known for?
A: I would say my style itself is chic and intricate! My brand is probably most well-recognised for its versatility and design work. I am also one of the few designers who have the ability to create my own motifs.
Q: What are you working on currently?
A: I have recently launched my first ever independent lawn line. It contains both casual and semi-formal wear. There are a few different designs that really capture spring time elements.
2015 was a year of milestone for our brand, which commenced from the launch of our first Karachi outlet and now continues with the introduction of our label’s debut Spring/Summer 2015 lawn collection. Each design had been constructed keeping in mind the perfect balance between aesthetics and comfort to create a statement piece. Special emphasis had been laid on developing intricate embroideries to give each print that extra oomph with an engaging colour palette of dynamic spring/summer shades. We look forward to yet another successful lawn season this year!
Q: What colours do you love working with and why.
A: I absolutely enjoy working with summer hues as they incorporate all the fresh and vibrant colours that make summer a great season for fashion.
Q: Your choice of add-ons, embellishments generally:
A: I really enjoy working with laces. They help you create an array of looks ranging from casual to sophisticated chic. Handcrafted embroidery will always be in vogue and is an art that I am also fond of incorporating in my work.
Q: Your choice of colours and add-ons for your lawn collection?
A: With lawn, we have provided our patrons a variety of printed borders which are a staple lawn add-on. We have based the collection in a dynamic and vibrant colour palette to depict the freshness of spring.
Q: What are the current fashion trends for both shirts and lowers in formal attire?
A: Cigarette pants and shorter kurtis have definitely made their way up to the top of current fashion trends. We are seeing a fusion of eastern and western aesthetics being prominent on both ramp and retail. I foresee this trend to continue.
Q: Colours we should opt for our formal creations:
A: For formal clothes anything goes depending on what you are comfortable wearing. I prefer earthly tones, nudes, and pastels for formals with intricate patterns and a few elegant embellishments.
Q: Fashion trends that have gone out in formals:
A: I think loose clothing has kind of gone out of fashion in formals. There is a trend towards well-stitched, fitted clothing that emphasises cuts and designs.
Q: How can we update our last year’s formal wear?
A: Add or remove a few embellishments, maybe top it off with an eclectic jacket or add some floral cigarette pants.
Q: What is in, regarding bridal wear for the bride and also for her family members?
A: I think there is a movement towards more elegant designs and using softer and more delicate fabrics. Even the handwork and embellishments are becoming more refined and detailed when it comes to bridals. Less is more whether its bridals or her family members’ clothing. For the bridal party, there is more emphasis on cuts, designs, textures, and material versus over the top embellishments.
Q: Fashion advice for coming summers.
A: Play with colours and add something new and refreshing to your look.
Q: How do you strike a balance between work and professional life?
A: To be honest, my professional life has made my personal life better rather than not. Both my family and work complement each other perfectly. It is all about time management!