It’s nearly impossible to catch hold of Khadijah Shah, even for the briefest of conversations, as she’s got a million things on her plate and time is perhaps the only luxury she can’t afford these days. Last week saw Shah celebrating the inauguration of Sapphire’s Concept Store at the Emporium Mall in Lahore and just as the hype on that started dying down she released images of a spectacular shoot announcing her debut silk collection for Elan. Shot in Udaipur, India, the shoot perfectly captured Shah’s vision of Modern Rajkumari and it’s a vision that evidently women all over Pakistan want to be part of; the collection opened to pre-booking online last night and within an hour half the designs were sold out.
“This was our first foray into silk,” Khadijah spoke to me early this morning. “Silk is a luxury product and it has a niche market. The price point is higher and that makes it more exclusive. That said we will try and accommodate the increased demand next time.”
Do you plan to make this a regular feature on your calendar?
“Yes I do hope to make this an annual feature, like our lawn,” she replied, “but it all depends on the kind of response we get.”
I don’t think she had anything to worry about there. The response was fantastic, as expected. I wondered how important a campaign was, as the Modern Rajkumari campaign was visually exceptional …
“I think the campaign is very important in setting the tone and mood of the collection,” she said. “It translates the entire vibe of your clothes and that’s very important. It adds to the brand value, and brings that aspirational quality to our products. The thing is, we don’t want to just sell Élan lawn or Élan silk, or Élan bridals; being an Élan woman is a mindset and an attitude, and we want to be able to influence that and that is not something that can be done over night but over time, year after year. The idea ferments and that’s where these campaigns help the most.”
She added that the design called Tripoli Pink was her personal favourite.
“I love Tripoli Pink; I think as a print we really hit it out of the park with that one, not to toot my own horn or anything,” she smiled. “My team makes hundreds of designs every year and we try to hit the mark with each one, so when something really, really exquisite comes along, I can’t help but feel proud of it.”
We spoke about coping with so much work as Khadijah is the very hands-on Creative Director at Sapphire as well as Élan. One project rolled into the other and she’s always in the spotlight. It did get tough, especially since she is full-time mother as well but her fantastic team made it all possible, she added, and the drive kept her going.
“The thing is, I always am thinking of new things I would like to do, and how I can make them happen. If I were to tell you all that I want to do before I’m forty – you’d laugh,” she laughed as she concluded.