By: Munnazzah Raza
Layla Chatoor took a plunge into the retail world by offering her clientele a space to purchase her prêt collections. She’s been in the business for almost twenty years but launched her flagship studio in Karachi only yesterday, offering a space that features an impressive collection of formals and semi-formals. It’s a limited space but she feels she wants to begin small and then gradually grow.
Layla and Salim Chatoor
Lace, chiffon, silk and embellishments dominated her first exhibit and among the array of designs, her bare-shoulder formals and printed silk pants immediately struck the eye. The off-shoulder trend saw a western touch on eastern formals without looking tacky and the silk pants featured large floral patterns. It’s inevitable not to draw comparisons between Layla and her sister-in-law Shehla (they are married to brothers Mansoor and Salim Chatoor respectively) but with time they both have a distinct signature, which is immediately identifiable. Shehla’s designs are bold and confident whereas Layla’s ethos is more feminine and shy.
How does Layla stand out?
“My clothes have the wearable factor; they don’t just good look on the hanger,” she explained. “They look good when worn. I design keeping structure, different silhouettes and body types in mind. I don’t design what everyone is designing. I make sure my designs stand out.”
Layla and Salima Feerasta
Having been in the industry for the past two decades, the designer believes that her clothes cater to adult women of all ages. “I have grown old with my clients. 20 years ago I used to design clothes for my clients who would bring their little daughters along, now I’m designing clothes for them and their daughters’ weddings,” said Layla.
With the summer lawn craze, will Layla be joining the bandwagon soon?
“No, I will not be doing lawn right now, just like I will not be working on polyester or cotton. I won’t say never, because as they say ‘never say never’,” stated the designer. Although not too keen on starting her own lawn collection (at least not for now) Layla doesn’t seem entirely dissuaded by the thought, considering her clients demand otherwise.
Aliya wearing one of Layla’s pretty designs
Layla doesn’t plan on getting into ready to wear either; she feels that brands like Khaadi have brought price points so low that it’s impossible to compete with them while retaining a high end standard that designers like her are expected to deliver. That said, her luxury pret is not unaffordable and comes at very competitive prices, starting at PKR5000 and going up to 45,000 for heavier pieces.
The studio will be open to clients two days a week.