I try and survey all prominent shops and boutiques every Saturday, every week but now with the rise of ready to wear in Pakistan, there are way too many to handle in one go. So this week I decided to pick and choose and visit those where I hoped to find some solid summer wear. My trek started at Sonya Battla and ended at Sana Safinaz, with lots inbetween. Here’s an overview, hoping that it’ll help you all when you step out to shop next time!
STOP 1: Sonya Battla
It was February 13 and I have to say I was guilty of associating this weekend with Valentine’s Day and not remembering Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s birthday until I walked into Sonya Battla’s boutique. She’s a ‘thinking’ designer (there aren’t many of those around these days) and for her, designs come from the heart not the materialistic mind that can’t think beyond money making. Sonya had developed a print to honour Faiz and had styled a tiny, limited edition capsule collection dedicated to him. I was lucky enough to be offered one of the coveted kurtas and I wore it with joy and pride all day. Sonya’s one of those rare designers that hasn’t given in to commercialism and I do hope to see more of her at fashion week this year.
I also bought a white karandi kurta, gorgeous in its style and minimalism. I had been eying this piece for a long time, mustering the courage to go for it (as it was priced slightly higher than our average day wear). The one I bought has a black embroidered panel on the front (as opposed to the white embroidery as seen in the picture) and it was simply irresistible.
STOP 2: The Pink Tree at Ensemble
A visit to Ensemble is always interesting as there are so many decent brands and one always stumbles across something interesting amongst the racks. There’s a small range from Sanam Chaudhri that offers a bit of edge over the usual, there’s Sania Maskatiya, Maheen Karim, Body Focus Museum and several others. What I really loved this time was The Pink Tree tunics. Colourful and bold in their imagery (no floral, feminine, pretty, pretty pastels here) these definitely were statement pieces. Too bad that despite losing a good 60 pounds I could not find one to my size. Dear designers, please note that most Pakistani women (especially those that have given birth) have hips.
Another reason for visiting Ensemble these days is The Candle Company that stocks at the store and has the most amazing candles ever. I’ve tried and inhaled all of a Motia Noir and now wish to buy a Jasmine and Lotus or Green Tea or Lemon Grass. Heavenly.
STOP 3: Misha Lakhani
Walking into the Misha Lakhani boutique is always a pleasure, even if most clothes are unaffordable. It’s the same kind of pleasure you derive from walking into a museum where you can appreciate but not acquire. Well, not entirely, of course but you get my drift. There were several new designs that I had my eyes on…white blousons, plum tunics, mint green tops (one of which I purchased when it was on sale) and my absolute favourite: this deconstructed button-up top in an oxblood red velvet. I tried it on and thought it would be ideal for winter weddings, dinners, parties etc but then I could not justify spending so much on an item that would be stashed away for the next 8 months. Hopefully it’ll go on sale soon!
STOP 4: Sania Maskatiya
There was a Kerastase Brunch hosted by L’Oreal at Café Flo that I had to break for (it was a delightful denim and white shirt affair) and then I resumed my trek by heading out to the Sania Maskatiya flagship boutique.
Delightfully well stocked to the brim, the store offered a wide range of prints in all types of versatile shapes and sizes. I loved the short semi-circle ponchos as well as the Hair Fashion Scout collection of solids now up on the racks. Unfortunately the new summer range of cottons had not come in yet (I do hope there will be one) and since I was on a hunt for summer wear I could not find anything I could buy.
STOP 5: Generation
Driving back to this part of the city, I decided to make a last stop at Dolmen Mall for the number of labels it housed. First stop was Generation and I was pleasantly surprised to see such a hip collection of styles. The angrakha-tops in different lengths appeared to be a staple this season and were flying off shelves, especially as they were on sale now. Again, what prevented me from buying was the fabric, which was thick and wintry. I have made a point of returning when the full summer range is in. There’s been an injection of ‘cool’ in Generation and it definitely has been chalked up as a must-check-out store.
STOP 6: Khaadi
Khaadi was on fire. It seemed like free clothes were being distributed because with most of the store on dynamite sale, women had gone completely mad and were shopping like there’s no tomorrow. Again, the diversity of what was available was amazing. From short tops to long, embroidered kurtas, sleeveless tunics, three-piece joras, and all sorts of lowers, there was something for everyone at amazing price points. I couldn’t find anything too fashion forward but then this is Khaadi and it caters to the top tier of mass clothing.
STOP 7: Sana Safinaz
The thing about Sana Safinaz is that it’s impossible to walk into the store and NOT find anything you want to buy. In my case, I found 5 tunics I wanted. Fortunately, one didn’t fit too well and one was not available in my size. So I bought 3 and for merely…hold your breathe…6000 rupees! It simply made my day! All three were simple, unembroidered tunics in cotton/lawn and were perfect for work wear. I have to point out that Sana Safinaz Basics have irregular quality (is there no quality check?) and their colours often bleed, their finish is often polyester, which burns when you iron and this time, one of the two pockets on one of my tunics was stitched upside down so you could put your hands INTO one pocket and UP the other. I do see the humour in the situation. PLUS the aesthetic is usually so good and the price point so negligible that you discount these minor issues.
Which are your favourite stores you’d like me to visit next week?