Fashion connoisseur Shamaeel Ansari is one of Pakistan’s most highly acclaimed designers, a veteran who has over three decades of signature work behind her. Her voyage can be best described as a ground-breaking era for Pakistan, as Shamaeel is among the handful of designers who have changed the face of Asian fashion designing. Her strength is her signature, a love for history reflected in her sartorial expression like the stream of consciousness that guides a poet’s narrative.
Fittingly known by the moniker, ‘Czarina of style’, one distinguished factor about Shamaeel’s work is its personalized appeal; each silhouette, texture, embroidery, colour and print narrates a story of its own that can only be experienced up close and personal. Hence, the designer has always prefer curated shows over runways and catwalks. Her last show at fashion week was held at her home, transformed for the evening into a walk through installation almost like a museum. One could connect with the clothes and understand their ethos much better because of the proximity.
This year, Shamaeel wants to take it one step forward by showcasing her new collection The Symposium of Queens – A Sartorial Ode in a solo fashion show on the 5th of October 2019, at the Savile Club in the fashionable and historically significant Mayfair, London, in collaboration with The Citizen’s Foundation.
“My assortment is a juxtaposition of historic elements and contemporary style,” she says. “I chose to work with The Citizen’s Foundation as my idea synchronizes with their mission. Education for women is an important cause, which is close to my heart.”
The venue is an 18th century house that looks as exclusive and elegant as the collection that is going to be showcased in it. With wooden paneling, gilded walls and chandeliers that speak of grandeur, the gentleman’s club is fit for a queen’s arrival.
Speaking of the collection Shamaeel shared that it is inspired by the most inspiring and courageous women in history; the enigmatic queens from the Mughal era to the Ottoman kingdoms till the Tudors. “Noor Jehan was a fashion icon of her times in Mughal history. A strategist power behind the throne,” she said.
Names like Hurrem Sultan, Noor Bano, Sufiya Sultan and Kosum Sultan signify the era of queens in the Ottoman empire, where women arrived as slaves and with courage and positivity, turned the tide for the better.
“The Ottoman empire was a melting pot of various cultures, talents and inspirations brought in from the countries of slaves,” she explained. “And lastly, the Tudors whose apparel reflect the identity, rank, authority of an individual with vibrant colours and exquisite embroideries.”
“My collection is experimentation and a metamorphosis of different crafts and colors,” she continued to speak of the collection that will be unveiled in London this coming weekend. “It’s a sartorial homage to the sultanate of queens. The vibrant blue of iznik tiles in the Ottoman harems give a luxurious feel. The ikats of Central Asia are no more antique weaves as we bring them into modern wearable fashion. The flash of pink and red tones signify the nature of the queens i.e. playful, charming and romantic,” she added.
Designed and curated by the couturier herself, the narrative of the show is written by Faraz Maqsood Hamidi. As the show will not feature any runway, models will sashay in Shamaeel’s masterpieces around the guests sitting down for dinner. With Tariq Amin’s styling and Abbas Ali Khan’s music in the background, the designer aims to put forward an imagery that is seen at international fashion shows only. There is incredible attention given to detail, as even the menu for the evening has been designed around the show and its mood board.
For those who won’t be able to watch the grand solo show in London, Shamaeel promises that the regal range will be at display in Karachi soon.