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17 May

Sapphire’s new homeland

Khadijah Shah

Sprawled over two floors, an internal escalator leading shoppers from womenswear, accessories and the new home department to menswear on the second level, Sapphire’s new concept store at Packages Mall may be the largest retail space for any one brand in the country. Washed in a luxurious shade of white – setting off a very holiday vibe with its palm tree walls, floating birds and wandering flamingo carriers – it is also rapidly growing to be one of the most aspirational brands in the country.
All this and more came under the spotlight at the new store’s launch, which was attended by Khadijah Shah loyalists from all over the country. We spotted Ali Xeeshan making a late appearance, Hasnain Lehri turned up wearing an Elan jacket while supermodel Amna Babar came dressed in Mahgul’s latest lawn collection. Saima Bargfrede, who is now styling many Sapphire shoots was also present as was the rest of the extended Sapphire family and of course, Sapphire Man Adnan Malik came and shared information that we’ll reveal later. Patrons of the brand were seen with their shopping bags intact, enjoying the opening day discount on the new home department. The store features all of Sapphire’s existing lines PLUS Sapphire’s first ever venture into home textiles and accessories called Sapphire Home. Beautifully on display were ranges of linen for the bedroom, bath and dining; a lot more would be introduced very soon, Shah shared.

 

What excites us most about this new venture is that Sapphire Home is the first of its kind. Khaadi Home has been around for a couple of years but its aesthetic is very ethnic. The newly launched The Linen Company has stellar bed linen but does not extend beyond that domain. Sapphire Home looks like a line created and designed by a premier luxury designer, making Khadijah Shah’s lifestyle available and accessible to people all over Pakistan. But what is its USP and how does it compete in terms of quality?

“The USP of Sapphire Home is its refined aesthetic,” a deceptively calm Khadijah Shah spoke to us at the event. I say ‘deceptively’ because it’s next to impossible to maintain the kind of calm that she does. “Sapphire Home is clean and bold. We have an Indienne range, which is ethnic but even that is very subtle. Indienne is the French word for India-inspired textiles made in Europe during the 18th century and like the name suggests, Sapphire Home will have a western sensibility, even when it’s ethnic. The palette is refined and we’re now working on developing textures, stitching and embroidered details. We have all thread counts; the highest is 600 which is ideal. Any higher becomes too silky and not appropriate for Pakistan’s weather. There are all tiers of textile exports in Pakistan but Sapphire has been catering to the likes of Pottery Barn and Ralph Lauren so it is high end. I don’t think anyone can compete. Khaadi and Linen Company are great brands but our aesthetic and scale is very different. So I don’t think there is any competition.”

Hasnain Lehri, Amna Babar, Rabia Butt and Adnan Malik at the launch of Sapphire’s new concept store.

It really is amazing how, in under three years, the high street brand has gone from fabric to mega concept stores in Lahore. Khadijah shares that they’re looking for the right space to open in Karachi as the current stores are not big enough. Here’s to happy living!

 

 

 

Aamna Haider Isani

The author is Editor-in-Chief at Something Haute as well as Editor at Instep, The News. Full time writer, critic with a love for words and an intolerance for typos.