While the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left their regal attire at home on their recent visit to Pakistan, fashion aficionado Shamaeel Ansari took her regal collection, The Symposium of Queens – A Sartorial Ode, to London in collaboration with The Citizen’s Foundation.
The solo fashion show took place earlier this month, at the Savile Club in the fashionable and historically significant Mayfair. In an exclusive conversation with Something Haute, Shamaeel reveals why she picked the 18th century house for her show.
“I specifically requested that if I would do this show, I wanted a Renaissance location. The Shamaeel show had so many layers in it, not just aesthetically but also in terms of my thought process. It covered everything from developing a colour palette, print, embroidery and placement of it. We showcased close to 55 pieces and each one was different. I really wanted people to feel a connection with the environment and that’s why we went for the Savile Club,” Shamaeel said.
With its wooden panels, gilded walls and chandeliers, the venue was indeed a place that best reflected her themeology. The gentleman’s club was grand and regal, the perfect set for a queen’s arrival.
The regal theme was so important because Shamaeel’s collection 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. Hence the designer wanted the audience to have a very intimate and interactive experience of her fashion collection.
“It was nice to be away from the ramp as my clothes needed to be in people’s reach. I wanted them to see what the girls were wearing as they sashayed across the hall amongst the guests. It was an intimate contact of the outfits with the audience,” she said, adding, “In certain areas we had mannequins, draped and curated, in our couture line. The ambiance reflected Shamaeel’s thought of the symposium of queens. I visualized it in a way that once you have stepped inside, you are transported to that era of the Mughals, Ottomons and Tudors,” she added.
One look at the photos of the grand event and you will realize Shamaeel’s vision. “A fleet of stairs were taking the attendees to the the draped mannequins, then there was a dinner arrangement where people sat and ate. Even the food on the menu was from the same time periods: Mughal, Ottomons or Tudor desserts. As they chatted and ate, they could also see the models up close, walking in my collection.”
By the looks of it, it seems that the solo show swept everyone away and Shamaeel agrees.
“People loved it. They told me that you keep outdoing yourself and you have yet again outdone yourself. There were clients who came forth who I didn’t even know; it was a tremendous response,” she said.
We wanted to know why she collaborated with TCF for the this event as we usually don’t associate TCF with fashion.
“TCF published a bit of what the event was about in their brochure as well. I wanted to teach people; as a senior designer it is important for me to educate people about how do you create your design, how a designer puts forward his/her thoughts into the design or the way you curate the show, do a narration and have it printed in the brochure. That’s my biggest contribution to the people interested in fashion,” she explained.
The distinctive element in Shamaeel’s show was her signature narrative style and the interactive session post the showcase.
“All of us see models walking on the ramp in our designs all the time, but it’s the commercial aspect. But it was a great joy to share with people my stream of consciousness telling them what is my inspiration, that’s why I make narrative and poetry a part of it, which was done by Faraz Maqsood Hamidi,” the designer said.
Shamaeel also was present post the showcase alongside Faraz Maqsood Hamidi to talk to the people attending the event.
“It was interactive and intimate as the people were seeing draped mannequins; I spoke to them about how I was inspired, what are the details of my fabrics, embroideries and Faraz explained the history of it all. This is something that nobody has ever done in Pakistan,” she remarked.
As the excitement is at an all time high, it’s time to find out when will this new collection be available at the outlet.
“We were sold out in London. I didn’t expect that but a lot of people took them, so we are recreating the outfits and this collection will launch in November in Karachi,” Shamaeel concluded.
Here’s a teaser of the collection:
*Photography by Nas DIn