Zara Shahjahan Lawn ’17 does stand out. Each one of the 15 designs attracts for its eastern aesthetic; it is one of the few (if not only) collections that is unapologetically traditional and doesn’t need a western angle to appeal to the fashion sense. I was flipping through the catalogue and loved the way the designs had been styled; there was a focus on basic shalwars, cotton ghararas, kurtas, phirans and dupattas. This is how lawn was meant to be worn. Oh, and you don’t need to have a closet full of expensive designer accessories to make it look good. In her own words, Zara says, “I hate that designers rely on international designer accessories to promote their prints.” I agree.
“Lawn has to look what it’s supposed to, otherwise it doesn’t attract me at all,” Zara said in a post midnight chat we had when I messaged to ask why only nine designs were appearing on her online store. I was told that the other six were already sold out! “I’m a desi at heart and it shows,” she added.
Zara also took a risk with her lawn this year. At a time when lawn is transitioning into formal wear and is getting dressy and very print-based, Zara minimized and visibly toned it down. The design named ‘Chandni’, for example, is almost monotone. ‘Dastaan’ is a classic black and gold.
“I realised that print was going to be out of trend this season and took the risk,” Zara explained. And that’s what a designer is supposed to do; push fashion forward instead of giving in to the mass market demand.
With such a focus on tradition, I also asked Zara why it was necessary to shoot the campaign in a foreign location and whether it was worth the time, effort and expenses?
“Well, depends how you use it,” she replied. “Our sole purpose was to stay in the east and we were exhausted with the locations in Pakistan so decided to venture somewhere else. We went to Vietnam for its colonial feel.”
The campaign, placing lawn in the midst of a rustic Vietnamese landscape, is stunning. The model is delightfully traditional and the way the lawn has been styled should be inspirational for all women who tend to over-westernize their fabric.
Our trend tip: pull out your khussas and leather chappals, your bangles and jhumkas and fall in love with tradition this summer!