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Interview

Style Sublime By Sumeha Khalid

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ara Shahid has been designing since 1998 and has come to be regarded as an acclaimed designer/entrepreneur and a fashion icon in her own right. She introduced her independent label Sublime by Sara

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in 2003 in Pakistan. “The emphasis of my design has always been on clean, flowing lines. I design a classic, fuss free design. The cut and embellishment complement each other in symmetry and design,” shares Shahid. Recently, she launched her new studio space and lifestyle store in Lahore - the Sublime Studio. The studio has been divided to represent her

acclaimed prêt a porter line Simply Sublime and classic semi-formal wear with Sublime by Sara with a separate Sublime Divine Studio created for couture. From western casuals to eastern bridals it’s all here, under one roof. Speaking about the launch of her new space, Sara reveals, “For me a space, a lifestyle, harmony and coherence has always been extremely


important. I need an environment that reflects my design philosophy and that is what the Sublime Studio is for me. With the studio, I have endeavoured to create an extension of myself, my philosophy, my signature. Sublime to me has been a very personal part of myself as I only do what I truly believe in and when I am inspired from within. So today I bring to you the brand new Sublime Studio.� And without further ado, we bring you excerpts of our interview with Sara Shahid about her sublime style. Q: When did you move into this studio, in what year? A: I have had my store in the same building on MM Alam Road (Lahore) since the last five years. We have just recently, in November 2012, moved up one floor into the SUBLIME Studio as the space is much larger – with this space I have been able to convert my retail store into a complete lifestyle store. Even though we are located on the main MM Alam Road, the Sublime Studio is very quaint and away from the madness. Q: Where did you draw inspiration

for the interior of your studio? A: I have always loved a minimalist aesthetic. I need a serene, uncluttered and peaceful space to work in. The Studio is just that and I love it! Q: Is there any dominant theme in the interior? A: Yes, it is very Zen. We have incorporated a beautiful large white Buddha fountain and some natural raw bamboo. The feel is very contemporar y and raw. The space is predominantly white and that gives openness

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and a very clean look. The space has a raw brick finish and cemented floors. There is a very lofty look to it and that’s what gives it its uniqueness. Q: How long did it take you to decorate the studio? A: We had to do it in a very short span of time. We started work in September opened the Studio by November. Q: Did you hire an interior decorator or did you decorate it yourself? A: A very good friend and interior designer Fatima Hassan did it for me. We both worked closely together to make it come together. She understood my aesthetics and put all of it together for me. Fatima’s team was also brilliant and executed the work without any difficulties. It was truly such a wonderful process thanks to Fatima; I loved every bit of the making of the Sublime Studio.

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Could not have done it without her! Q: What’s your favourite feature of the studio? A: I love the entire Studio so it’s tough for me to say which is my favourite part. The entire space is totally me. I have a separate space for the Sublime Divine Studio, which is for bridal/couture clients and that is my little private space in which I enjoy working, creating and designing. Q: Anything you would like to change or add to it? A: No! I just made it. I feel it’s got all the elements I need at the moment for my label. Q: What about the artifacts you have used to decorate your studio. A: I love the sound of water, it is very relaxing. My white Buddha fountain which I bought from Baahir is at the entrance against a backdrop of bamboo. My personal

space, the Sublime Divine Studio has some of my most precious pictures and a few personal things that I love to be surrounded by. We have a small terrace which is lovely, especially in the winter. Q: Sara Shahid’s Sublime Studio in a nutshell? A: I feel that my clothes, like my space, are understated; they require an uncluttered, clean space to be displayed in. In my opinion, clothes, colors and cuts stand out more against white. Spaces should be created to compliment your style and your aesthetics. As a designer you are selling a lifestyle, a clear signature style. Clients should have a relaxing experience and now that we have all our labels under one roof it’s a one-stop-shop. From everyday clothing to bridal, it’s all under one roof.


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F A S H I O N F O R W A R D

By Irene Johnson

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he world of fashion is always changing, and sometimes it can be hard to keep up. Highend fashion houses release new lines each season with a whole new range of styles, colors, themes and trends. Upcoming designers can also bring new lines each season, and they often take inspiration from the high-end fashion houses. Although it may be somewhat difficult to keep up with the ever changing trends, it allows each season to bring exciting and fun new additions to your wardrobe. Starting out at the beginning of the year, the fashion world has already revealed some exciting trends for 2013. Designers like, Aisha Alam, Ayesha Khurram,Saira Rizwan,Sehyr Anis says Pastels were a huge trend on the runway this season. Baby blues,

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pinks and yellows were featured prominently on this year’s catwalk. Light hues and pale sorbet colors were featured in clothes, shoes and purses, but also as a trend for nail polishes. Color blocking is a trend which has remained in fashion since the end of last year, but is expected to be prominent during spring 2013. Color blocking involves wearing bright items together. Prints of sea life and ocean waves have been a prominent feature on clothing this season. Images of shells, starfish, sea horses, pearls and other ocean accents, such as scalloped edges, were a major trend on the catwalk this season. Bold and abstract prints were a major feature of many collections. Futuristic patterns, swirls, and abstract graphics were a key highlight, as were bird prints and tropical landscapes Orange and tangerine colors were very popular on the catwalk this season Dresses and accessories in orange shades dominated the

Fashion is always moving forward and new trends are always emerging, but this is what keeps fashion exciting and interesting catwalk this season, and could be easily named the number one color of the season For example, a purple trouser may be worn with a bright red shirt. Designers such as Nabila Fatima, Nosheen Rana, Monica Paracha, Kauser Humayun and Madiha Ibrar has featured color blocking in their collections. Fashion is always moving forward and new trends are always emerging, but this is what keeps fashion exciting and interesting. Each new season brings the opportunity for you to then add something new to your closet


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Books

The wakeup call Will Pakistan’s ruling elite lend an ear to it? By Aziz-ud-Din Ahmad

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he author is a perceptive historian who has underlined some of the most striking trends that have shaped the present and pose disturbing questions about the nature of the Pakistani state. Beginning from the early partition days, the writer traverses the last seven decades and brings the study up to date till 2011. He has a lot to say about the possibilities and vulnerabilities that await the country in short and a relatively longer time frame. Talbot has written a highly relevant and, despite being scholarly, a really readable book. His words should be given weight because despite being straight forward he remains sympathetic to Pakistan. He concludes that while the country has so far muddled through the multifarious challenges it faced, this may not be possible in the days to come. The author underlines five major themes in the country’s development: historical inheritance, civil military relationship, the external dimension, center-province relations and role of Islam in Pakistan’s public life. Talbot traces the dominance of the military over civilian authority to its origins in the peculiar colonial era governance introduced in the areas comprising Pakistan today. Britain visualized the region as a security state where efficiency and

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security were to be given precedence over political representation. For this the feudal and tribal structures had to be preserved, the rural elite coopted and strict rule imposed with the help of bureaucracy and, wherever n e e d e d , the army. S u b s e qu e n t l y Jinnah also had to enter into compromises with the p o w e r f u l landed and tribal elite. One government after another missed the chances to i m p r o v e governance and Pakistan: A New History allow the people to genuinely By Ian Talbot, participate in Oxford University Press, Karachi, the democratic Pages: 281, Price: Rs 285 running the country. There were instead long military writer focuses on the impact of tenures alternating with civilian the interaction on the state and rule where military enjoyed veto society. The US support for Ayub over vital policy decisions. While dealing with Pakistan’s Khan’s military regime undermined relations with the US, India, democracy in its formative years. Afghanistan and China the “US help bolstered Ayub Khan’s


Martial Law just as much as it was to later sustain Zia’s grip on power”. He rejects the notion of the military playing a modernizing role. “Rather than being modernizing force, the military has sustained traditional hierarchies.” Summarizing the experience of the military rules, Talbot concludes, “In reality the military has been more effective as a state usurper than a state savior.” This partly explains the unpopularity of the US in Pakistan despite all the financial and military aid. The writer traces the heritage of distrust between Pakistan and India to the initial failure of the Indian National Congress to mentally accept Pakistan. Added to it were disputes over the division of assets and water resources. “India as an emerging South Asian hegemon could have done more to alleviate Pakistan’s security concerns.” New Delhi didn’t look beyond its immediate interests, Talbot takes note of Kashmir as a key divisive issue which is of existential importance for the two countries. He considers Pakistan’s unending conflict with India as a calamitous blunder. The enduring conflict has hardened India’s stance, spawned extremist outfits, and overshadowed the provision of basic services to its citizenry. Bad relations with Afghanistan have harmed both countries. The author particularly notes the destabilizing effect of millions of Afghan refugees in Pakistan, particularly in tilting the ethnic balance. Talbot also takes into account the increasing dependence of Pakistan on China and its pros and cons. “While relying on China as its principal future economic and military guarantor could rid Pakistan of the historical baggage of its US link, it would perpetuate the state’s dependency on external strategic interests and further complicate relations with India” The sense of deprivation prevailing in smaller provinces is traced to the denial of ethnic identities and appropriation of their resources by the Centre that began soon after the creation of

Pakistan. The attempt to repress the protests with military might instead of redressing the grievances led to the separation of East Pakistan. The policy continues to deepen the sense of alienation in the smaller provinces. Several military operations in Balochistan and the water disputes between Sindh and Punjab remain running sores, threatening the unity of the country. The writer takes note of the 18th amendment ensuring greater provincial autonomy and the 7th NFC Award which has considerably increased the share of the provinces in the divisible pool. The renaming of the NWFP as KP too is a step towards redressing an old grievance. But isn’t it a case of too little, too late? “The anxiety is that they have come too late to reconcile Balochistan and that the years of decline in governance mean that there is now insufficient administrative capacity to implement effectively the devolution of power to the provinces.” Dealing with the role of Islam, Talbot raises the question: whether Pakistan was meant to be a country for the Muslims of Northern India or an Islamic state. He notes the “long term trend” in Pakistani society to become more religiously conservative. He traces the tradition of jihad in the region to the precolonial era, with similar trends during the British period and in the years of Pakistan’s history. He notes Zia’s contribution to the extremist tendencies. But he takes note of a rival trend also, i.e. “the established pluralist traditions of Islam embodied in the Sufi influence in the Pakistan areas.” The state has played a decisive role in the promotion of extremist ideas. Whether it will change course now remains to be seen. Successive governments in Pakistan have missed the opportunities to set things right. The situation has therefore continued to aggravate. With Pakistan having been turned into a national security state, focus has been shifted away from social development to defence needs. With the passage of time the army has got further entrenched in

politics and the economy. Under Zardari army plays a decisive role in formulating key policies while the government is contented with the day-to-day running of the administration. “Democratic rule since 2008 has seen an increase in military expenditure rather than its reining in”. Pakistan faces a security dilemma that can destabilize it. The attacks on key security installations like the GHQ, Mehran Naval Base and the PAF Air base Kamra underline the gravity of the threat. So do the attacks that target the civilian population. In 2009-10 alone 1,835 people lost their lives in 1,906 terror attacks. While the country copes with the existential threat from the militants, other highly vital issues remain unaddressed. Thirty six million people remain below poverty line. The neglect of education has led to a situation where nearly half the population is illiterate, having no future. Marginalized groups that include women, the minorities and the rural and urban poor remain neglected and discounted. The demographic time bomb continues to click with no government paying attention to it. “Pakistan could within the next couple of decades have a population of around 220 million people, with a water shortage equivalent to over two thirds of the present flow of the Indus, 6 million of its youth unemployed and close on 30 million of its citizens out of school.” The country would have no resources to feed such a large population. Water availability has decreased from 5,000 cubic meters per capita in 1950s to about 1,500. The figure projected for 2020 is 850. Water wars between provinces and Pakistan and India could take place unless water conservation strategies are put in place and the two neigbouring countries develop cooperation. Will the ruling elite hear the wakeup call?

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Lounge issue no 116