Fashion’s Cross-border Connection

Sonya Rehman

The mesh of Bollywood and Pakistani fashion: how Bollywood beauties have launched big lawn brands across the border, in Pakistan.

Kareena Kapoor
Kareena Kapoor

Lawn has fast become a force to be reckoned with in Pakistan. Each summer, Pakistani designers designing lawn have been in fierce competition with one another, working neck to neck to ensure solid brand awareness and popularity, resulting in big numbers in sales.

It is a fascinating business. And every year, Pakistani women – who can afford designer lawn – wait in anticipation when designers launch star-studded advertising campaigns featuring a bevy of Bollywood superstars modelling gorgeous designs in exotic locations.

The examples are numerous: Kareena Kapoor for Faraz Manan, Nargis Fakhri for Elan, Priyanka Chopra for Fahad Hussayn, Jacqueline Fernandez for Zainab Chottani, Katrina Kaif for Five Star Classic Lawn, Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor and Dia Mirza for Firdous lawn, and more!

Kareena Kapoor

Modelled for: Faraz Manan

Kareena Kapoor models for Faraz Manan
Kareena Kapoor

Pakistani designer, Faraz Manan, under his brand, Crescent Lawn, chose Kareena Kapoor as the face of his hugely popular lawn collection this year. This was the second time in a row that Crescent featured the Bollywood star.

Faraz Manan
Faraz Manan

Shot in Goa, India, the current line focused on pastel colours and ultra-feminine designs – the beachy feel to the shoot worked exceedingly well for the local and international market. And of course, Kareena; the natural beauty who looked ethereal at best. It also must be stated that this wasn’t the first time that the designer was working with a Kapoor – in the past, Faraz has worked with Kareena’s older sister, Karisma, who was the face of his brand thrice!

Karisma Kapoor
Karisma Kapoor

“For a lawn [brand] that’s just starting out, Indian faces pique customer curiosity,” Faraz had stated to the Pakistani publication, DAWN. “For my brand, it helps that Kareena and Karisma have a regional appeal rather than popularity just within India.”

 

Jacqueline Fernandez

Modelled for: Zainab Chottani

Jacqueline Fernandez
Jacqueline Fernandez

This year, Jacqueline Fernandez modelled for Zainab Chottani’s lawn collection which was launched in collaboration with Lakhany Silk Mills in Pakistan. The shoot featured gorgeous patterns and vibrant colours in twelve unique designs. Shot in Thailand, the campaign depicted Jacqueline with her luscious locks in beautiful, full-length shots that played with natural light. The campaign was a raging success to say the least.

“We chose Jacqueline mainly because of her star power,” Zainab tells Masala!, “We really wanted someone different to work with. Even though we had options, the reason why I eventually chose Jacqueline is because I think she has a great mixture of both feminine and glamorous, therefore I thought she’d be the ideal choice for us.”

Zainab Chottani
Zainab Chottani

While Zainab mentions that she prefers promoting local talent, Bollywood stars are needed for global appeal. “Lawn is now selling globally, not just in Pakistan but in the UAE, India, the US and the UK – that’s why stars with mass appeal are needed to tap into other markets!”

 

Priyanka Chopra

Modelled for: Fahad Hussayn

Priyanka Chopra
Priyanka Chopra

Fahad Hussayn, who launched his super edgy line, Print Museum, in collaboration with Ittehad Textiles in 2012, stated that it was an incredible experience working with the Bollywood celebrity, Priyanka Chopra.

Fahad Hussayn
Fahad Hussayn

“Bollywood is huge in Pakistan,” Fahad tells Masala!, “There’s a massive following that a Bollywood star comes with and it makes a big difference to your label’s strategy regarding selling. But apart from that, I think it’s more about getting a global reach out of such a collaboration. When you’re designing lawn, it’s not only for people living in Pakistan – it’s also for Pakistanis living abroad and others who want to get their hands on our lawn. Indians usually love our stuff; the design sensibility, the colours, the quality of lawn itself. So yes, getting a Bollywood star on board makes a massive difference to your sales. But eventually, what sells is the quality – people are attracted to the name for sure, but when they come and access the quality, that’s when they’re willing to pay for it.”

 

 Nargis Fakhri

Modelled for: Elan

Nargis Fakhri
Nargis Fakhri

In 2013, Pakistani designer, Khadija Shah, under her label, Elan, brought on board the stunning Nargis Fakhri for Elan’s spring lawn collection. “I wanted to work with some larger than life,” Khadija tells Masala!, “Nargis was extremely alluring, she was just launching her movie career and she had everyone’s attention. I liked that people didn’t know enough about her and were supremely intrigued by her. We approached her through her agent and she accepted.”

For Khadija, it made sense to choose an Indian celebrity one year and a Pakistani face for the following year as that would aid in the designer’s brand in catering to both the Indian and Pakistani markets. Speaking about Bollywood’s immense popularity in the country, Khadija says: “Up until recently, Pakistan has had a fledgling movie industry of its own. Everyone has been clued into Indian cinema, so the fascination and admiration for Indian actors is immense [in Pakistan].”

Khadija Shah
Khadija Shah

Given the recent trend of Pakistani designers choosing Bollywood stars as the face of their lawn brands, does the designer think the trend will continue in the years to come? “It may or may not be a trend,” Khadija responds, “Like I said, there aren’t many famous silver screen celebrities in Pakistan. As a designer, if you’ve worked with most Pakistani celebrities, Indian starlets are the next logical choice.”

Masala! [Magazine]

 

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