Nickie Nina’s creative director talks to Instep about carrying forth the label’s three-decade-long legacy.
Instep: How was this shoot conceptualized, and how did you pick the tone, the personalities etc.?
Nina Khan: This collection, and of course the shoot as well, were conceptualized and thought of as a tribute to Nickie’s incredible contributions to the Pakistani fashion industry – throughout in constant collaboration with myself. When we started designing together, over 30 years ago, there was no concept of fashion in Pakistan, let alone an industry. Our initial conversations with clients were more often than not spent having to educate them. Nickie played a huge role in this; explaining the difference between a designer versus going to a tailor and just getting one’s clothes stitched, or how the whole concept of bespoke design was to create clothes that were tailored to a wide range of clientele.
When it came to the actual concept of the shoot and the tone and feel of it, the design team and I immediately knew we did not want this to be the usual fashion shoot or film. We wanted this to be personal; so the people showcasing this collection are not models, they are our clients, close friends, and even family. They are people who have worn and who wear our clothes, who understand our design aesthetic; and more than anything else, who have had deep personal connections with Nickie and myself.
At the same time, we wanted to show that Nickie Nina designs are not only timeless, they are ubiquitous and suitable for a wide variety of people. We wanted to demonstrate that the same Nickie Nina outfit can be worn by someone in their 70s or someone in their 20s. For example, the sari worn by Nuscie (Nusrat Jamil) was later worn by a 20-year-old model in a photo shoot; and both wore the outfit with equal style and beauty. This also informed the people we chose to include in the shoot – not as models, but to pay homage to Nickie’s legacy of timeless elegance. Put simply, these are the people who wear and who have worn our clothes the best.
Instep: What is the Nickie Nina plan for the future, how does the label plan on moving forward without Nickie?
Nina Khan: Our plan for the future is simple! To keep doing what we’ve been doing for thirty-plus years: creating intricately designed and finely tailored clothes that are can be enjoyed by a wide range of Pakistani women, irrespective of age. Our objective was always to create wearable clothes for all women; always maintaining a fine sense of design, and a constant eye for detail and perfection.
While she may have left this world, Nickie Nina as a brand will never be without Nickie’s irrepressible presence or influence. Perhaps one of the best tributes to Nickie is the way she and I successfully trained our extremely, extremely talented design team. Over the years, they worked closely with both of us, absorbing both Nickie and my aesthetic and style sense. And today, that lives on in the design team – and myself. As fellow creative directors, Nickie and I were more than just a team; we collaborated extremely closely – not only as partners in this fashion journey, but also as sisters. When you are inseparable from someone for as long as we were, it is inevitable that the two become one. Our sense of creativity, our aesthetics, our vision for fashion and for the brand became equally inseparable and remain so.
Instep: How will the label’s legacy so far be maintained?
Nina Khan: Nickie Nina has never been about one of us; it has always been both. And this ethos has seeped into our design team, who now seamlessly represent the Nickie Nina design philosophy; a philosophy that both us sisters worked hard to develop over the years. We collaborated on more projects and collections and designs than I can remember; spent innumerable sleepless nights together; toiled and sweated together to make this dream a reality. The best way to honour Nickie’s memory, and to maintain the brand’s legacy is to simply continue doing what we’ve always done. Over the years, Nickie Nina as a brand has become synonymous with high couture, intricate designs, and an immaculate attention to details. Our design team and I will continue to keep this long tradition of elegant, timeless fashion alive today and for the future, backed by a strong management and dedicated workforce.
“Over the years, Nickie Nina as a brand has become synonymous with high couture, intricate design, and an immaculate attention to detail. Our design team and I will continue to keep this long tradition of elegant, timeless fashion alive today and for the future, backed by strong management and a dedicated workforce.”