Is it too soon to talk lawn?

February 7, 2016

Hell no! With around 360 lawn labels ready to unleash themselves upon the women of Pakistan, it’s important to single out those that will stand out

Is it too soon to talk lawn?

Lawn is to Pakistani women what chiffon is to a Yash Chopra film. It flirts with the wind, it gets wet in the rain. It’s ceremonious when dressed up and practical when toned down. It’s the dupatta that flies behind Kajol as she runs through a mustard field (Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge), it’s Rekha’s white dupatta in a field of multi-coloured tulips (Silsila) or the sari that Sridevi dances seductively in the rain wearing (Chandni). There’s no denying the lure of lawn. In short, it is every woman’s fantasy.

And it’s that time of the year when every Pakistani woman’s dreams do come true.

We are one week into February. Spring has already stepped into Karachi and while Lahore still suffers a freak cold wave every now and then, it’s a matter of time before a warm and endless summer rolls in. With over 350 brands of lawn expected to wash in before the monsoon rains wash us down, there will be a variety to choose from. But there are few that women will lust over as passionately as Shah Rukh obsesses over Madhuri in Dil Toh Pagal Hai.

Here’s our Lawn Lust List…


Release date: 27 February

Mill: Outsourced to various mills

Khaadi had an absolutely fantastic year in 2015. The brand came up with three editions of lawn and each one of them had its own theme and did extremely well. The prints worked on an aesthetic as well as a commercial level. This year the brand will release four editions. Shamoon, the mastermind behind brand Khaadi, feels that playing it safe always works. That said, last year’s prints were interesting, experimental and yet they were one of Khaadi’s best collections ever. You can expect a lot of florals this year. The launch of Khaadi’s lawn collection has been scheduled to coincide with the biggest Khaadi store, opening in Dolmen Mall Karachi.

Face of Khaadi lawn 2016: Saadia will be the face of Khaadi lawn this year. Last year’s campaign featured Saadia and Sadaf Kanwal but a breech of contract (Sadaf apparently shot for another brand after signing an exclusivity contract with Khaadi) lost Sadaf the campaign this year. How important is the campaign for the success of the lawn season? "I am a convert," laughed Shamoon when we asked him. He believes it has become very, very important but what you basically need is someone good looking. Does he believe in foreign brand ambassadors?

"We claim to be a national brand so we’ll never use a foreign face. That’ll go down in my will."

Shehla Chatoor

Release date: Late March

Mill: Shariq Textile Mill

This will be Shehla Chatoor’s first lawn collection and steering away from her love for luxury has been a challenge for the designer, who is best known for her luxury pret. But Shehla’s taken up the challenge with characteristic aplomb, dedicating hours and hours of meticulous research to create the 10 prints (in two colour ways each) that hope to offer women something different. She says she has tried to retain her signature while adapting it to the taste of a broad cross section of women.

"It was very tough for me to retain my signature while steering away from birds and animals," she spoke to Instep. Shehla’s lawn collection will feature a combination of Renaissance prints, vintage florals, Kashmiri motifs, Baroque prints and much more. The advantage of having designers in lawn is the design quotient they bring to the table; through lawn Shehla does intend to influence the silhouette that women style their lawn into. She is promoting a lot of experimentation with lowers, like tapered pants, flared trousers, capris, cigarette pants and even churidaars.

"20 years in the business has given me an idea of what women want," she said with complete confidence.

Face of Shehla Chatoor’s lawn campaign: This hasn’t been finalized yet; it’s a toss between a celebrity and a model.

Zara Shahjahan

Release Date: March

Mill: Outsourced to several


Zara Shahjahan feels it’s very difficult for couturiers to do lawn because they have to shift their focus from a niche clientele to a mass market. "It’s very hard to go down a different road," Zara says. "Lawn has to be designed for a mass market, which is very difficult for couturiers to do." A designer’s instinct is to innovate and create new prints but retailers insist on the conventional. The mass market wants heavy prints.

Out of the 15 designs she has created in lawn this year, Zara has balanced her prints between vintage florals, ethnic prints and two to three modern and minimalist.  The basic inspiration in this year’s lawn has been ethnic.

"I have three favourite prints, done on shalwars, and they’re all ethnic patterns," she shared, revealing that the printed trouser/shalwar was going to be big this summer. "We’ve done a lot of jungle prints but this year it’s mostly ethnic."

"We have been very careful to make sure nothing can be cast as plagiarized," she laughed.

Face of Zara’s lawn campaign: Under wraps for now…promises to be someone exciting.

Sana Safinaz

Date of release: Mid March

Mill: Outsourcing to several mills

Sana Safinaz is perhaps the most anticipated lawn brand in Pakistan and it’s been this way for years. This year promises to be no different and you can hope to expect some pretty little surprises in the collection.

Delicate chikankari will play a significant part this year but otherwise it will have a little something for everybody. "Our numbers are so big that we have to do a little for everybody," Safinaz shared with Instep. "We have to appeal to a larger base."

Like every year, the SS brand of lawn will be dressed up and formal. It’s always pitched as evening wear and the SS signature stands out because of that extra something. And despite the embroidery, silk and value added segments, it’s still the cheapest in the market.

"It’s up to the client to dress it up or down," Safinaz shared ways to wear their lawn. "Remove the border or fancy bits if you want to tone it down. But this is essentially evening wear."

Face of Sana Safinaz lawn campaign: Amna Babar

Ali Xeeshan

Date of release: 3rd week of March

Mill: Wardha

Ali Xeeshan did try his hand at lawn a couple of years ago but according to the dramatic designer, he couldn’t do what he wanted to do. This time he has experimented and played with the scale of the prints. And his lawn is digitally printed so there are no colour restrictions.

"My brand has an image so people will be willing to play along," he said with utmost confidence. "We have played with techniques in jacquard and net embroidery."

Ali has been working on 12 prints (in two colour ways each) for three volumes through summer. The Eid collection in June will be dressier, featuring dori and marori techniques.

"If we don’t introduce new techniques then how will people know what choices they have?" he answered a question on how safe it was sensible to be in lawn. Interestingly, Ali will also be releasing a 12-piece ready to wear lawn collection, again with Wardha Textiles. The textile mill will be opening its first flagship store in Lahore this February and he will be stocking his lawn and ready to wear there.

Face of Ali Xeeshan lawn campaign: expected to be Nooray


Date of release: Most likely March

Mill: Undisclosed

Ever since Khadija Shah joined hands with Sapphire, one has to be prepared for a double dose of enamouring lawn from the master couturier. In a plethora of ikat prints, paired with solid bottoms, her innovative, print-on-print aesthetic is always a refreshing sight. Drawing inspiration from various cultures, floral blooms, travels across continents and geometrical patterns, the Elan lawn is a must-have for the modern day woman looking to break conventions.

"The strength of our lawn is the diversity in print and I believe designer lawn needs to be a cut above the ordinary, standing out in a sea of lawns and that is exactly what we strive for with each collection," the designer had said last year when her line-up of Ottoman-inspired, and Sicillian, designs caused a frenzy among lawn fanatics across cities.

While priced a bit steeply in comparison to other luxe lawns, the three-piece suit can be easily converted into three different outfits, by those who find a mish-mash of prints too overbearing. But whatever you choose to do with it, the excitement and demand for it will be no different from last year.

Face of Elan campaign: Under wraps as of now…

Faraz Manan

Date of release: March

Mill: Crescent

Faraz Manan is one of the few designers to have realized the global business potential of Pakistani fashion and it seems with every move he takes to branch out, the couturier is only becoming more creatively savvy. Case in point: this year, the designer will be doing two different lawn collections - one with Crescent and one under his own label. "The Faraz Manan lawn will be what designer lawn is all about - luxurious and opulent with the regular set of accessories and embellishments whereas Crescent Lawn will be more wearable, affordable and a casual affair to wear during day time," he revealed the details.

Faraz’ lawn is one for all seasons with a varying colour palette and design inspirations that can take you from day through night, and he’d like to keep it that way because he doesn’t believe in lawn having a set theme. "Lawn can’t follow a specific theme because you want to give women a variety of options to choose from for different times of the day," he pointed out. "It’s not like choosing an outfit from a particular collection; it’s making 18 different prints in different colour ways that will suit every woman’s palate. Having said that, the prints will retain the Faraz Manan signature style."

Like every year, the catalogue shoot with Kareena modeling the prints in a serene dessert is what’s going to make one give into temptations. The Bollywood beauty is the official brand ambassador for the local label and there are no two ways about it.

Face of Faraz Manan lawn campaign: Kareena Kapoor

-- With additional information from Nida Ameen

Is it too soon to talk lawn?