In Pakistan, summer literally means the unveiling of all kinds of ‘designer’ lawn, a phenomenon as weird as it is new
I have a confession to make today: I’m not one for fancy clothes and elaborate embellishments. A slightly insignificant confession, if you may, but as they say there’s a time and place for everything.
In all the years I’ve walked the earth, never have I ever been lured in by the glamour of intricate patterns, crochets and nets. The appeal of high fabric is lost on me.
Now, of course, this indifference poses a particular problem. In Pakistan, where Spring literally means the unveiling of all kinds of ‘designer’ lawn (a phenomenon as weird as it is new), an uninitiated person like myself hardly stands a chance with the local crowd. Come spring and my WhatsApp notifications increase manifold; with groups brimming with discussions on upcoming lawn exhibitions and launches; in addition to the regular mom-in-law issues that never seem to cease. And though most of my friends have made their peace with this aversion of mine, it will still take some time for them to eventually learn to live with the bitter truth.
Trust me, it’s not that I haven’t tried to understand where this obsession is coming from. Just a few summers ago, when I felt particularly grand, I decided to dabble in a few ‘designer’ lawn joras. However, after spending thousands of rupees on various -- strikingly similar -- outfits, I found out that they had started losing their lustre after just seven to eight washes. Needless to say, I felt horrified, cheated, robbed and heartbroken. My every-pattern-dumped-on-one-outfit(s) were now sadly reduced to an unglamorous existence.
It was then that I decided that this game was not for the feeble-hearted.
I also have a major difficulty understanding the seasonal frenzy surrounding the ‘disappointing’ prints of some major brands, when I fail to see any difference between their prints and the ones that were launched the year before (though I’ve often been told I’m uncouth in this regard)!
Every year, women anxiously wait to get their hands on prints that surface in exhibitions like wildfire and later in different outlets. And every year they’re unanimously disappointed in one brand or the other. A vicious cycle of sorts.
Of course, I have also witnessed my share of monstrosities that were enough to trigger an existential crisis. Just last year, I spotted one woman in a print that resembled particles of paper towel scattered across the fabric, suggesting a half-hearted and quickly abandoned attempt to clean up some mess. Also, who needs to carry posies when one can just wear a giant yellow flower from head to toe?
How does one get excited about this, is beyond me. But one needs to commend the passion and enthusiasm -- think never-ending queues and cat fights! -- that are shown every year when these prints are launched.
Another unsolved mystery is the absolute devastation that lawn aficionados feel when one extremely-embellished-over-the-top-flowery print goes out of stock. To be honest, one really just needs to look around and chances are you will find another quite similar extremely-embellished-over the top-flowery horror somewhere else. Simple, isn’t it?
But apparently, it isn’t. Because no matter how similar the two prints look like to us --the unenlightened -- there is a slight diversity somewhere that we can just not put our finger on.
So the lawn discussions go on; they never stop, they shouldn’t stop. Because that’s how they will evolve, that is how lawn gradually came to this strange place from the simple thing that it once was. And that is how it might find its way back, or get to somewhere better.