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Khadijah Shah isn’t one to sit and brood.

“I’m very excited about refocusing on Élan,” a poised and characteristically well-composed Khadijah said when we met in Karachi just days after her break-up with textile brand Sapphire had gone public. An official announcement via press release was made yesterday. Dealing with that could not have been easy, as she did share, but we had to keep all Sapphire-related information off-record due to legalities. That’s another story for another day.

Right now it’s ‘delete and refresh’ for her. Last year this time she was procuring accessories for Sapphire in Shenzhen, China. This year she’s headed to Europe, Paris to catch up on fashion fairs, after which she will proceed to Florence to meet her vendors and then she’ll take a two day break in Rome. She’s gone from high street to high end once again, and it seems like she’s come full circle.



Today Khadijah was in Karachi with her bridal collection, an exercise that has been bringing her to the city at least twice a year, every year, due to the immense demand for her brand. And Élan is the brand that put this designer on the map.

“The last few years have divided my time between Élan and Sapphire but it’s time to take thing forward now,” she smiled. “When you think everything has ended, it is actually the beginning.”

Recapping Élan’s trajectory, one remembers how the brand took Lahore society by storm the very first time Khadijah Shah showed at the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week; she went from strength to strength, eventually coming in with her own brand of Élan lawn in 2012, giving reigning lawn queens Sana Safinaz solid competition. Élan extended to lawn and then a prêt line called Vital and the designer railroaded ahead, picking up awards at every corner. Sapphire was the coup that placed her at the very top of the fashion pyramid.

“I grew beyond couture and lawn. I did things I had never done before,” Khadijah spoke about the invaluable experience she had acquired in the last three years; it is experience that has equipped her to embark on bigger ventures, which is exactly what she is planning these days.



The foundation of her brand, however, was always bridal couture, which she returned to last year with that spectacular solo show that changed the course of how fashion shows were being done in the country. Sprawled across her residential estate, it was a show people talked about for months. And Khadijah is charged to do something bigger now.

She won’t be showing at the PFDC L’Oreal Bridal Week in Lahore, she revealed. Instead, she will be showing a capsule of her latest bridal collection to a select audience. She says she wants to shift the bridal calendar to March, which for her makes more sense than showing bridal couture in October. The Élan solo show will probably take place in Spring 2018 and until then, a capsule of wedding wear for 2017 will be unveiled next month.

What would she say are the key trends dominating wedding wear this season?

“Palais Indochine went deep and jewel-toned,” she refers to her 2016 collection. “We’re reverting to a brighter palette now. We’ve done so much crystal work that we’re thinking of less crystal and more craft now. You’ll see a lot of gotta and threadwork, reworked in a classic Élan way. As always, we will experiment with silhouettes, even in wedding wear. It will all be very grand.”