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Retail is on a roll these days and that was apparent (more than ever) at the Dolmen Mall on Karachi’s breezy and cool harbor front mall this evening. Yes, Lahore can envy the weather! And even more to envy would be the fact that Debenhams opened it’s sixty-something store internationally, here in Karachi, causing a feeding frenzy for the city’s affluent shopaholics.

People need places to go in order to dress up and it appeared that the British departmental store – brought to Pakistan by Yasin Paracha of Team A Ventures – inspired people enough to dress up. There was a mad rush of fashion’s favourite characters, many of whom have been holidaying throughout the summer and found this a great opportunity to get together. They brought with them some interesting style moments…

The Jafri boys: Rizwan Ali and LSA winner for Best Model for 2011, Abbas

I have to say that Abbas Jafri, no matter what anyone says (and by anyone I mean a very sour Lahore-based stylist), is by far one of the most interesting looking male models in Pakistan. The only others, who could be set apart from the usual bland and boring boys, were Ifran Chaudhry (remember that gorgeous Amir Adnan shoot that Nabila styled?) and Iffy Zafar, who won LSA Best Male Model last year.

Fareshteh Aslam and Nabila, who had styled the runway (rather escalator) look for the evening.

Arshia, who stod out for the eclectic neckpiece she was wearing. The letter ‘ain’ of course is the first letter of her name spelt in Urdu or Arabic. Very hip, I lost a little bit of my heart to it!

Rabya Chaudhry and Faraz Lodhi, from Karachi the fabulous musical.

Rabya was wearing a very trendy gharara-pant designed by Sanam Chaudhri and she carried it very well by accessorizing it with a crimson belted scarf and an understated white shirt. Style doesn’t come by labeling up from head to toe, it comes with having the right aesthetic and Rabya certainly carried hers well. Not to mention that she has the perfect wash-board (ie flat) stomach to carry it off.

Hair stylist Saima made a fashionable appearance in some florescent statement heels that I just had to capture on camera.

The footwear at Debenhams may not be this zany but the range is fabulous and ample. There is something for everyone from ballerina pumps to cork-heeled wedges to jelly sandals and even satin heels for wedding and all. Certainly worth a visit.

Fashion journo Zurain Imam, posing with a pair of swimming trunks that he had an eye on.

My boys – all three of them including one husband and two sons – are delighted with Debenhams because they finally have a place to shop for basics like swimming trunks, tees, shorts, socks, boxers and fairly decent clothing that was, quite frankly, not available prior to the store’s opening. Certainly not in this abundance.

Oh, and the range of home furnishing (did I see an Al-Karam collaboration there?) is worth a visit too. Loved the crystal pictures frames from Star by JM. Very Sex and the City!

Wardha Saleem and Adnan Pardesy

Speaking of collaborations, I was personally delighted to hear that Adnan Pardesy will be collaborating with Leisure Club to bring out a designer range. The collaboration, will launch in Autumn/Winter this year and should add a lot of zest to the mega-brand. I have been writing about these collaborations for almost a decade and it pleases me to see them finally materialize.

I could go on and on about this evening because I caught up with so many people who had so much to share. Zahir Rahimtoola has just launched Pakistan’s first fashion specific e-store of its kind (check out, Maheen Khan is talking about unraveling the FPW showcasing Autumn/Winter 2012. Asad Tareen, delighted with the success of his Dubai store is thinking about his next destination.

One saw Ronak Lakhani amidst the crowd along with a plethora or social and fashion icons. The place was buzzing. And amidst this buzz one noticed the honourable Governor Sindh moving out of a photo op with the (female) models. Too liberal a look for Ramzan? Some chatty little birds chirped he refused to be photographed with the models for the group finale shot.

Oh well, I’m sure he has better things to think about. Like freeing Pak sailors from the Somali pirates. Oh but wait, we have Asif Zardari and Malik Riaz to thank for that too. So honoured we are to have such great men in our midst. So honoured.




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