The summer of 2011 will be etched in fashion history as the year when the biggest names of the fraternity turned towards designing ‘the’ fabric for the masses — lawn. The fact that by donning the designer tag, lawn has slipped beyond the hands of the masses is another debate altogether. Nonetheless, lawn has become an important medium for luxury labels to become accessible to a vast majority. From a philistine summer staple, it has become a high-end luxury product with embellishment and trimmings, and for brands synonymous with glamor like Sana Safinaz and Hasan Sheheryar Yasin, it is capitalizing on this image of grandeur that will sell, a route that a fellow courtier like Umar Sayeed for instance didn’t take, and just created plain simple lawn.
Like everything he does, HSY’s lawn spells what he calls “unapologetic glamour,” which he has firmly stated will be “unapologetically expensive than the rest”. Estimated to range from Rs2,500 to Rs6,500, HSY has created lawn for five different categories of women. The demographics are motivated by the spectrum of age groups in his own family and the design pallette is inspired from his trots around the globe: Latin America, Paris, Spain, Turkey and the mosaics of Italy but carrying the signature HSY embellishments of motifs so closely entwined that it almost looks like tapestry.
What one expects from HSY is aplomb. So, even when he does lawn, there is great pressure for it to come up to the grandeur that defines the label. Hence, there are chiffon dupattas with every suit and a piece that is fully embroidered in virgin white that Yasin has deliberately dyed both red and saffron, colour’s that have the most propensity to bleed, to show his fabric is worthy. What is also noteworthy is his insistence on unisex wear; there are two lines of lawn that can be fashioned for both men and women replete with embellished ‘galaas’ that can be used in its intended form around the neck or placed at the side of a kameez or even on the back.
Yasin is an astute businessman, before designing his look book, he went onto facebook and asked women whether they would prefer a short hemline or a long trailing one. The overwhelming response for the long classic HSY gown look meant that the brand had to bow down and create all ensembles according to public demand. And while some are advocating ready-to-wear lawn, HSY is staying far away and vehemently opposing the idea since he feels it robs women of their creative prowess. “Lawn is the only option you have to be who you are. The creative process of having your own lawn gets taken away for women with a ready to wear lawn which means that all women will be dressed identically albeit in different sizes. Why pigeonhole them? Let’s not mix lawn with prêt a porter,” he insists.
“Our appointments have quadrupled since our lawn billboards have gone up,” says an elated HSY who has embarked upon an ambitious marketing campaign stretching from Lahore, Karachi, Islamabad, and Faisalabad to Peshawar, Multan and Sialkot — cities that lie on the periphery of fashion. “Lawn’s a fantastic way to reach out to everyone who wants to become a part of the HSY lifestyle,” says Yasin, but given the amount of work he has had to put in, jokes that “I’ve grown old because of lawn!”
The nationwide exhibitions kickoff tomorrow in Lahore.
HSY’s tips on how to wear lawn this season: