What sparked your interest in fashion designing considering you are a business graduate?
I’ve always been passionate about fashion but during the decade that I was doing my bachelors, going into fashion meant that you were aspiring to be a darzi. Considering the constant A’s, my family had somehow visualized me working in a place like the IMF or World Bank. However I’ve since grown up enough to understand that a career in fashion can mean whatever I want it to mean and that if you’re eventually doing what you really love then everything else seems worth it.
How is motherhood treating you? Is it difficult to juggle your career and family life?
I never know how to answer this question. Mainly because I wonder if men who have recently become fathers are ever asked if its difficult for them to juggle their career and family life. I love being a mother and I’ve worked hard to reach this point in my career. I’m hoping to find a way to balance both aspects of my life so I can excel at motherhood and as a designer. In the meantime, I hope society evolves a little so that the onus isn’t just on women to ‘juggle’ career and family. Step up your game, men! =)
What’s the best thing about heading Beechtree’s Luxury Pret line?
This one’s easy. I get to do what I love every single day, set a direction for the line’s aesthetic and work with a fabulous team day in and day out. What could be better?
What part of your job do you love the most?
While designing is my first love, as part of my job at Beechtree I also work with a team to procure a complete range of accessories from China… picture being out with your best friends on a spending spree with an unlimited budget. Sometimes, I feel like a teenager, except that now people respect my style and taste. To hand pick accessories in another country and then have them be appreciated en masse in Pakistan… there’s no better feeling!
Which fashion blogs do you follow religiously?
I follow all the mainstream ones to keep myself up to date but I particularly love opinionated blogs/bloggers like aamiriat, umairica, thestylejournal etc. Its especially so much fun when they highlight replicas in fashion, photography and so on.
Your husband is also a photographer. Do you often get to do shoots with him? If so, how’s it like working together?
Maaz has been so wonderful about teaching me the ropes of photography. I go on shoots with him on weekends and after work. We love working together and I must say it has added another dimension to how I design because you see clothes differently when you’re also looking at them in terms of location, the person wearing them, personality, angles, etc.
You were working at Generation before going to Beechtree. What made you want to switch and how has the transition been?
Generation was such a wonderful learning experience for me. They trusted in my ability when I had nothing but a big mouth to show for it. I grew into fashion at Generation and the space and team there made that growth possible. But after more than five years there, I felt like it was time for a fresh start. There’s something so challenging and wonderful about starting at a new place, learning their aesthetic and trying to match your vision with theirs. It keeps you from falling into a rut and you’re constantly on your toes. Beechtree has been so welcoming, and I couldn’t ask to be working for a better brand in terms of their vision for the future.
Which international designer is on your mood-board currently?
These days, I’m loving Pankaj and Nidhi. I can spend hours drooling over their designs.
Does inspiration from countries other than Pakistan influence your work?
Of course. I think my personal style is closely aligned to Western wear and I’m a fan of minimalism so I follow international fashion very closely. A lot of my inspiration for cuts and silhouettes comes from international designers. The challenge is incorporating them to fit our own more flamboyant aesthetic here in South Asia. Sometimes, the result from blending the fashion stylings of the two cultures can truly be transformative! That’s what I’m looking for when I design, a moment when all the little pieces from various inspirations come together. The aha! moment, if you will!
What’s the greatest piece of practical styling advice that you’ve been given in your life and who gave it to you?
‘Comfortable can be fashionable.’ I think about this often. People don’t want to look like they’re wearing sweats, but can I make them feel that comfortable while also making sure they look great? Where there’s a will, there’s a way! Ladies, if you feel comfortable (emotionally, physically, spiritually whatever), you’ll guaranteed 100% look great.
Anything interesting and exciting that we can expect from Beechtree in the near future?
We have new unstitched, casual pret and luxury pret collections coming in all the time. And keep an eye on our accessories section as well – a whole range of on-trend shoes, jewellery, scarves and bags. Also alot of people probably don’t know but we do really cool winter sweaters and jackets too!
Gully Boy: Ranveer & Aalia deliver heart winning performances
Start Rating 4.5 out of 5.0
Zoya Akhtar’s Gully Boy is a story of a young man living in sub slums, that also highlights India’s emerging hip-hop subculture. Gully Boy is inspired from the life journey of two street rappers Vivian Fernandes aka Divine and Naved Shaikh aka Naezy.
With fascinating writing, excellent texture this world is a revelation, I would say this is the first great Bollywood film of current year.
The basic storyline of the Gully Boy is simple and typical Bollywood movie. You must have heard several stories about a boy who has nothing and ends up gaining fame. A nobody that has no one to look up to, facing several hurdles, have to work hard to get basics in life, family issues, flawed love life etc. We know that the Rap music has always been a music that belonged to underprivileged, marginalized young adults. However, the powerful screenplay, astounding cinematography, real life dialogues makes it something to stand tall among all. Every scene of this film is carefully crafted to near perfection.
Ranveer Singh as Murad is battling to survive with a tough life. Murad is not a kind of a hero who has all the confidence in the world. He is shy, and is afraid of several things in life. He is a commoner roaming the streets. Ranveer has set high standard for himself, in the next movie he will have to match this performance in order to compete. The journey he took from his struggling phase to his celebrity status phase reveals his potential.
Aalia Bhatt electrifying performance outshines everyone in every single frame she was in. She portrayed Safeena with utmost zeal, her hothead character demands somethings extra, and she delivers like a duck to water. Unlike Murad, Safeena was very clear from the very beginning what she actually wants to do with her life. She is fearless, determined, passionate, daring, and ready to go to any length for her goals. This is a very unconventional character of sub-slum area Muslim girl and perhaps no one can play it better than Aalia Bhatt.
Kalki Koechlin character was more like a cameo though very important. She added the much-needed brake from the slum life lead characters are living and handles different shades of it with class.
For me, the biggest surprise was the character of MC Sher aka Siddhant Chaturvedi. It was difficult to believe that it was his first film. He has done a marvellous job. He didn’t look like a new comer. He graces every scene he was in with commitment and enthusiasm.
Vijay Raaz played as Ranveer’s father matches his talent. It appeared as if this role is made for him.
Murad’s drug dealer friend Vijay Varma has a role that also has several layers. He always looked compassionate.
Murad’s mother played by Amruta Subash owned every emotional situation with a style and did have a huge impact.
Zoya Akhtar has achieved something in Gully Boy. The film starts and ends with the bang. It makes the audience listen to the sounds and voices that you cannot ignore. Gully Boy is a rare film, it is near perfect in almost every department. This is not limited to rap music, it is about humans and humanity. It is time to take a bow to this cinematic marvel of Bollywood.
The only regret would be 3 missing kiss scenes that our CBFC chopped out for the sake of moral policing.
Top 5 Timeless Books
One can never have or read enough books and that’s a fact. Reading books is the healthiest addiction out there and definitely not one that you should ever stop. Even if you have read one good book in your life, you will know what reading gives. It gives you incomparable pleasure. So here are our top 5 books that everyone should read once in their lives.
1. Harry Potter series
From the opening line of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone through the poignant end of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, few book series are as gripping as J.K. Rowling’s. Decades after the tales of “The Boy Who Lived” were first published, these books continue to enchant and inspire readers of all ages. This list includes all of Rowling’s magical novels, as well as a few bonus books she wrote for Harry’s biggest fans and a play she co-wrote with two others. We can say from personal experience that one can never have enough of the Harry Potter series.
2. Homo Sapiens
Homo sapiens rules the world because it is the only animal that can believe in things that exist purely in its own imagination, such as states, money and human rights. Starting from this provocative idea, Sapiens goes on to retell the history of our species from a completely fresh perspective. It explains that money is the most pluralistic system of mutual trust ever devised; that the treatment of animals in modern agriculture is probably the worst crime in history; and that even though we are far more powerful than our ancient ancestors, we aren’t much happier.
3. Game Of Thrones
This series needs no introduction, HBO’s beloved show helped place the critically acclaimed books on everyone’s radar. Full of twists at every turn, in depth character development, a slightly different plot than the one presented to us in video format, this is something you should definitely get your hands on. If that alone doesn’t help sell you these books, the fact that you’ll have an upper hand on people who only watch the TV show should suffice.
4. Dan Brown’s Robert Langdon
For all history, art, cryptography and semiotic buffs, these books are a dream come true. Balancing a perfect amount of fiction with reality, Dan Brown keeps us immersed and on our feet. Providing a lengthy deconstruction of the Vatican, Freemasons and many other secret societies, there’s not a moment of boredom in sight. If you’re looking for books that are intellectually stimulating yet fun to read, these are perfect for you.
5. The Alchemist
Paul Coehlo’s masterpiece, which is saying a lot considering all the other amazing books he has written. An alluring and beautiful story about a man’s journey of self discovery and yearning, following one’s heart and desires, and most importantly one’s faith in themselves. A must read for everyone unsure of themselves and what the future might hold for them, the book offers an enlightening experience.
Kangana Ranaut hits new low: “Pakistan ban is not the focus, Pakistan destruction is”
From raising the issue of nepotism in bollywood to standing up for the #MeToo movement, Kangana Ranaut has now taken another route. In wake of the Pulwama attacks, the actress cancelled her success party for movie “Manikarnika” in solidarity but that was not the end of it.
Ranaut went on to bash cultural exchange between Indian and Pakistani artists claiming “Pakistan ban is not the focus, Pakistan destruction is”. Even though Pakistan denies any role in the bombing, India has accused the state of being complicit.
Ranaut has always voiced her opinion and has been highly regarded as a strong voice for female empowerment, however has taken things too far this time. Coming from an artist, these words seem irresponsible and ignorant and some have claimed that Ranaut is now trying to make her way into politics.
She went on to bash Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi for accepting an invite by the Karachi Arts Council to celebrate Azmi’s father, Kaifi Azmi’s birth centenary. However, in light of the attacks, they cancelled their trip but Kangana did not stop there.
In an interview with PINKVILLA she said “People like Shabana Azmi calling for halt on cultural exchange, they are the ones who promote Bharat tere Tukade honge gangs…. why did they organize an event in Karachi in the first place when Pakistani artists have been banned after Uri attacks and now they are trying to save face. Film industry is full of such antinationals who boost enemies morals in many ways but right now is the time to focus on decisive actions.
Azmi responded – “You really think at a time like this a personal attack on me can be of any significance when the entire country stands as one in our grief and in condemning this dastardly Pulwama attack? May God bless her. Shabana Azmi.”
Esteemed bollywood actress Sushmita Sen also reacted to Kangana’s comment: “We are living in sensitive times, what sounds like ‘fake news’ may well be someone’s reality. Let’s all be more aware of our surroundings & our true sense of patriotism, so that NO ONE can mislead us.”
Looks like Pakistan was not the only target of her misplaced and misjudged wrath, she also went on accusing the film industry for not supporting her movie. Kangana Ranaut’s statements about Bollywood ganging up against her to boycott her has not gone down well with many from the industry. Not that this is the first time she has accused Bollywood of treating her as an outsider. This time, she went on record to threaten that she will expose each from the industry after how they neglected her most ambitious release, Manikarnika: The Queen Of Jhansi. She even mentioned Alia Bhatt in one of her statements by calling her ‘Karan Johar’s puppet’.
When Zoya Akhtar was recently questioned about Kangana’s statements and what does she think of this whole backlash from Kangana, she however retorted saying, “Of course people appreciate her work…I don’t understand her accusations, I’m sorry” She said this in interaction with Pinkvilla.
Looks like Kangana is just out to attack anyone who she sees as a competitor. This attack was brought on unprovoked and Alia Bhatt was also called out by her for no apparent reason other than the fact that Zoya and Alia’s movie “Gully Boy” was set too release around the same time as “Manikarnika” and gained more attention.
It is deeply upsetting to see someone on a platform so important, generalizing a whole country and blatantly throwing shade without realizing the impact it might have on the citizens of both countries. We expected way more from her than we clearly should have and this is all the more reason Pakistanis should focus on celebrating their own artists and promoting our national film and cinema industry.
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