By Maliha Rehman
Designer Fahad Hussayn has a penchant for elaborate, intricate design. He creates murals on fabric, art nouveau arches with florals intertwined across them, little scenes etched out of threadwork. His signature is very distinctive, replete with details that seem to be right off an artist’s canvas, translated on to fabric with thread and print.
It is luxurious, timeless and very high-end. Observing the designs up-close some days ago, I appreciated the endless details, all crafted by hand, meshed together in layers. It was bona fide couture and couldn’t possibly be accessible to the mass market.
A simmered down version of the same aesthetic, however, has been trickled down to relatively affordable price-points in a collection that Fahad has titled ‘Heritage Collectibles’. The eight piece collection released in collaboration with Rang Rasiya, is very festive, traversing a range of organza and jamawar fabrics with Fahad’s opulent aesthetic being an easily recognizable part of the design.
I ask the designer a routine question: with the Heritage Collectibles line now in its second season, isn’t he harming his market for couture by bringing a version of the same aesthetic to more affordable realms? “When I wasn’t catering to the mass market I was asked why I wasn’t. Now that I am, I am asked about that as well,” laughs Fahad. “The thing is, the world is changing and over the past two years, the demand has increased for scaled-down affordability. As much as I love couture, I don’t think my sensibility is that restricted and I can cater to the mass market as well as to my clientele for high-end bespoke couture.”
“I have always wanted to be a people’s person in terms of clothing. It’s why I had come up with my label Print Museum so that I could come up with fast fashion without diluting my couture market. I don’t think that keeping the same sensibility in a different price range hurts business.”
Which design in the Heritage Collectibles range has generated the most queries? “The one worn by model Sabeeka Imam,” says Fahad, pinpointing a heavy duty lehnga and choli in shades of pink and pecan, worked with tiny floral embroideries. “It’s a very formal bridal design at a fraction of the price of what it would be had it been part of my couture label.”
The embroideries in the collection are a mix of machine and hand, with gota, mirror-work, doris and zardozi worked upon machine embellishments. “They are all classic designs. The dupattas are woven. The color ways are very varied,” describes Fahad.
A violet and mulberry design comes worked with a heavy neckline and a hem featuring the quintessential Fahad Hussayn arched pattern.
A design called ‘Zameen’ features silk and organza, fashioned into an elaborate kalidar with multiple floral borders.
There are hot pink dupattas set off by heavy jacquard borders, wispy ice blues and classic whites. It’s all quite covetable if you’ve got a wedding coming up and have a penchant for couture details, on a budget.
“A lot of my clients have loved the option of buying lighter designs through the unstitched Heritage Collectibles collection,” Fahad tells me. “Even beyond Pakistan, there is a desi clientele from around the world, especially the U.S., that invariably places online orders.”
Prebooking of the Rang Rasiya x Fahad Hussayn Heritage Collectibles collection has started today, 24th December, from 6 p.m. at www.fahadhussayn.com