By Maliha Rehman
It’s a ‘Lawndemic’ over at designer Fahad Hussayn’s studio. That’s a great title for a collection of out-of-the-box, crazy, artistic prints.
Then again, Fahad has always had a way with words. Over the years, the designer has brought out some memorable collections with names that are just as memorable. He’s spun sartorial tales about ‘sunehri churails’, ‘nautanki ranis’, ‘putlighars’ and a ‘Suraiyya Titanic’, among others. The latest ‘Lawndemic’ line, similarly, packs in the punches with a range of designs, each coined a quirky name. A choppy sea-scape is titled ‘Vandalista’, a pink and coral voluminous floral design is ‘Dingarden’, a flowing dress printed extensively with detailed scenery is ‘Ratamjoth’, a shirt sprinkled with constellations and a multicolored landscape is ‘Labyagawachi’ and a print, teeming with a hustling bustling crowd, is ‘Covid Chaos’.
Meet Vandalista and Ratamjoth
The prints – some of them are unisex – live up to their eccentric titles. Over the years, Fahad has often leaned towards commercially friendly – but very intricate – design but inevitably, his artisanal streak has always shined through. Sometimes, this has been in the way that he has styled a shoot or created a music video for a collection. At other times, it has been through design that pushes boundaries with color and imagery. Lawndemic, part of the designer’s Print Museum series, is one such collection, jostling lawn right out of its three-piece, heavily embellished comfort zone into crazy, statement-making territory.
“These are designs that you can dress up or dress down,” says the designer. “The prints have been stitched into long flowing dresses, kaftans and saris but they are also available in unstitched fabric. Even the unstitched versions are cut in a certain way, so that they can easily be recreated into the styles shown in the catalogue. A dress with a round hem, is cut round even in the form of unstitched fabric.”
The market for lawn is generally a conventional one, with buyers making a beeline for elaborate embroidered three-, four- or five-piece suits. Is Lawndemic targeted towards a niche, very limited market that enjoys edgy dressing? “It’s for an audience that enjoys designs that are unique,” says Fahad. “The designs are mostly dominated by print but there are some options where a hand embroideries have been incorporated on the neckline. The response has been good so far, even internationally from clients based in the Middle East, India and the UK. I really creating saris for this collection and people are liking the concept of a statement lawn sari. The silhouettes are mostly very loose, so they even qualify as modest-wear. And someone I know is expecting a child and she asked me to send her one of each design because the shirts were all so easy to wear!”
Could this collection be considered a ‘Best of’ series for Fahad, considering that he has just wrapped up 10 years as a designer? “Yes, it is reminiscent of many of my previous collections,” Fahad confirms. “There are elements from many of my previous collections incorporated into the prints.”
Anyone familiar with Fahad’s ethos – as I am – is able to see and appreciate the throwback to past hits. For instance, a pheasant is taking flight on a bright yellow long draped tunic called ‘Dara’. An earlier tunic from some years ago had featured a parrot in very similar colorways. The Labyagawachi print, also, has been part of past Fahad Hussayn hits. Dingarden comes alive with flora and fauna that have often been part of Fahad’s landscape – see it at up-close and you see beautiful filigree, bluebirds and even a giraffe. “I started creating the design inspired by Enid Blyton’s Faraway Tree but once the tree started getting a bit too thick, I toned it down to less branches,” reveals Fahad.
Faraway trees, fantasy seashores and multicolored desertscapes; it’s a world that lawn rarely ever ventures into. The ‘Lawndemic’ endemic is not for the faint-hearted but for the savvier dresser, it comes as a breath of fresh air.
Unstitched fabric prices begin at Rs 2500 and the designs can be purchased online and will also be available at the Fahad Hussayn studio in Lahore, according to the designer.