Book launches aren’t normally the most glamorous of affairs, but if the book celebrates the lives of 14 prominent women in the fashion industry, exceptions can be made.
While making my way to the Commune Artist Colony in Karachi last weekend, I was somewhat amused to see sari-clad women walking alongside tall, fully decked up personalities from the entertainment industry headed in the same direction.
Inside, a red carpet led to the warehouse in which the event had just commenced. Book launches aren’t normally the most glamorous of affairs, but if the book is celebrating the lives of 14 prominent women in the fashion industry, exceptions can be made.
The launch of Revived: The Journey Within was well attended by the who’s who of the fashion industry including fashion designer Maheen Karim, photographer Izdeyar Setna, designers Shamael Ansari, Nomi Ansari, Deepak Perwani, Shamoon Sultan and one-half of the Strings duo Fasial Kapadia, among others. The owner of the Commune, Yousuf Bashir Qureshi, was dressed in his signature white dhoti, black sherwani with kohl-rimmed eyes, completing the look with a Jinnah cap.
From some of the women featured in the book, Maheen Khan, Sonya Battla, Rehana Saigol, Bunto Kazmi, Nilofer Shahid, Frieha Altaf, Fareshteh Gaiti-Aslam and Muniba Kamal were also present. Stylist Nabila couldn’t make it as she wasn’t in the city as well as Faiza Samee, Mehvish Amin and Shehnaz Ismail —also featured in the book.
A rather touching and personal introduction was given about the ladies featured in the book by the head of a newspaper publication, followed by a somewhat witty speech by Rehana Saigol. She urged women to step forward and punctuated it by recounting incidents from her own personal life and the journey that she’d taken to get to where she was. She ended it by announcing her plans to come back by actively working on designing saris and silver jewellery.
The author of Revived: The Journey Within, Khadija Malik Hasan, is a journalist by profession and related the process of the interviews that had been conducted for the book and the time that it took to complete it. However, had there been a competition to see whose speech was the most heart-rending, jewellery designer Kiran Aman, who is responsible for the concept of the book definitely took first prize. She spoke from the heart and her words were completely unrehearsed. She had also designed four pieces of jewellery based on the emotional states women are predominantly in (which was coincided with the women featured in the book) and related how she had been personally affected by the stories recounted by the women during the interviews.
The emotional states/names of the pieces of jewellery are Echoed, Encaptured, Encircled and Wired. In an adjoining room, the jewellery pieces relating to the book and the emotional-state theory were on exhibit as well. Plans for the book include a launch in Lahore, London and the United States along with a paperback version to be made available in most of the schools throughout the country.
“I wrote the emotional-state philosophy around March last year. It was like a culmination of the 33 years of my life coming together for me and I wanted to share it with everyone,” she said in a post-launch conversation the following day. “As a jewellery designer the only way I could put it forward was to make sure that each emotional state of a woman is depicted through an encrusted motif: When she decides which one she is most attracted to, she finds out which emotional state she belongs to at that moment.
“All four emotional states are positive and each one is beautiful in itself. I had to take on people who other people knew — they had to be famous. But the way we’ve written about them is not by their achievements… I think what can inspire a person is how someone had made it by sheer will or talent or how someone is in a wheelchair today but refuses to quit.
– Photo1: (L to R) Khadija Malik Hasan and Kiran Aman
— Photo2: (L to R) Bunto Kazmi and Kiran Aman
— Photo3: Rehana Saigol
— Photo4: (L to R) Freiha Altaf, Nilofer Shahid, Maheen Khan