The fashion set and local stars celebrated sweets with a fashion show — Publicity photo
The fashion set and local stars celebrated sweets with a fashion show — Publicity photo

What’s brown, decadently rich and utterly luxurious?

Enterprising marketing managers would like you to believe its Magnum Ice-cream. To put their point across they rolled out the 'brown' carpet this past weekend, splurged on their budgets and latched onto something else that is rich, luxurious, glamorous and could also be brown … fashion!

Five top-tier designers were roped in to create chocolate-inspired capsule lines for the brand's party by the sea this past weekend: Shehla Chatoor, Khadijah Shah of Elan, Maheen Karim, Nomi Ansari and Omer Farooq of Republic.

Two amongst fashion’s wackier progeny – Fahad Hussayn and Ali Xeeshan – were taken on-board to create thematic installations for the event. The chandeliers were lit, a glossy catwalk was set up and as the party began to roll, an illuminated floating sign declaring it to be ‘Magnum Party 15’.

Installations by Fahad Hussayn (left) and Ali Xeeshan — Publicity photos
Installations by Fahad Hussayn (left) and Ali Xeeshan — Publicity photos

It was indulgent, luxurious and emulated the brand philosophy that identifies with Magnum the world over. The premium ice-cream brand is well-known for dabbling with everything glamorous, from special lounges at Cannes to seasonal parties that have taken over Regent Street to celebrity brand ambassadors like Orlando Bloom and Kareena Kapoor, who are more than happy to strike poses while gorging happily on ice-cream bars.

Closer to home, the Magnum lounge at PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week two years ago was a huge hit and who can forget 2012’s Magnum Chocolate Party with its old European décor, gilded masks, floating table girls and star-studded guest list? This year’s party attracted in a similar bevy of stars, starlets, pretty social butterflies and the requisite milieu of bloggers and journalists for don’t we all like to truss up in our (chocolate-colored) designer digs, forget the humdrum realities of life and find happiness in taking pictures, promptly posting them on social media and scoring a decent number of ‘likes’.

On the 'brown carpet': Anoushey Ashraf and Mohsin Ali, HSY and Ali Xeeshan — Publicity photos
On the 'brown carpet': Anoushey Ashraf and Mohsin Ali, HSY and Ali Xeeshan — Publicity photos
Frieha Altaf and Tapu Javeri — Publicity photos
Frieha Altaf and Tapu Javeri — Publicity photos
Abbas Jafri and Nadia Hussain — Publicity photos
Abbas Jafri and Nadia Hussain — Publicity photos

The wheels of social media are turning at full-speed in Pakistan and they adroitly raised hype and hoopla for Magnum this weekend. From brown carpet images to videos of the fashion show itself, it all quickly filtered online, showing the world that chocolate ice-cream on a stick could be pretty glamorous. With HUM Network playing media partner, the show is also set to subsequently air on TV.

On the 'brown carpet': Momal Sheikh, Amin Gulgee and Zeba Bakhtiar — Publicity photos
On the 'brown carpet': Momal Sheikh, Amin Gulgee and Zeba Bakhtiar — Publicity photos
Huma Amir Shah, Sana Askari, Sarwat Gillani and Fahad Mirza — Publicity photos
Huma Amir Shah, Sana Askari, Sarwat Gillani and Fahad Mirza — Publicity photos

But does this high fashion veneer actually boil down to sales in the somewhat staid, fluctuating Pakistani economy?

Will these images of slinky, glittering gowns be entrancing enough to lure the college student, the harried working mother or the office-bound employee to buy an ice-cream which is slightly pricier than its counterparts?

Statistics show that Magnum’s glamorous image has helped augment its sales internationally and the same result is hoped to be achieved in Pakistan, confirms Azka Waqar, Brand Manager at Magnum Pakistan. “One of our favorite taglines at Magnum is that ‘A day without pleasure is a day lost’ and an extravaganza like this is about enjoyment, living in the moment and high-flying fashion. Our guest-list, aside from the city’s who’s who, includes our regular Magnum clientele and we will be reaching out to a bigger audience through TV and social media coverage. It helps create a greater awareness of the ice-cream as a premium brand.”

And it is tried and tested that any brand wanting to associate with luxury usually manages to do so by leaping onto the fashion bandwagon. The designs showcased at the Magnum party ran the gamut from wacky to sophisticated and allowed designers to delve into their creative sides. The one exception was Republic by Omer Farooq which stood out as the only menswear line but otherwise, presented a line of conventional menswear which lacked the drama required for a show like this.

Republic by Omer Farooq's menswear collection lacked drama — Publicity photo
Republic by Omer Farooq's menswear collection lacked drama — Publicity photo

The womenswear, though, was on a roll:

Khadijah Shah played with structure, multiple tiers of chocolate-colored ruffles, long trains and a Magnum bar print.

Maheen Karim stuck to her signature flair for draping, off-shoulder evening wear and a cocktail gown cut with the finesse that is rare amongst local designers.

Nomi Ansari’s capsule line was a delectable effigy to Belgian chocolate, dripping down towards a hemline, shaded into scallops on a short skirt or tapering the length of an ombre ball-gown.

Shehla Chatoor, meanwhile, took Zara Peerzada and actress Sohai Ali Abro as her showstoppers and dabbled with embellished Magnums on a gown, gold rivets on a chocolate-colored leather skirt and fabulously quirky clutches emblazoned with shiny Magnum bar shapes.

It was the kind of extravagant, fun fashion that has been long missing in the recent spate of fashion weeks.

The designers created the collections pro bono for as Khadijah Shah explained, the publicity and hype generated by an event like the Magnum party is well worth the effort and expenditure.

Contesting the fashion was an unconventional chocolate feast with ‘YUMbyAMNA’ molding chocolate into high heels, clutches and corsets and a wall dripping chocolate. Nabila’s N-Pro played stylist, Frieha Altaf’s Catwalk produced the show and worked alongside RAKA on the décor and all the tiny quirks and myriad details came together to raise the bar of what an event should be like. Humdrum ‘red carpet and fashion presentations’ with high-teas are no longer exciting. Even Magnum’s ‘party’ wasn’t really as much a party as a fashion show but it was exciting fashion, presented in a unique way and that’s how it was different.

YUMbyAMNA — Publicity photo
YUMbyAMNA — Publicity photo

In fact, while staging a marketing ruse, Magnum also managed to do a favor to local fashion, shaking it out of the ennui of retail-friendly drab silhouettes and hackneyed digital prints and allowing it to go a bit wild, get a tad experimental, think beyond merely retail to create statements. Let’s hope the creativity persists in the upcoming round of fashion weeks.


Maliha Rehman is a fashion and lifestyle journalist with a penchant for writing, all the time! Log on to Twitter for more updates @maliharehman

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