Next in Lawn: Ten questions with Farah Talib Aziz

Next in Lawn: Ten questions with Farah Talib Aziz

Farah Talib ensembles are what little girls dream of wearing on their wedding day. Now, they're diving into lawn too
11 Sep, 2015

Wedding seasons come and go but one thing stays constant: certain fashionistas are always spotted clad in Farah Talib Aziz ensembles, which seem to be getting better every year.

Now completing nearly a decade in the business, the fashion powerhouse is run by the talented mother-daughter duo Farah Talib Aziz and Maliha Aziz.

Getting your hands on one of their creations doesn't come cheap. It's fairly evident though, that a copious amount of hard work and thought goes into each outfit.

Although the maestro has tried to stay away from the limelight and let her work do the talking, it doesn't take away from the headstrong vision Farah's always had for her brand. Here, she talks about her design process and her latest venture: a lawn collection which will be released in April this year.

Describe the Farah Talib Aziz brand philosophy in a few words. What do you think makes you different?

Farah Talib Aziz (FTA): My work exudes effeminate opulence, garnished with our signature embroidery and floral motifs.

Pieces from Aziz's Spring/Summer 2015 collection.
Pieces from Aziz's Spring/Summer 2015 collection.

Our design philosophy as a fashion house is to magnify femininity, with the help of regally draped cloth and expert artisans, while maintaining a form of elegant sophistication.

How do you think you style has evolved over the years?

FTA: While we have evolved in many ways, we have also stayed true to our roots. Our vision was to create luxe classic pieces that modernize traditions while highlighting feminine appeal and I am proud to say, we continue to do that.

Coming from a background in textiles, I regularly update my skills to enhance my knowledge about everything, from tailoring and embellishments to production methods. With a hands-on approach to the brand and using the purest materials, coupled with the best tailors, I can ensure quality is not compromised.

What can we expect from your upcoming lawn collection? Did you always know you were going to venture into lawn at some point?

—Photo courtesy: Farah Talib Aziz
—Photo courtesy: Farah Talib Aziz

FTA: For our Spring 2015 collection, we have drawn inspiration from the charm of French country florals and the grace of an old Parisian lifestyle, encompassing the delicacy and glamour of European heritage and the celebration of feminine splendor. We have diffused the Farah Talib Aziz aesthetics of dainty florals, intricate embroideries and flattering silhouettes with the use of bold patterns on a bed of soft summer shades to create a collection that appeals to women of all ages and backgrounds.

As a label, we have always been quite private, operating from our studio with limited commercial presence and activity. Our work speaks for itself as we have never even been on the ramp. Given the nature of the brand, lawn was definitely not the plan. We had been approached by a few mills previously that proposed a similar venture, however we chose to work with the Lakhany Silk Mills given their strong reputation and high quality standards.

Do you have a particular audience in mind for your lawn collection?

—Photo courtesy: Farah Talib Aziz
—Photo courtesy: Farah Talib Aziz

FTA: Our colors, style and prints have been chosen according to essential feminine traits that exemplify beauty and accentuate the eastern silhouette. The breezy, cool colors have been carefully selected to suit our local climate. The designs have been illustrated keeping in mind a woman of every age and background. Therefore, the lawn is suitable for all Pakistani women living locally or abroad.

How will the philosophy of the Farah Talib Aziz label be translated into lawn?

At Farah Talib Aziz we’ve always had a very strong aesthetic that runs through all of our creations, from cottons to bridals our focus is to highlight femininity and elegance with the use of classic, intricate embellishments and blossoming fresh color choices.

Our signature traits of soft, feminine colors and floral motifs are used to make women of all ages feel beautiful and confident in our designs. Similarly, our lawn collection draws on classic European inspirations.

Walk us through your design process step by step. How does the idea in your head become reality?

A picture of a bride in an outfit Aziz terms as one of her personal favourites. —Photo courtesy: Farah Talib Aziz
A picture of a bride in an outfit Aziz terms as one of her personal favourites. —Photo courtesy: Farah Talib Aziz

FTA: I usually sketch out a design keeping the silhouette, colors and embellishments in mind. We make much of our own material and I either choose one of my existing weaves or develop a new texture and print for the specific piece. After this, we draw out the stencils for the embellishments, which then go to get pinned before printing. The cut will be discussed in detail with my master tailor and after (sometimes many) prototypes, it will drape exactly as planned on the mannequin.

Only after this, it will get upholstered on the frame or adda for hand work. Each thread, sequin, technique and knot is carefully selected and monitored with heaps of trial and error favouring whichever best suits the design. After sometimes months of hand work the piece comes off the adda and is sent for mukesh kaamdani. Meanwhile, the edging and pipings, the bottoms and dupatta are prepared. Such extensive work is a joy to display but a complete heart break to see shabbily replicated.

What are some of your personal favorite pieces from the collections you've designed?

FTA: My most favourite piece is of course my daughter's bridal, which involved colossal emotional attachment and adoration. She was also one of the hardest clients to satisfy! Another one of my favorite pieces was a bridal that I made for a dear client in London, who knew exactly what she wanted and let me construct this dream dress for her.

Maliha Aziz wore her mother's creation on her big day.—Photo courtesy: Farah Talib's Instagram
Maliha Aziz wore her mother's creation on her big day.—Photo courtesy: Farah Talib's Instagram

You are one of the few designers that has never taken her designs to ramp. Why is that? Any plans in the future to do so?

FTA: Well, I’ve always been very low-key so I don't think that doing ramp suits my low-profile personality or the ideology of my brand.

Who are some local designers that you admire?

FTA: I have always admired industry veterans and fashion royalty; Bunto Kazmi and Rizwan Beyg are two designers in particular that I have immense respect for.

What's next in the pipeline for Farah Talib Aziz?

FTA: There are a lot of exciting things in the pipeline this year. Firstly, we plan on strengthening our internal infrastructure via vertical and in parts horizontal integration. Through this, we aim to add further efficiency and higher quality standards. Secondly, we aim to expand locally in cities, such as Lahore and Islamabad as well as internationally in regions such as the Middle East and North America.