The HSY mansion – designer Hassan Shehryar Yasin’s headquarters in Karachi – is probably the most happening place in the city right now. As the new show director for the upcoming Lux Style Awards (LSA’s), Shero has big shoes to fill – or stilettos, so to speak, worn by PR maven Frieha Altaf for 15 long years.
He, of course, knows that he is expected to bring fresh energy to the show and the preparations are in full swing. All through the day – and night – laptops whirr within the mansion and a motley crew of industry specialists work out everything from logistics to stage design, script, performances, red carpet formats to celebrity styling. The stars drift in and out of the mansion and the list of guests is rumouredly so illustrious that Shero has had to arrange for extra security.
The designer, popularly known as fashion’s favorite showman, has only had little more than a month to put together a gala event but he says that he enjoys working under pressure.
“I function best when I am overwhelmed and excited,” he enthuses. “This year’s awards ceremony is going to be a celebration of all that the LSAs have stood for over the years. The LSAs are trendsetters and have been instrumental in creating legacies. We want to build it further.”
“I am not working alone. I have put together, what in my mind is, a dream team. I have experts on board who are dealing with different aspects of the show and our sole purpose is to make the LSA experience exceptional. There are so many nuances that need to be looked after; from how to run the show to how the stars will be taken care of. I have attended plenty of previous awards ceremonies and as a guest, I know precisely how I’d like to enjoy myself. We’re going to make sure that our star guests are comfortable and get treated right.”
How does he plan to put together a grand awards show when merely a few days before the LSAs, he will be showing a collection at the PFDC Sunsilk Fashion Week in Lahore and then, right after the LSAs, he will be participating in Hum Network’s Showcase fashion event in Karachi?
“I am a designer of 25 years and organising and multi-tasking is key to my profession,” he says. “PSFW was going to take place in February before it got delayed due to security issues. The collection has been completely ready for weeks now. Also, I signed on to Showcase before I became the show director for the LSAs. I had already started work on my collection and it’s more or less complete. For now, I can completely focus on the awards ceremony.”
“I have put together a dream team. I have experts on board who are dealing with different aspects of the show and our sole purpose is to make the LSA experience exceptional. I have attended plenty of awards ceremonies and I know precisely how I’d like to enjoy myself. We’re going to make sure that our star guests are comfortable and get treated right.”
Given the designer’s considerable clout with anybody who’s anybody in the industry, we can count on plenty of star power at the LSAs. “I can’t say too much right now because it’s too early,” says Shero.
Slated to take place later this month, here’s what he did tell us about the upcoming mega-event … and here’s what we guessed…
A red carpet before the red carpet!
“We’re rearranging the timings so that our guests join us for afternoon tea,” plans out Shero. “We’re planning out an elegant, relaxed soiree in an air-conditioned marquee where the nominees and other guests can come, dressed in their designer-wear, meeting and greeting each other and generally having a good time.”
It sounds like a good idea with the stars interacting with each other before sitting down for the ceremony. It also means plenty of photo ops. This is, of course, only if the stars turn up on time.
Generally, time management is an issue with our celebs but then again, they’re all friends with Shero and we’re hoping that he manages to convince them to be punctual for once.
Should the plans for the pre-red carpet party work out, it will also mean…
A better timed ceremony
“The actual red carpet will start around six in the evening and we’re hoping to start the show off at seven,” Shero says optimistically, of an awards ceremony that notoriously started at a ghastly 11pm last year. “I want people to be fresh and enjoy themselves. I also want the winners to be able to leave before midnight so that they can celebrate their wins.”
This means that for once, the LSAs may be followed by some savvy after-parties – instead of images of bleary-eyed celebs who managed to stay up beyond 3am – that’s the time at which the show ended last year - and fumble their way through a celebration.
A grand stage
“The set is bigger than ever before,” enthuses Shero, “and we’re working on making it a complete visual experience.”
Apparently, plans are underway for a second stage, set amidst the audience in order to keep things interactive.
“I’ve even reworked the technical booth so that it’s more operations friendly,” he says. “We have a host who hasn’t ever hosted before and a crisp, sharp script written entirely by Osman Khalid Butt. He’s never written the script for an entire awards ceremony but I think he’s done a great job.”
The LSA ceremony awards accolades to the genres of film, music, fashion and television and the show’s new format will be paying ode to each field separately. “It will be like attending four awards shows in one,” explains Shero.
While Shero was hesitant to reveal too much about the new format, we’ve been talking to designers and apparently, the fashion segment will include a ’10 best designers’ series. The series will pay homage to ten stalwart designers as well as female and male models.
“The LSAs have paved careers for many people and the fashion fraternity respects it and places great importance by it,” says Shero. “We will be paying homage to all that we have achieved in the past and all that we can look forward to.”
Comedy’s night out
A great comic script is imperative to an entertaining show and Shero reveals that many of the quips are going to be delivered by Osman Khalid Butt. Osman may have lately been trying to establish himself as a romantic hero and a scriptwriter but earlier, one remembers the rollicking short videos he would release online. He’s also a celeb who has a penchant for delivering witticisms and he may just manage to make the LSA stage his own. One looks forward to seeing him in the limelight rather than simply presenting an award as he has been doing in the past.
Also, Canada-based comedians Sham Idreesi and Shahveer Jafri have flown in for the show. Based on their YouTube videos, these guys are pretty funny. They may just manage to be show highlights. Then again, one remembers Zaid Ali T struggling with his on-stage jokes at the Hum Style Awards last year. Online comedians aren’t always equally funny in real-life.
Shero has high hopes. “We’re filtering out the internal jokes that the audience may not be able to understand and keeping the script snappy and current.” We have our fingers crossed!
A befitting tribute
It was only inevitable that the LSAs would pay tribute to the recently deceased Junaid Jamshed. According to Shero, ‘two very big stars’ will be singing some of Junaid’s most well-loved songs. Considering that Junaid’s recent death left the entire nation despondent, this tribute is bound to be a tearjerker.
Starry night out
Here’s where Shero gets evasive. “There will be at least five performances. There will be new stars and old stars, stars that you haven’t seen in the spotlight for a while. Some of these people have been refusing to be part of the LSAs for years and now, we have them coming back.”
One of these stars, we’re guessing, is yesteryear superstar Reema. Since her marriage, Reema has more or less stayed away from the limelight, refraining from extended appearances at awards’ affairs. The actress is in the country, though, and she has long shared a special equation with HSY. This mean that we may be in for some good old filmi magic.
Mahira Khan is, of course, going to be another highlight. “She’s the Lux girl and we’re going to feature her in a very different type of performance,” says Shero. This is good to hear – one has seen Mahira twirl and whirl predictably far too many times and it was high time that the actress was given a chance to extend her potential. Two new Lux girls are also going to be revealed during the ceremony.
One of the Hocane sisters is going to be performing as will be Ali Zafar.
Unfortunately, Fawad Khan may not be part of this year’s show due to his ongoing shooting schedule for his upcoming movie Maula Jutt.
Regardless, one can sense excitement building for the upcoming LSA’s. Designers and celebrities are planning out their schedules around the event and people have already started conjecturing over who would win. We’re looking forward to HSY and his troupe bringing magic to the stage.
Let’s hope that the awards ceremony, now in its 17th year, lives up to the expectations.