Designer Mahpara Khan had the amazing opportunity to dress Queen Maxima of the Netherlands at the recent Jordanian royal wedding and she killed it with a stunning gown.
Images spoke to the designer about her creation and the process behind dressing a queen. “The design was completely handcrafted,” she said. “It took a team of 20 people, rotating in shifts, around 100 days to complete the surface design (embellishments, handwork), while the toile (rough silhouette) took around a week,” she explained.
“In this particular design, there was added complexity of tailoring this to precise measurements without being in physical proximity to the Queen (who resides in the Netherlands). We had to go back and forth with her stylists for over 90 days to get the fit and fall right,” Khan said.
The unexpected collaboration was sparked during her 2019 visit to Pakistan, after which they started to coordinate with the royal stylists. “The Queen had seen a few samples at our studio and understood the level of detail and intricacy that would go into each design. This led to several months of coordination and design,” she said.
The one thing Khan remembers above all else from the Queen’s visit to her studio in 2019 was how “incredibly genuine she was”. “She, her security staff and the people coordinating the visit were down to earth and humble,” she recalled.
“The challenge was to design a silhouette that was global while keeping the motifs and patterns traditional, as an ode to Pakistan,” explained Khan. The outfit she created for Queen Maxima was white with silver Mughal patterns fused with traditional dapka, naqshi, resham and gota work.
The challenge was in making the dress light enough to wear while still making it ornate and intricate. “I feel Pakistani bridal and formal wear is truly unique in that it truly is handcrafted in every sense of the word. The techniques used are ancient, and passed down from generation to generation. When everything is said and done, each dress has 50 different artisans who have worked on it,” she said.
We love seeing Pakistani designers shine and is there any way to shine brighter than dressing a literal queen?