Faraz Manan: Eternal shine of the designer mind
Pakistani couturier Faraz Manan is the king of embellishment, and he now brings his dazzling creations to Dubai
Plenty of Dubai-based fashion lovers' eyes lit up when they heard Faraz Manan was coming here. Among the next gen lot of high-end, classy Pakistani designers whose creations have redefined luxury and glamour wear, the Lahore-based couturier is renowned for his luxury, bridal and lawn garments, and particularly famous for his elaborate detailing. That last feature is a trademark with most Pakistani designers, but Manan takes it to the next level with his knack for balancing high extravagance with superb taste. His creations are luxuriously opulent, yet subtle and wearable at the same time.
Over the years, Manan has made a statement not only with his long flowing bridal ensembles, but also with dresses, shorter statement outfits for women with his signature cigarette pants, and menswear. His design forte is strengthened by the use of delicate but lavish embellishments, layering, and innovative fusion tailoring.
A designer for over a decade now, Faraz took over the designing mantle from his mother, Memoona Manan, a celebrated designer herself. Since then, he has established himself as one of the country's leading names in fashion under his eponymous label, Faraz Manan. Of late, his classy creations have found favour with Bollywood celebrities and the glitz-loving Dubai fashionistas, and he looks all set to take on the world stage in the footsteps of, say, Elie Saab or Zuhair Murad, also from this part of the world. The typical Manan aesthetic and attention-to-detail have found him many fans, and thus led to his brand's expansion into the Middle East, with a new flagship boutique villa store in Jumeirah.
We caught up with the man behind the bedazzling outfits, to check out his plans for the UAE.
(Far right)Bollywood actress Kareena Kapoor in an embellished Faraz Manan suit
On launching his flagship luxury boutique in Dubai
We're super excited to be in Dubai. It's the perfect time to make our mark. We are expecting to reach out to a diverse clientele, since Dubai is the melting pot for different cultures. We already have such a huge following around the world - in Pakistan, India, England, the US etc. and now we're thrilled about Dubai because it's such a cosmopolitan city. For our clientele here, we'll be primarily offering our regular bridal and ornate couture ranges, and prÍt lines twice a year.
On his latest collection
This is the Imperial Collection, which is a perfect representation of East meets West, while still maintaining my classic signature style. My forte is intricacy of detail and beautiful embellishments and embroidery, which we have incorporated with Western silouhettes: this concept particularly targets the Dubai clientele, explaining the reason why we're here and trying to expand our reach. We do luxury prÍt collections that entail separates, like skirts, tops and jackets. Among the gowns, you will find heavily embellished and dramatically draped ones. Personally, I love creating designs with lame, silk, organza and net fabrics, while pearls, crystals, beads and threadwork are best for embellishments.
I must strongly state that we don't follow trends. we make trends. My inspirations are Valentino and Oscar De La Renta - they are the pioneers in international couture and reckoned with for their classic style and timeless couture pieces.
On his design process
I take about three to six months to design a couture collection. I take inspiration from travel, art and history, and therein take direction and conceptualise it as a collection, making a mood board. After that, my team works on sketching, designing and making sample pieces, which is the first phase. In the last two months, we go into production, fine tuning the placement of embroidery, embellishments, fabrics and crystals on the outfits.
On this Bollywood connection
Working with actress Kareena (Kapoor) has been great! We are good friends now, and have a blast working together. She is perfectly suited for my brand's aesthetics and carries the outfits well. She has also been the face of our Crescent Lawn collection for the past couple of years, and is something of a muse to me.
On his signature use of pastels and softer palettes
These colours - beige, nude, blush, peach, ivory, cream, dusty rose, taupe, dull golds, subtle shades of pink and other muted hues - have been part of my collections since I started designing in 2003. I do think that the era of following trends blindly is changing: more brides are moving towards softer shades for their big day for a more classy, timeless look. Bright colours are usually a second option, after pastels and ivory.
On his competition - in both India and Pakistan
It's true that Indian and Bollywood-focused designers get all the attention and hype in the media, but hard work gets you legitimate credit and recognition. I have stuck to my signature style, aesthetics and vision, and tried not to compete with other designers.
On going global and online
The brand has a very strong clientele spread across the UK, the US and India. I'm also quite active on Instagram and Twitter, and like to post everything from my creations to brides and grooms wearing Faraz Manan and ramp/show images. It's the day and age of digital media and I believe it's extremely important to be online and visible. It has helped us reach new markets and gain a bigger, better following.