Halima Aden, the Hadids take over New York Fashion Week

Halima Aden walked the runway for US brand Sherri Hill. AFP
Updated 10 February 2019
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Halima Aden, the Hadids take over New York Fashion Week

DUBAI: New York Fashion Week is in full swing and the Hadid sisters have been spotted all over the city, along with the likes of hijab-wearing model Halima Aden.
US designer Tom Ford opened New York Fashion Week on Thursday with his signature high-gloss swagger, but he is one of a dwindling number of heavyweights showing his stuff in the Big Apple, AFP reported.
New York is the first stop in the world’s runway carnival that heads to Milan, London and Paris, but little by little, the top names in the biz are foregoing a stateside catwalk show.
The 57-year-old Ford, who turned out a fairly restrained collection last season, went for more of the same this time out.
Ford went back to the archives of his fall-winter 1996 collection for Gucci which, by his own admission, sealed his reputation as a major talent.
Long, fluid backless gowns were reminiscent of the series of white dresses the Texan showed in Milan more than 20 years ago.
A red pants suit worn by top model Gigi Hadid recalled a similar ensemble he sent out back in the day.
But the cuts and styles certainly had a modern touch — more cleavage, more tightly cinched waists and cropped trousers.

Gigi Hadid showed off a red pant suit by Tom Ford. AFP 


As for the fabrics, Ford got creative — beyond silk and velvet, the designer showed sultry suits for men in leather, and several fur coats — possibly fake furs, as he had promised a year ago to only use fur in moderation.
Jaunty furry hats made a statement — they looked perfect for New York gangsters in the 1970s.
Ralph Lauren — another reference point in a New York Fashion week lacking some spark — hit the runway on Thursday.
Immaculately dressed young waiters offered coffee and pastries as soon as you sat down at Ralph Lauren’s scaled-down fashion show on Thursday, a stark contrast with last season’s lavish anniversary extravaganza in Central Park, the Associated Press noted in its review.
There was no stage, no spotlights, just models — including a gold-clad Bella Hadid — sauntering casually among the tables at Ralph’s Cafe, Lauren’s recently opened cafe space at his Madison Avenue women’s store.
Guests munched on mini-croissants, egg-white frittatas and bagels with smoked salmon as models glided through the room in simple but flowing ensembles in a limited palette of black, white and gold.

Bella Hadid walked the runway for designer Tomo Koizumi. AFP


Casual looks came first: all-white suits with wide-legged trousers and military-style jackets, for example, or black pants with a shiny gold blazer. There was a series of dresses and jackets emblazoned with large white flowers on a black background.
For evening, it was more black, and especially more gold: a shiny gold floor-length cape, for example, or a shimmery strapless gown. Metallic knits were featured in both casual looks and party looks.
For her part, hijab-wearing model Halima Aden took to the catwalk for US brand Sherri Hill and offered her Instagram followers the chance to win the cyan blue gown she wore on the runway as part of a competition with UNICEF.
“Please be sure to make a donation this month at the designated link in my bio for your chance to win the one-of-a-kind couture evening gown! Thank you in advance for your support of children around the world!” she posted on Instagram.


Pakistani tailor adds former US president to star-studded list of clients

Updated 15 February 2019
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Pakistani tailor adds former US president to star-studded list of clients

  • The 36-year-old outfitter has built a customer list of famous names from the sporting, show business and political worlds
  • His family enterprise was established more than 100 years ago and operated from large shop premises in Kolkata, India

KARACHI: It is probably safe to say that tailor to the stars Sarfraz Akbar has the market for celebrity clients all sewn up.

The 36-year-old outfitter has built a customer list of famous names from the sporting, show business and political worlds through his reputation for making high-quality garments.

And now Akbar, who works for his family business at shops in an affluent neighborhood of Pakistan’s port city of Karachi, can add a former American president to his star-studded client base.

During a trip to the US in July last year, he was invited by an American-Pakistani friend to meet with George W. Bush.

“I was super-excited when along with my wife and daughters we boarded my friend’s private jet and flew from Houston to Dallas,” Akbar told Arab News.

After taking measurements of the former US president, he returned to Pakistan and made several suits for him, before dispatching them to Dallas in December 2018.

“My happiness doubled when I got a call from the US informing me that the former president had appreciated my work after wearing the suits,” Akbar said.

Akbar’s father Mohammed said his son had built up a distinguished list of Pakistani personalities he has worked for. 

“By earning praise from George W. Bush, my son has not only made me proud but it’s also a matter of pride for all Pakistanis.”

The youngest of three brothers, Akbar has brought fame to the family name and business, his father added.

The family enterprise was established more than 100 years ago and operated from large shop premises in Kolkata. The family moved from the Indian city after the inception of Pakistan.

The business now has two shops under the “Ambassador” brand name in the Zamzama district of Karachi. 

“We could have opened dozens of outlets, but we believe in quality. The materials we use are imported and we focus on precision,” said Akbar. 

“It’s handmade, customized work. We don’t sell readymade stuff.

“However, we’re now getting people coming to us from other cities wanting to have their wardrobes from the tailor of George W. Bush. Some clients even ask to have their photos taken with me.”

Akbar said he has always had big ambitions. Following matriculation in 1999, he continued his studies but opted at the same time to focus on the family business with a view to taking it to new heights after his graduation.

When the Indian cricket team toured Pakistan during 2005-2006, Akbar made clothes for all the Indian players. 

“Almost all the Pakistani players including Wasim Akram, Misbah-ul-Haq, Sarfraz Ahmed and Shahid Afridi — the latter being a regular customer – have worn our wardrobes too,” Akbar said.

He also designed kurta shalwar clothing for West Indian player and Peshawar Zalmi skipper, Darren Sammy, during the last season of the Pakistan Super League.

Akbar also has a long list of political clients including Pakistan’s former leader Pervez Musharraf, incumbent President Dr. Arif Alvi, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, and Sindh Gov. Imran Ismail. “I made a waistcoat for Imran Khan after he was sworn in as the premier of Pakistan,” he said.

Summing up his achievements to date, Akbar said: “You can be proud of yourself and your family, but you just need to focus on your work and work hard.”