Nora and Noor spotted at New York Fashion Week

The Longchamp Fashion show at NYFW 2019. (AFP)
Updated 12 February 2019
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Nora and Noor spotted at New York Fashion Week

DUBAI: British-Moroccan model Nora Attal and Libyan-American journalist Noor Tagouri were spotted on catwalks around the city at New York Fashion Week — and it’s being lauded as a step in the right direction for diversity on the runway.

Attal walked the runway for Brandon Maxwell, whose collection ranged from pantsuits with plunging necklines and caped sleeves to full-bodied skirts that sweep to the ground and cinch at the waist. He designed in black and white and monochrome for some looks, the Associated Press reported.

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A black sports bra with a keyhole was worn under a sleek black blazer trimmed with satin. There were cinched white coats worn over white skirts barely visible from underneath. Maxwell also showed black-and-white leopard print dresses with a subtle “B” hidden in the pattern.

US-Palestinian model Bella Hadid also walked in the show, appearing in a satin white dress that zipped in the front to reveal a white turtleneck. Of the 35 looks, only six were in color.

Hadid also took to the runway for Prabal Rana Gurung, who now has 10 years in the business behind him and looked home for inspiration to Nepal, where he recently spent some time.

The result was a joyful, bright ready-to-wear collection — a theme he had introduced last season after several years of more sober designs, AFP reported.

He played with sari draping, especially in ikat and mandala-inspired prints.

No monochromatics or tone-on-tone ensembles here — purple or mustard yellow and turquoise, red and pink — women should use their imagination in Gurung’s world.
The designer said in his notes that he hoped to create a “multi-faceted, colorful and optimistic place where integrity, purpose, levity and love are our most celebrated virtues.”

As more and more American designers flee New York for London, Paris or Milan, foreign fashion houses are flocking to the Big Apple to take advantage of the style vacuum.

Case in point: venerable French label Longchamp, which is looking to develop its stateside presence and staged its second New York show at the weekend. Attal walked the runway for the brand, which is known for leather goods, handbags and riding gear.

For next fall, designer Sophie Delafontaine kept it classy but sensual — embracing pleated short skirts, black studded leather and lots of looks in black and white.

For her part, journalist Noor Tagouri walked the runway for US brand Rebecca Minkoff as part of the label’s push to highlight inspiring women on the catwalk.

“Storyteller @noor went out of her comfort zone today when she hit our catwalk this morning. She was one of many inspiring women who walked our runway today,” the brand 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.”