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The potent alchemy of a trio

The House of Kamiar Rokni relish­es the praise they’ve bagged for latest collec­tion and design aesthe­tics

Rokni and Bashir stand amid models sporting their ‘Alchemy’ collection at PLBW 2015. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK/EXPRESS

Rokni and Bashir stand amid models sporting their ‘Alchemy’ collection at PLBW 2015. PHOTO: SHAFIQ MALIK/EXPRESS


“Art, culture, imagination – that’s our identity,” says Rehan Bashir, one of the three dynamos spearheading The House of Kamiar Rokni. And it was precisely these elements that they were set out to showcase through their collection ‘Alchemy’ at the recent PFDC L’Oréal Paris Bridal Week (PLBW). Still basking in the glory of their line, Rokni, Bashir and Tia Noon relish the accolades they have bagged over their journey working as a trio.

“‘Alchemy’ was an extension of our last collection, ‘Orientalist’, which left us with a lot of ideas,” says Rokni. “The idea was to take it as a point of reference and make it more refined,” he adds.

Every shirt, gharara, jacket, choli and dupatta in the line was meant to be an entity on its own. “We wanted to explore our craft further and make it better than what we had ever done before. Alchemy was the search for our version of perfection,” states Rokni.

Read: PLBW 2015: Paring down the sheen with the preen

As the designers come out with ‘Alchemy’ two years after launching their ‘Orientalist’ collection, all eyes are set to see if the brand will show at next year’s PLBW. “We aim at showcasing next year. We’ve gone on this trip and now we’re thinking that we’ll explore the same ideas about multiculturalism but do it in a less intense way, with something more accessible to the client,” states Rokni.

Given the design house’s vivid aesthetics, the trio acknowledge their outfits appeal to a select group of people. “We’re aware that our clothes aren’t everyone’s cup of tea,” says Rokni. Bashir adds, “[This holds true], especially since most people want pastels and silver work for brides. We don’t know what segment of the market we appeal to.” But Rokni is content as their brand has a steady niche clientele that comes to them for what they do. These, he says, are “people who appreciate good craft, quality embellishments and an imaginative use of colours and patterns.”

Hailing from different educational backgrounds is what enables this triad to put out collections that leave a mark. Bashir is a visual artist, designer and painter with a bachelor’s degree from the National College of Arts and postgraduate degree from Parsons. Having been trained in visual arts, he looks into minute details and the finishing aspects of their designs.

Contrarily, Noon has neither received training in design nor does she hold an art degree, but as Rokni points out, “With that, comes an anything-is-possible attitude. She doesn’t think too much about whether it’s technically possible or not and that unleashes our imagination.” He further says, “She brings a softer, feminine and whimsical energy by virtue of being a woman.”

Rokni, who has been working in the field for over a decade, has a flair for design, proportion and colour, and pulls all the outfits together, as he is the most experienced of the three. “I’m the one with the technical know-how but Bashir is also moving towards that,” he shares. But Rokni isn’t known for his business acumen. So, who takes care of the business side of things at The House of Kamiar Rokni? “Noon is the one who deals with the business aspect the most, but that’s more on an operational level,” explains Rokni.

Read: PLBW 2015: Making a vow to wow the audience

“All three of us are artistic and not particularly remarkable at the business end of things. We dance to the beat of our own drum, make beautiful clothes and hope for the best,” Rokni states. Perhaps this is why the three still don’t have a store to their name and solely work out of their studio in Lahore. Rokni, however, dispels the notion that a store is of prime importance to a bridal designer. “In Pakistan, brides will chase an outfit wherever it is and people rarely order from shops, so there’s a culture of going to someone’s studio,” he says.

The House of Kamiar Rokni stopped making prêt three years ago as the design house lacked the financial backing to create the kind they wanted. “Stocking at multi-brand stores isn’t profitable, so we decided to focus on couture and bespoke clothes and then reassess ready-to-wear,” says Rokni.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 9th, 2015.

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