Designer Yasmin Zaman’s 10-odd years’ long career has been built on the strength of the clientele that has gravitated towards her. Her ethos is minimal, sophisticated, with an eye for details and trends. The women who wear Yasmin Zaman have a similar sense of style.
Following in this vein, the designer has zeroed in on muses that she feels are synonymous with her brand, while designing her capsule collection titled ‘Monochrome Edit’.
Utilising free-flowing linens, chiffons and silks, Yasmin navigates a range of silhouettes, with five very different women in mind: director Misbah Khalid, model and actress Seemi Pasha, actress Tazeen Hussain, model Maleena Mansoor and host Hira Hussain, who works sporadically.
“I feel that many women are now appreciating innovations in silhouette, fabric and design techniques,” Yasmin tells Icon. “Embroideries are often run-of-the-mill, especially the ones done by machine on ready-to-wear. It’s very interesting that, even though my collection included two embroidered tunics, none of the women selected them.”
Women’s-wear designer Yasmin Zaman’s latest campaign uses as its muses a mix of professional women from different fields, different ages and different body types
Describing her muses, Yasmin says, “It’s a very varied mix of women. Some are my clients or have worked with me in the past, while there are others that I simply wanted to design for.”
Acclaimed director Misbah Khalid, for one, has been Yasmin’s client for many years.
“We go a long way back,” says Yasmin. “She is my client and also a friend, and I know that, since her line of work involves her meeting with people from all walks of life, she enjoys clothes that are trendy but a bit conservative.
“Accordingly, I created a poncho for her, accentuated by an elephant print applique. I used Irish linen, which falls beautifully and can be worn in the summer, as well as when it gets slightly cold.”
For veteran supermodel and now character actress Seemi Pasha, Yasmin opts for a sari that oozes glamour.
“Seemi is one of Pakistan’s earliest fashion models and has a great sense of style. She is extremely graceful and, even when I have designed saris for her in the past, she has carried them beautifully. This time, I created a black chiffon sari for her, with a polka-dot halter-neck blouse adding punch. Seemi enjoys clothes that make a statement and I know that she will appreciate the blouse.
“She brought in a choker of her own when we were photographing her, and I felt that it went very well with her overall look. Seemi is great at styling herself, and also giving instructions to the make-up artist and photographer. She knows precisely how to pose for a photograph in order to achieve a certain look. All those years as a model have made her very experienced, of course!”
Yet another veteran selected by Yasmin is Tazeen Hussain, whose work as an actress has been sporadic but always very well-received. As the daughter of acclaimed actor Talat Hussain, Tazeen is no stranger to the spotlight and yet, she has often stayed away from it for years, building her career in academia and only returning to TV infrequently.
Tazeen caught Yasmin’s eye when she saw her in the Hum TV Network drama Yunhi, which is currently on air. “She is so elegant and I love the fact that her hair is a beautiful silverish grey. It makes her stand out, because most women tend to make a beeline for hair dyes as soon as their hair begins greying. I didn’t know Tazeen at all but I reached out to her and, luckily for me, she agreed!”
Yasmin continues: “The outfit that I had originally created for Tazeen was very simple, but she told me that she preferred not to wear it, since it stereotyped her as Iqbal, her character in Yunhi. Instead, she picked out a striped Irish linen fusion design. It’s a shirt that is trendy but also very wearable, even when she is at work, teaching at the Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture [IVS] in Karachi.
“It is a pleasure working with Tazeen. She is very professional and punctual. I remember that she had a meeting on the day of the shoot, and so she got her make-up done, went for the meeting and came right back to get photographed!”
Hira Hussain, on the other hand, is a woman that Yasmin has worked with frequently in the past.
“I especially wanted to design a dress for Hira. She and I go a long way back. I think she did her very first fashion shoot with me and she also walked the ramp for me at Fashion Pakistan Week back in 2019. Our tastes and sense of style are very similar, and I feel that she carries clothes extremely well.
“Often when I create a new collection, I ask Hira to come in and model the clothes for me so that I can ascertain how they look, and make changes if needed. She always comes. We have a great working relationship.”
Yasmin recalls: “Back in 2019, I remember Hira trying on a gown for me. It looked great and she would often ask me when I would create something similar for her. I decided to do so for this shoot. It’s a tiered, full-length gown, created from 15 yards of crushed fabric. The gown has spaghetti straps and it looks great paired with a bolero. It’s the sort of silhouette that suits all body types, especially someone as petite as Hira.”
Lastly, new model Maleena Manzoor adds youthful energy to Yasmin’s motley crew.
“She’s young, very professional and has the height and physique to carry off the tie-n-dye dress that I created for her,” says Yasmin. “It’s a silk dress that a girl could wear on an island vacation, perhaps. Maleena wore it really well and she really got along with the others. In fact, Seemi knew her mother, who also used to be a model!”
Why, though, did Yasmin choose to design with muses in mind rather than simply create a collection and get it shot on models and promoted on social media?
“I definitely find it a much more interesting process than planning a shoot with the usual slew of popular models,” says the designer. “How many fashion shoots do we see every week on social media, featuring the same models and select actresses? Are those shoots ever memorable or do they fade out from our minds quickly?
“I felt that a campaign centred around a more diverse mix of women from different fields would have greater recall value. Also, I wanted to be inclusive, designing for women of different ages, with different body types.
“It’s much more unique,” she adds, “and, of course, the aesthetics that these women have emulate those of my brand.”
Published in Dawn, ICON, August 20th, 2023