Shine bright like a diamond.
RISING star Mahgul Rashid is helping take traditional fashion rooted in tradition into the future with her dynamic self-titled brand, which is giving a new exciting edge to outfits.
Her fast growing MAHGUL brand juxtaposes elements of fine art with high-end fashion, including with bridal wear to create outfits that are genuinely offering something new.
Mahgul has also been appointed to the prestigious position of Creative Director for fast fashion retail brand Sapphire, which she is now directing.
Eastern Eye caught up with Mahgul to talk about fashion, bridal wear, tips she would give new brides and more.
Tell us what first connected you to fashion design?
My background as an artist. When I entered the Pakistani luxury formal and bridal wear market, I wanted to create designs that were experimental and echoed the avant-garde school of thought. As an artist, I could break rules in my work and wanted to create designs for women that made an impact, stood the test of time and would be perceived as pieces of art.
What inspires you as a designer?
My inspiration comes mainly from art and miniature paintings in particular. Architecture and the wondrous world of nature, animals, flora and fauna also serve as major sources of inspiration. But it’s the process of creating from scratch that really excites me. My favourite part of this process is designing the foundations of my embellishments on paper. That piece of paper then becomes my true inspiration and lets me manipulate existing techniques of embellishments.
How does designing bridal wear compare to other designs?
I start the process of designing and creating prints and pret wear with a very modern approach. I’ll start creating prints and silhouettes from scratch, sometimes I’ll even pick up a paintbrush and start painting, which evolves into a print I’ll use on a piece. The aim is to make something that is impactful and very easy to wear. With bridals and formals, it’s my handmade sketches and illustrations on paper that guide the embellishment design process.
Tell us more about your bridal wear design process?
It starts with a theme and a colour story. From there, I simultaneously begin working on cuts and silhouettes with a strong focus on embellishment and technique, which is of utmost importance to me. It has to make a statement and also stand the test of time. I want my designs to serve as heirloom pieces, to be worn again and again. My team and I spend a lot of time developing these techniques to ensure that every stitch, bead and motif is executed to perfection by hand.
How do you balance the traditional and contemporary in your designs?
By focusing on one aspect at a time. If I’m doing a modern cut, I’ll inject a bit of traditional into the ensemble in the handworked embellishments. If I’m designing a predominantly traditional bridal, I’ll add some miniature work or create a contemporary border on the dupatta or lehnga that blends seamlessly with the rest of the ensemble.
Tell us about your latest Kohinoor bridal collection?
The Kohinoor collection is my ode and persistence to create purely handwork-ed embellishments. The silhouettes are simple and easy to wear, so the handwork can take centre stage and embroideries that are totally crafted by hand.
How did you decide its name?
I sought inspiration from the elusive Kohinoor diamond. Delving deep into its aura of prestige and power, the MAHGUL brand stays true to its ethos of creating designs that transcend trends and emanate an emblematic brilliance.
What according to you makes for the perfect bridal outfit?
An outfit that doesn’t weigh the bride down. On her wedding day there are so many stresses on the bride’s mind and the outfit shouldn’t be one. We work with our clients on customising every last detail and then start the creation process by keeping what the bride wants at the forefront of the customisation process. We then supplement that with our own design expertise to ensure the bride shines the brightest on her big day.
What will be the hot bridal trends for next year?
A return to simplicity, bridals that don’t overwhelm the bride and experimental cuts like peplums instead of straight shirts. And lehnga cholis aren’t going anywhere.
What advice would you give women looking for the perfect bridal outfit?
They should have an idea of what they want, yet keep an open mind. I believe when designing a bridal it should be a collaborative process between the designer and customer, so th-at the client gets exactly what she wants. It’s very humbling for me when a bride chooses a MAHGUL bridal, so I take it upon myself to make sure we deliver an ensemble that exceeds expectations.
How would you describe the woman who wears a MAHGUL outfit?
She is confident in her own skin, appreciates the art of handwork and isn’t afraid to take risks when it comes to contemporary silhouettes. Having said that, I want to add that a MAHGUL outfit isn’t just for younger girls. A great deal of our clientele keeps coming back to us for the quality of our handwork and because our designs are different from anything else they see in the market.
Why do you love being a fashion designer?
Because I can let my work and artistic vision do all the talking through my designs. Instead of creating hype on social media, I believe that it’s my work that should speak for itself whether it’s on the runway, internet, hanging in my studio or on the back of a MAHGUL woman.
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