Fashion for mass is frivolous at large. And textile giants are banking on having the ever bigger stores. Sapphire one of the infamous game changer in the industry, opened its biggest ‘concept’ store in the lavish Nishat Emporium Lahore recently. I was privileged to be flown to Lahore to see it all and here it is
Once inside you are confronted with an expansive 1300 sq foot hall in white littered with baby palms, images of exotic wildlife on the walls and a central fountain with arched veranda in the middle to sit and cool off while you contemplate damage to your purse. There is also a new popup bakery ‘Delish’- (an industry first) so you can eat while you hoard clothes. But I just wonder how the glass accents and finery will stand up to the storied crowds and stampedes that often entail its sale events.
Designed by Strata by Yousaf Shahbaz, the space had a contemporary yet luxe north African vibe for me. Considering Sapphire’s actual product offering and this retail space it’s on the boundary of my imagination of what a luxury store of say Chanel might look like if it sold something as ‘approachable’ as a bar of lux soap.
Where the international fashion may have Balmain army, here on the launch the brand flexed it PR muscle by its own soldiery of Sapphire comprising faithful of IT-girls, print journalists and socialites all dressed in sapphire off course. But it was the conspicuous absence of fellow designer peers that reaffirmed probable insecurities and how big a tsunami sapphire has swept the industry over with whether for better or for worse.
Criticism and Cynicism from fashion purists abound but it seems for Sapphire it’s hard to be affected by not getting accolades for one or the indignation from petty bloggers (like myself); because the proof of pudding is in the fact that no matter what women keep getting lost in a general haze of their pretty florals and graphical abstracts.
Where high-end fashion is all about surrealist fantasy, Sapphire being a marvel of fast fashion seems to have found a realism that balances fashion’s allure with pragmatic accessibility. And that’s the message of Sapphire’s ‘bargainous’ fashion that the team responsible for this fantastic dream would want you to take home