Interview: The Elan SS’16 Lawn Story From Khadijah Shah, Team NFK, and Nidhi Sunil!
With the launch only a few more days away, we know you can barely wait to grab your favorite designer lawn of the season! Elan by Khadijah Shah Spring/Summer’16 lawn will hit stores from 19th March but first lets hear from the woman herself and the entire team behind the exotic Marrakech campaign! More than just the lawn itself, Elan SS’16 is about the entire experience it offers and their fabulous destination shoots are every bit as enjoyable as the designs themselves! Get to know this season’s Elan lawn better with exclusive looks from the making and the watch the team of Khadijah Shah, Maha Burney, Nadir Firoz Khan, Nidhi Sunil, Mehr Bano Qureshi, Mahum Kabir, and Omayr Waqar take Morocco by storm!
Elan SS’16 Lawn
Khadijah Shah- Creative Head Elan:
Always a trendsetter, tell us why Morocco and how you landed on the destination choice for the campaign?
Over the years, the Élan lawn campaign has shaped itself into a travelogue; to the extent our campaign is just as important as the collection itself. Now we actively look to highlight and showcase our locations. It started off in Hub in Pakistan, then Thailand, then Sri Lanka, and this time we decided Morocco. It’s a place that has always intrigued me; for its French – Arabic heritage, indigenous culture, the landscape, the souks and the vibrant community. Marrakesh was the perfect background for our collection this year.
Mahnum, Khadijah and Meherbano
Omayr, Maha, Nidhi, Mahnum, Khadijah
Something memorable about the trip experience that you’ll cherish?
Well all of it was pretty memorable…we were a cosy team in a new city; there was something hilarious happening all the time. Me, Meher Bano and Mahnum were all in one room, so that was super fun, as were our 5 am wakeup calls and breakfasts. Working with Nidhi was also something I’ll remember as she started out knowing not much about our local scene, and by the end of our trip she knew everything!!
Mehr Bano and Mahnum
Maha Burney, Nadir Firoz Khan, Khadijah Shah, Meher Bano Qureshi, Mahnum Kabir, Omayr Waqar
Tell us about this year’s lawn? What is one thing that you have focused on to distinguish it from the rest?
There are many distinguishing factors this year. For one, we decided to focus more on the detailing of the embroidery, so it’s a bit more refined that way. Then we decided to go easy on the prints on prints, and go for a subtler and more artistic approach. There is more breathing room in terms of design. Our fronts are more embroidery based, whereas our backs have vibrant prints. I think we managed to strike a great balance between embroidery and print this year, making it a bit different from what the rest of the market has to offer.
Nidhi Sunil SS’16 face of Elan lawn
Why Maha and Nadir, what do you love about working with them and what do they bring to the table that is special?
The thing about working with Maha and Nadir is that they take care of everything. They’re great to work with, always available to talk/discuss ideas with them even if its in the middle of the night. This shoot was not easy to plan at all, but Nadir and Maha handled the production end of it beautifully. Additionally, what I love about their work is that it’s very crisp and clean. Every image is perfect.
Maha and Nadir
Favorite designs and how do they reflect the Élan girl?
That’s such a tough one, because as me and my team were going through the process of designing this collection, we ended up falling for each one of the designs, given the sheer time and hard work spend on each on of them to make sure it’s the perfect composition, the perfect feel and the perfect colours. However, if I must choose, I love Majorelle, Le Comptoir, Le Ciel, Menara, and La Sultana.
Maha Burney and Nadir Firoz Khan – Team NFK Photography and Creative Direction
What is the challenge in shooting lawn in particular?
Capturing that magical moment where the model looks beautiful, the clothes fall perfectly, the prints catch your eye and the lighting is flawless- that is the challenge of Lawn. Additionally with a dozen lawn campaigns releasing in any given season, the concept, location and the model really have to stand out! We were lucky to find a model as versatile and beautiful as Nidhi, she was a true professional and really did a fabulous job. Morocco as a city was a perfect choice, in terms of giving us tons of location variety to choose from. Culturally and Architecturally it has a very rich heritage with some historic monuments and areas dating back as far as medieval times! There was also that exotic ethnic factor that was naturally befitting to the collection; Khadijah did an amazing job of tying Moroccan inspired detailing into the clothes themselves and the interplay came across beautifully with each location. It’s not easy to pull off a shoot where every element works in cohesion, but that IS the goal and ultimately what makes shooting Lawn exciting albeit challenging at the same time!
Describe your favorite shots from the campaign and why you think they turned out great?
I love the one of her standing in front of the Bab Agnaou gate. It is one of the oldest and most beautiful gates in the famous medieval wall of the city of Marrakech and really reflects the quintessential Moroccan experience. The image is that of Nidhi as a chic exotic traveller who’s just been caught in the moment, it’s very natural and relaxed. Another favourite is the close up of Nidhi at the city wall. Not only is it a great beauty shot with perfect lighting but I love the vibrancy and colours of the printed dupatta against the neutral background.
What do you like about working with Khadijah and the Elan team?
Khadijah is great to work with! She is super clear about her vision (which makes life a lot easier for us ) but at the same time she’s really good about giving us our creative freedom when needed. Her team was awesome! They came really well prepared for the shoot and were super helpful. On a personal side note the Elan team was also a blast to hang with making the experience as much fun as work. We really had a wonderful time with them in Morroco. Couldn’t have wished for a better team to work with
Most Challenging part about shooting in Morroco ?
Marrakech was great in terms of offering us an amazing variety of options location wise- the challenge was editing down the options and trying to pick the ones that worked together. We wanted to shoot in as many locations as we could possibly fit in, which made shooting quite demanding. It felt like we were in a constant race against time! It was well worth it though and I think we were able to really capture the spirit of the beautiful city in the shots.
How was your experience working with team Elan and Team NFK?
Working with team Elan and team NFK was an absolute laugh riot! They also had a really strong vision and direction which is always a great thing for a model; it was great company, and incredible team spirit in a beautiful setting. Perfect!
How do you like the collection?
The collection is absolutely stunning! Beautiful for women across skin tones and body types. I wish I was currently living in a city that didn’t wear only black, whites and browns; I’d be wearing an outfit a day.
What made you want to do this campaign?
I had already heard about Elan Lawn and the elegance and strong aesthetic associated with the design label. When they called me to work with them for the campaign, and explained the theme it was based around, there were really no doubts in mind.
BTS Photos courtesy team Elan | Shoot credits: Photography by Nadir Firoz Khan , Ceative Direction by Maha Burney, Styling by Mahnum, Maha & Mehrbano, Makeup and Hair Omayr waqar, Model Nidhi Sunil.
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