Sumaya Khan Couture’s festival collection is nothing short of a triumph
The images could find themselves at home in a lush Sanjay Leela Bhansali production, and yet feel fresh and unique. Graceful, doe-eyed beauties lounge in an opulent setting. Trays of picture-perfect barfis, sprinkled with fresh petals snuggle against cushions. Delicate florals blossom on sheer fabrics. Silhouettes fit and flare, sensuously suggesting movement even in the stills. Low lighting, opulent surroundings. When Sumaya Khan Couture dropped their Festival Saga collection on Instagram recently to commemorate the completion of the brand’s second, it was nothing short of a triumph.
Featuring classic and timeless pieces in luxurious fabrics, ornate detailing, and a rich palette of both jewel tones and the most delicate of pastels, this luxury prêtcollection is quintessential, sophisticated, and sustainable, transitioning right from the upcoming festival season right up to the glitziest weddings with just a presto-change-o of accessories. And SumayaKhan, the woman behind the brand, is only getting warmed up.
2020 forced everyone to close shop andcreated a massive disruption in the clothing and retail sector. Her labelmay have managed to avoid some of the crippling losses faced by many other brands and houses – thanks to a core product of versatile and affordable daily wear – but forSumayaherself, also being a professional makeup artist, a lecturer of legal studies, the forced idleness was nothing short of torture. Without the thrill she gets from multi-tasking and burning the candles on both ends, the only recourse was to retreat to the drawing board, and plan the next steps.
The SS21 collection, titled Festive Saga, is a full collection of high-end ethnic wear, in ethereal fabrics like jamdani, muslin, lace, silk and organza. Sumaya’s aesthetic is timeless, classic, and unabashedly feminine. “My collections come from my mood, how I am feeling and what I am thinking at that moment,” she tells us. “There are days I study about pop culture or contemporary arts but honestly I am forever a hopeless romantic for south Asian traditional fashion. I think many of my inspiration comes from my upbringing, my 90s childhood, my mother’s closet or remembering our brown roots. The Festive Saga is hence a mix bag of my love for Muslimarchitectural patterns, our cultural heritage and accepting who I am becoming everyday.”
The label’s growing fanbase know to expect an investment buy. What truly sets Sumaya Khan Couture apart is the versatility and longevity of the clothes; timeless cuts that never go out of style, combined with practical structural tweaks that make one wonder how one ever went without them. The Festive Saga being a luxury line, raises the bar. Despite the timing of the launch, Sumaya insists that the collection, which is priced at Tk22,000 to Tk75,000, must not be confused with an Eid collection. “It is an exclusive luxury couture collection available for any festival or bridal wear.”
Do you have a favourite piece from the collection?
This is kind of like asking a mother who is the favourite child! Jokes apart, personally I was extremely excited when I designed the translucent lace churidar shalwar. Something I have never seen from any designs before and it was kind of like a wish come true. The hand embroidered details on the jamdani dupattas followed by the golden zari borders are also one of my favourites.
Let’s talk about the shoot concept. What was going on in your mind?
I really do not know where to start! It was a hectic but a happy day! If you know me, you know how important photo-shoots are for me. I believe that is the best form of showcasing a fashion label. Everything you see in this photo-shoot have already been there in my head, all I had to do is give it life. While working on the Festive Saga photo-shootI could escape into the era of Mughals and the Royals. My team worked really hard behind this shoot to make it up to my standard. Starting from picking the right wallpapers to collecting the antique backdrops. We made the perfect candle light vibe and provided a natural smoke effect. If you look at the details there are beautifully designed boxes for betel leaf, jewellery boxes with Arabic words engraved on them, chandeliers, the Iranian carpet, the tablas to the sitars. We made sure we have it all.
Are you happy with the results?
Absolutely. I am blessed with an amazing team, starting from my visual artist Fatima to my hair artist Aminul everyone worked extra hard to make this a successful and perfect shoot.There was a proper mood board at our office where we brainstormed this photoshoot. We created custom fitted outfits just for the shoot. We also procured the correct hairpieces to create the royal look. The moment Festive Saga hit the social media we were overwhelmed by the response and love!
Congratulations on launching your accessories line. Can you tell us what’s on offer and what we can look forward to?
Thank you! Sumaya Khan Accessories have had a soft launch on Instagram. We are starting with regular wear shoes but there is still so much to learn before I can dream to becomeManolo Blahnik. It is completely different from clothes and there are new techniques and materials I am working on. I have started this project from last year; my focus is to provide quality leather footwear for working women in Dhaka, keeping in mind that there must always be a budget friendly collection available. I judge a person’s character by their footwear, so I will make sure my shoes maintain that simplicity and can easily be identified as a Sumaya Khan.
So who is a Sumaya Khan woman?
A Sumaya Khan woman is someone who dresses up according to her nostalgic feelings. Someone who likes to wear traditional benaroshi saree for a book launch and the very next day wear a funky hand crafted leather jacket for a dinner date. Remembering our traditions are always important because being modern is just a state of mind. So it all depends on how you feel, a Sumaya khan woman must feel free to dress up the way she wants.
By Sumaya Khan
This is actually the first time I have worked with Jamdani and lace fabrics, they are both very tricky and hence they need extra care. As I stated that, the festive Saga collection is a sustainable luxury couture collection we also worked with chiffons, velvets, raw silk, muslins, organza and georgettes.
Photo courtesy: Mehedi Rahman Ehab
Concept: Sumaya Khan
Visual Artist: Fatima Zohra
Models: Prejual Chakma, Roza Bari, Nusrat Shahrina
Makeup: Nausheen Nawar
Hair: Aminul Islam