Maram and Aabroo share with GT the first edition of the M&A Diaries â€“ tips on beauty and photography, as well as insider news from the world of fashion
This year been has been amazing for us as a company. We started 2013 with a project we have wanted to get off the ground for a long time, namely a state-of-the art salon in the heart of Lahore to cater to clients who have been pleading for a central second location in the city. After working out numbers and feasibility, we began scouting for locations. Not an easy task in the charming urban metropolis that is Lahore! The rates for some places we liked were astronomical; others were so tucked away that their reasonable prices didnâ€™t cut it.
After two months, right when we were close to rethinking the endeavor, a friend called us recommending a location. Having had so many disappointments, we begrudgingly made our way across M.M.Alam Road, a stones throw away from Aabrooâ€™s favourite restaurant, Zouk, and we landed up at what was to be our workplace for the foreseeable future. It was love at first sight. Excited, we called our close friends over to celebrate. In two months we had moved in.
Shoots, shoots, and more shoots: this is what December to February usually looks like on our calendars. Lawn season â€” the most chaotic and terrifyingly exciting time for most designers â€” was also a busy one for us. One of our closest friends, Fahad Hussayn, launched his line of lawn for the first time, to much well-deserved praise. We did the styling for the remake of Armaan by Tarang.
Despite the wintery nights, locations all over the treacherous Murree hills, and the looming stress of a salon-under-constructionâ€”we managed to pull it all off! Maram closely supervised the looks for Aamina Sheikh and Pakistanâ€™s favourite heartthrob, Fawad Khan.
About three weeks before the event, a flurry of meetings began with the production team (headed by the ever-inspiring HSY Aka Sheru) as well as the designers individually. Typically, the production team briefs us on what each fashion week entails: the number of designers per day, the ones showing their collections specifically on the day we are handling makeup, the backstage setup, the sponsor requirements, etc. After that, we sit down with the production folks and come up with the seasonâ€™s makeup looks paying special attention to international trends, palettes, but also local skin tones and sensitivities. We meet each designer to see how these looks can be tweaked to match their needs, all the while keeping in mind the back-to-back nature of the shows, and the tight time-frame allotted to the models to change outfits.
The audience sees a seamless showcase of pomp and pageantry; backstage, meanwhile, is a nightmare (a polite phrase would be â€˜controlled chaosâ€™) with outfit changes at lightning speed, makeup (was it the winged-eyeliner look or smoky eyes? Ack!) hair suddenly tumbling out of buns, and accessories being changed in record timeâ€”sometimes in less than four minutes. Fashion Week starts with 9 am makeup-calls (which means setting your alarm to 7 AM, naturally), and an all-day sprint from station to station till about midnight. We honestly donâ€™t know any other way to survive but in our most comfortable clothes and sneakers, which perhaps might explain why we have become somewhat infamous for our sneakers collectionâ€¦
After fashion week, Aabroo winged her way to New York to be with her husband; her trip back would entail them packing up and moving to Pakistan for good. She had been travelling back and forth for years, and this year Aabroo and her husband decided to move permanently to Lahore. Maram: â€œI cannot imagine my life existing without Aabroo being constantly around as we have been through so much together, professionally and personally, for nearly two decades!â€
â€˜The audience sees a seamless showcase of pomp and pageantry; backstage, meanwhile, is a nightmare (a polite phrase would be â€˜controlled chaosâ€™) with outfit changes at lightning speed, hair suddenly tumbling out of buns, and accessories being changed in record timeâ€”sometimes in less than four minutesâ€™
This year we were lucky enough to be part of the weddings of two of our very close friends: Atif Aslam and Juggun Kazim. While we did their makeup for all the functions, we also did the still and video photographyÂ for Atifâ€™s event, which was hugely fun. A team of young photographers equipped with the latest DSLRs swarmed the space capturing a star-studded guest list including Alamgir, Ali Azmat, Manzar Sehbai, Meesha Shafi, Farhad Humayun, Shahid Afridi and many more.
After the summer came PFDC Lâ€™Oreal Paris Bridal Week. We were asked to be the official makeup experts and artists on all three days. We lined up our forte of makeup for practically all the best bridal couture designers of the country. For their daily newsletter, they chose a designer each day with whom we would brainstorm individual looks according to their collections and our individual aesthetic. As luck would have it, it was our three favourite boys: HSY, The House of Kamiar Rokni and Fahad Hussayn. Along with the Lâ€™Oreal Paris team headed by Nubain Ali, we created â€œlooksâ€ that were also used for beautifully-designed makeup kits.
A team of young photographers equipped with the latest DSLRs swarmed the space capturing a star-studded
Porsche Pakistan recently started a celebrity shoot campaign where they pair known celebrities with their super hot cars. We decided to take a slightly different route than previously used in the campaign. We opted to shoot at the Porsche Pakistanâ€™s garage to bring out the true beauty of the gleaming black Turbo S. The images turned out so well that we were asked to be the official photographers for the rest of the campaign.
â€˜I cannot imagine my life without Aabroo beingÂ constantly around as we have been through so much together, professionally and personally, for nearly twoÂ decades!â€™
At the end of November, for the Style 360 Pantene Bridal Couture Week, we were asked to present a makeup and hair presentation. Now this is what we love: a show where we get to do what we like. We chose outfits by Fahad Hussayn, jewelry by Shafaq Habib and asked HSY to direct as only he can do. Letâ€™s see what you guys think of it when it hits the airwaves in a few weeks. The night was special for another reason too: we had our first billboard go up in Cantt. It feels incredible every time we drive by it.
TIP for a bride-to-be:
Whilst on stage, sit with a straight face, back tall and chin up; that is the most flattering angle for any bride and completes the look. If you do not follow this rule your eye bags will show. Remember these pictures will only be taken once and last a lifetime!