Cruise down a sun-drenched beach to your own private (or rented) hut or feast on a bucketful of crabs, fresh from the sea, at a candle-lit restaurant; shop till you drop at a shiny, glossy mall cluttered with your favourite brands, walk down a grandiose red carpet affair or wrap up your day with a serving of popcorn and the latest movie at your favourite cineplex … it’s hardly the image the world has of life in strife-ridden, war-torn Pakistan. Yet, those within the moneyed periphery revel in the pulsating, kaleidoscopic, ever-so-slightly hedonistic Pakistani high-life.
So what if you couldn’t make the annual trip to London this year — you can still swing by Debenhams and stock up on international trends. And as long as you have the wherewithal to afford them, there are private yachts and water sports galore available, at par with any beach in the world! There are high-end beauty treatments, scintillating couture and a glitzy lifestyle that is as indelibly a part of the country as the violence outside, coexisting tenaciously, elusively. Here, Images on Sunday takes a peek into the lifestyles of Pakistan’s thin upper-crust:Despite the doldrums, conspicuous consumers now have more ways to spend their cash than ever before Shopaholics, ahoy!
The past decade has witnessed malls cropping up all over the country; varnished, air conditioned and packed with regional ‘it’ brands and a smattering of international contenders. We may not have ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics as décor or opulent snow and ski-worlds a la Dubai but some of our local malls easily rival their international counterparts. The colossal Dolmen City in Karachi shines bright under a sunlit sky-roof and is popular for the sheer diversity it offers; from groceries to lifestyle decor, designer apparel to shoes, jewellery and inevitably, food and play areas for children. Centaurus in Islamabad, is another gigantic shopping hub. Other smaller malls such as Karachi’s Park Towers, The Forum and Ocean Mall, and the Mall of Lahore have more limited shopping options but are still popular.
It’s shopping heaven, particularly for the deep-pocketed sartorialist. Now that the Pakistani design fraternity has woken up to the lucrative possibilities of flagship stores, the mall high-street is cluttered with exciting labels like Deepak Perwani, Ayesha Hashwani, Sania Maskatiya, Sana Safinaz, Nida Azwer Atelier, Daaman, Gulabo and Sheep. Also available in every mall or shopping district worth its salt is the ever-pervasive Khaadi, offering everything from unstitched fabric to pret-a-porter to home accessories to the pricier, avant-garde Khaadi Khaas.
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