Maria Belal is an ambitious young Pakistani designer with vision. A graduate of the Pakistan School of Fashion Design, Maria launched her label ‘Maria B’ in Lahore back in March 99. Right after the fashion show, she opened the doors to her new boutique located in the Defence residential area. Her cotton shalwar kameez and embroidered evening wear, all meticulously cut and stitched, were quickly snapped up by trendy Lahoris.
1. What designers do you enjoy wearing and why ?
I absolutely adore Calvin Klein, Armani and Nicole Furhi – not that I own any of their couture garments but as it is, I’m even in love withtheir pret-a-porter. In their work one sees the cleanest lines, the simplest of statements and yet the look is superbly chic and modern.
2. How would you dress up for :
A) A lecture that you have invited to deliver at the Pakistan School of fashion and design : A simple clean cut trouser Kameez.
B) A lazy day at home : Slacks and T-Shirt.
C) A Job Interview : High heels, strong silhouette, dark glasses framing my face, a black Bruno briefcase and probably a trouser kameez, which is bold yet demure.
D) A fashion show that you were co-ordinating: Black! Feathers, patent leather, chiffon and stilletos.
3. Where do you get your hair cut from?
Ali-Tehseen and Maggi at Lillies.
4. How do you like wearing your hair? What ever you can do with dead straight hair.
I usually leave my hair loose.
5. On average, how much time do you spend dressing up?
Time wise hardly any. Effort wise – a little.
6. Tell us about your shoe collection?
Don’t get me started just thinking about shoes gives me a high! I have a fettish for shoes that goes beyond reason and understanding.
7. Which accessories will probably go to your grave with you?
Did I mention my fettish for shoes?
8. Which colours do you think look best on you?
Totally depends on my mood I love all colours so I have no inhibitions about any.
9. Which person dead or living do you feel defined the look of the last millennium?
Coco Chanel- for changing the face of womens fashion, no one even comes remotely close to her. She changed the entire concept of feminism by introducing trousers, jacket suits into womens wear. She alone shook the shackles of cumbersome feminine fashion.
10. The perfume that defines you:
24 FOUBOURG by Hermes.
11. The most valuable possession in your wardrobe?
An overcoat and turtle neck shirt suit by CELINE.
12. The one thing you’d never be caught dead in?
A heavily embroidered jora in 12 colours with a loose kurta and shalwar.
13. The accessories you always have on you?
Gucci glasses, DKNY slippers and a Bally bag.
14. You like to look: a) radical b) chic c) a woman-of-the-town d) sophisticated e) cute.
15. The only photographers you would ever go to are?
Ather Shazad, Usman Saeed and Khawar Riaz.
16. You’ve been given some big bucks to splurge on your wardrobe. Which label is the first one you will grab?
Prada, Georgio Armani and Christian Dior.
17. The one piece you keep buying even though you already have more than enough the same in your wardrobe?
Clothes shoes. What else!
18. Do you enjoy designing clothes for your self?
I feel that by wearing my own creations I am doing justice to being a designer. So I basically wear the clothes that I design for my boutiques.
19. Does being in the fashion world put extra pressure on you to look great all the time?
You can either look fabulous or work your ass off you can’t have it both ways I tried but inevitably failed!
20. Describe the wildest outfit you ever wore. When did you wear it?
I don’t design wild clothes I design creative clothes. With wildness, you get less wearability and wearibility is the key. I don’t remember ever wearing wild clothes.
21. Figuratively speaking, you feel you sadly lack :
22. And you feel you are blessed with :
A twisted brain
23. Have you ever experienced an impulse to go out and do something completely outrageous like pierce your belly button or get a tattoo or maybe dye your hair purple? and later?
I have had numerous outrageous impulses but I’ve never followed them through (except my marriage) — and so far I have lots of regrets about that one.
24. Which local fashion publications are a must read for you?
Visage and Instep
25. Which International fashion publications are a must read for you?
Vogue and more Vogue!
26. If you could wish one of the dead designers alive for just long enough to design you an outfit, who would it be? What sort of outfit would you ask him/her to design for you? Why?
It would have to be Versace and I’d ask him to go wild with his inspiration from the ocean and design an evening gown for me.
Maria Belal is an ambitious young Pakistani designer with vision. A graduate of the Pakistan School of Fashion Design, Maria launched her label "Maria B" in Lahore back in March 99.