Nabila Changeth!

Published in Slogan (Feb ’11)

Hair has always been her medium of expression. Her clientele changed as she became the most
expensive from the most affordable hair stylist. She is the perfect match for a beauty brand like L’Oreal.

Only one name comes to mind: Nabila Maqsood, Pakistan’s style icon and now also a lifestyle brand. The lady recently launched her first coffee table book “Nabila Changes” at the Commune Artists Colony amidst many admirers, including leading designers Safinaz Munir, Deepak Perwani, Umar Sayeed, Sonya Battla, Amir and Huma Adnan; photographers Tapu Javeri and Amean J; and models Aaminah Sheikh and Tanya Shafi.

Inside the book, which is sponsored by L’Oreal Professionnel, we find Nabila ‘freed from the
shackles of tradition’. Through the images we see a glimpse of who she has been, the people and
physical spaces that have influenced her and mostly, her 25-year journey in the world of fashion.

In this autobiographical account, she appears in different roles – as a young mother, a hair stylist, a creative consultant, a makeover specialist – and experiments with her clients’ looks. But one theme is constant: reinvention.

With time, we see how she and her salon, set up in 1986, evolved gracefully. She proudly writes of the launch of the first independent men’s salon, of the very first spa and eventually the first nail bar in the country, with help and inspiration from Zain Mustafa.

‘Styling for me is beyond conventional prettiness,’ Nabila reveals, mentioning how she created hybrid solutions appropriate for the Pakistani market. This is reflected by several of the photographs – shot by some of Pakistan’s leading photographers like Amean J., Tapu Javeri, Rizwan Baig and Khawar Riaz – that fill the pages. These include prominent faces like Ali Zafar, Wasim Akram, Hadiqa Kiyani, Shaan, Bibi, Zoella, Iraj, Babra Sharif as Marilyn Monroe and so on.

Nabila never advertised and was her ‘own best publicist’. Her success story is simple, yet enticing, with just the right amount of personal details and emotions interwoven with the text and photographs.

With a modern, minimalist look, comprising black-and-white as well as colour images, the book
bespeaks style and sophistication. The transition is smooth, from one chapter to another, though one feels that much remains to be said and revealed – possibly in another coffee table book.

Like Nabila’s styling work, it is evident that the same attention to detail has been given while
compiling “Nabila Changes”. Definitely a collector’s item!

– Ayesha Hoda


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