Harper’s Bazaar: How did you land the post as guest fashion director at Per Lei?
Anum Bashir: I was introduced to the boutique about 18 months ago and subsequently got to know the owner, Aysha Alsuwaidi. After a few conversations, it seemed like a super-cool idea to join forces for a year, venture into new territory and share a completely new vision.
HB: Talk us through your creative thought process for cruise 2015/16…
AB: The new direction focuses more on a relaxed and chic minimalism. For me, it was about tapping into a new type of customer, as I would love the boutique to speak to the more off-kilter, cool woman who isn’t afraid to look extremely effortless and laid-back but totally on point. I’m introducing emerging designers that I personally love and who represent in their designs the type of woman I’d love to see more of in the region. One of my personal favourites for cruise is Johanna Ortiz.
HB: You’re shining a spot light on a lot of up-and-coming designers – is that important to you?
AB: We all love the big players, but to me there’s something incredibly special about supporting newer talent, as they tend to push the boundaries more. I consistently love designers like Tome, Ellery and Rosetta Getty.
HB: How was your very first buying trip?
AB: It was to Milan and it was amazing to understand the buying process, to see the collections first-hand and to delve into the selection and curation process straight away. I would visit the showrooms, make my initial selection and then the business part kicks in with the Per Lei team discussing what will and won’t work, crunching the numbers, order submission and confirmation, and waiting until the pieces arrive in store.
HB: What did you find in Milan?
AB: Milan is magical. I stayed at the new ME Milan Il Duca boutique hotel. In the mornings, I had buying appointments with the likes of Adam Lippes (his pieces ooze elegance), No.21 (the shoes are something else!), Vilshenko (one of my favourites) and Erika Cavallini (totally easy, breezy style) and afterwards I’d venture to the Montenapoleone area, which is a true shopper’s dream. My favourite piece I picked up was a classic Saint Laurent biker jacket – it goes with everything, even my pyjamas!
HB: And then you went to New York…
AB: NYC is like a second home to me. I love the boutiques in the Meatpacking district or looking for vintage pieces in Brooklyn. You can also get the best pizza there at Roberta’s. Designer-wise, I chose Mark Cross, because I love the history behind the brand, and I even got to play with some original pieces designed for Grace Kelly; I chose the perfect pair of karate trousers from Tome; and I’m also totally in love with Osman’s mirrored bomber jacket. He told me the collection was inspired by pirates.
HB: What can we look forward to from your S/S16 buy?
AB: My aim is to dabble in some more interesting brands with strong points of view and outright fabulous clothes.