After falling behind in global fashion, the Middle East has begun repositioning itself as a leader on the international fashion map. Over the past five years, countless talents have managed to drive the future of couture and ready-to-wear fashion.
After six successful seasons, Dubai Fashion Forward has asserted itself at the helm of the region’s fashion movement. The seasonal event is held twice every year in Dubai to celebrate an interesting mix of young, established, and revolutionary designers.
The seventh season was no exception, as the line-up promised a large dose of innovative and sophisticated Fall/Winter catalogues. The event was held at the newly established Dubai Design District for the very first time. The event consisted of four consecutive days of runway shows, presentations and talks. Nonetheless, the unstable weather managed to slightly tone-down the fiesta with torrential rainfall plaguing during event’s second day.
With that being said, Daily News Egypt was on location to catch the show-stopping highlights that garnered sustained attention.
There is no doubt that the young and promising designer managed to kick off the season with a bang in his opening show. For his Fall/Winter 2016 collection, the designer was inspired by a mythical princess.
“I was inspired by Princess Sophia, who lived in medieval times and found the desirable formula for the elixir of life hidden in the red apple. She became immortal and lived through several ages, hiding her everlasting youth and keeping the secret formula of the elixir undisclosed,” said Bazaza.
In the collection, Bazaza embraced his deep appreciation for details and embroidery. Meanwhile, it took patchwork to a new level. The designer brilliantly managed to remain modern with a medieval twist through the intricately embroidered unicorns, butterflies and astrological signs.
On the other hand, Bazaza also tapped into the current trend that makes recourse to 70s stylings with prominent metallic tones and pleats. This particular collection seamlessly showcased two extremes of womanhood: the princess and the warrior.
Designer Khulood Thani remained true to her country’s heritage with a strong FW collection, titled The Journeyer. The ready-to-wear brand delved deep into Emirati culture with a theme inspired by the country’s shores and fishing journeys.
The 12 piece-collection was a quintessential modern interpretation of the iconic black abaya. With the use of mixed fabrics and leather, the garments managed to clearly embrace the blue waves and the fishing nets. Overall, the collection’s main sensation was one of comfort and confidence, showcasing Thani’s versatile pieces that would be a great investment for your wardrobe.
Designers Yago Goicoechea and Riccardo Audisio took a complete detour with their resort 2017 collection. As a brand created by European designers based in Dubai,Taller Marmo represents a constant bridge between the two worlds.
According to the designers, this collection was all about going back to the start by highlighting the key elements that shape the label’s DNA. Walking along the same line set by their previous collections, their resort 2017 collection was manufactured in Italy using truly unique fabrics.
The collection’s charm can be attributed to the extraordinary patterns combined with classic silhouettes. One of the main fabrics used is a vintage viscose-cotton jacquard produced in 1581 during the Ottoman era. The one-of-a-kind fabric was brilliantly moulded into 21st century separates, including a bomber jacket, dress, coat and trouser. Furthermore, the collection revived Coco Chanel’s initial idea of taking menswear to the other side with spectacular cotton shirts and wide-leg pants.
Day two of Fashion Forward started with a truly liberating show, courtesy of Lebanon’s Starch Foundation. Bashar Assaf, the Perverse label and Salim Azzam showcased three separate collections that ranged from deep nostalgia to futuristic gender equality. Assaf’s Wear Your Wrinkles was a sign of love dedicated to his grandmother, who taught him the beauty of aging.
The progressive collection depended mainly on patterns and cuts to document the various stages women go through while aging. “Wear Your Wrinkles is inspired and dedicated to my grandmother. Closely watching her age inspired me. She was never a fan of wearing makeup because she believed that it would erase the physical marks of her life story,” said Assaf.
On the other hand, Perverse by Lobnan Mahfouz played on the thin lines between gendered dress. His unisex collection captured the abstract truth about modern fashion in an empowering manner.
Finally, Salim Azzam returned to his hometown in the heart of Lebanon with his Once Upon a Time collection. “This year I focused on exhibiting some local stories and customs in a new context, as local craftswomen embroidered my designs as well as illustrations of themselves on shirts and dresses. Through handmade embroidery, these women managed to narrate their own stories and share their own cultural heritage and values, bringing the voice of the village to life in my very first fashion collection,” said Azzam.
Army of 1
Designers Doha Challah and Nissreen Darawish took the rebellious theme one step further with a collection that aims to break all gender stereotypes. Their New School collection was based on interesting fabrics, such as men’s army fabric sourced from Afghanistan that was turned into modern silhouettes. The designers also highlighted one of the season’s top trends: leather and mesh.
Through adding a few alterations to the traditional men’s suits, the duo managed to cement a rebellious and grunge-fuelled attitude, while maintaining their regular sporty flair.
The Lebanese designer created a powerful collection that expressed independence and grace while speaking to women who thrive to constantly be strong and independent. The FW16 collection featured classic outfits that could be worn at any time, while her colour pallet walked in hand with her concept.
“It is basically man versus nature. It is about how we neglect nature in every aspect of our lives. That is why I used dark colours as well as earthy tones. On the other hand, I incorporated faux python leather,” said Jouni. According to the designer, the collection’s silhouettes were inspired by this internal battle as the corsets spoke best of the lines found in nature.
As the song Pocket Full of Soul played, Bouguessa’s new collection embarked on a historical return to the 20s with modern interpretations of classic tuxedos. The models showcased 29 different garments while taking glitter out of their pockets and applying it to their faces.
The collection was initially inspired by the Dubai skyline’s spectacular skyscrapers. Faiza Bouguessa did not only settle for an artistic combination of theme and execution, she also played with eye-catching fabrics such as silk velvet and satin.
Three Fifty Nine
Through the vibrant mix of colours and fabrics, Marwa Sayed proved the association of the winter season with dark-colour pallets completely wrong. Wild Pixels is a celebration of geometry through a rainbow of bold colours. The runway show featured an army of powerful women who appreciate a little dose of tribal flair. The collection showcased a new dimension of the designer’s aesthetic with modern cocktail dresses and statement pieces.
Zayan the Label
Soaring is a cultural ambassador that brought the crystal allure of Alaska right to the heart of the Middle East. Designer Zayan Ghandour was inspired by the Alaskan landscape, with its breath-taking mountains, flowers and birds.
The garments were strictly modern, with refined details that unfolded the concept. The subtle references were communicated through floral lace, tribal patterns and an embroidered soaring bird, which is an essential representation of the state’s heritage.
For the season’s grand closing show, Furne One prompted an absolute change of skin with his REV 21:8 collection. After experiencing great success with his dreamy, pastel collection last season, the designer entered the dark side with a daring collection that aims to step into the world of mystery, astrology, and ancient history.
The silhouettes were steamy and non-traditional. Meanwhile, the designer also depended on a few unexpected textures for greater drama. He did not only play peek-a-boo with lace, he also incorporated hair and feathers. That is to say that this particular collection is not for the weak-hearted.