Published On: Mon, Oct 10th, 2016

Saudi designers steal show at Dubai fashion week

698 views
Saudi designers steal show at Dubai fashion week (4)

A model presents a creation by Saudi Arabia’s Suzan Farhoud and Leen Al-Shishakly during the Arab Fashion Week on October 8, 2016 in Dubai ©Nezar Balout (AFP)

From a mother and daughter duo hooked on denim to an art-inspired fashionista, female designers from ultra-conservative Saudi Arabia stole the limelight at Arab Fashion Week 2016 in Dubai.

Models strutted the catwalk late Saturday in mini-dresses, cropped jackets, skin-tight jeans and flamboyantly embroidered transparent blouses.

They were the work of Suzan Farhoud and her daughter Leen al-Shieshakly, who set up their “Jeans Couture” brand just a year ago, hoping to share their passion for denim.

Farhoud designs the clothes, while Shieshakly creates bags and manages the business.

“We wanted the Saudis… not to look at denim in a casual way,” Shieshakly said, but also to “wear it for a formal event.”

“We wanted to get the denim into the Saudi market as well as the Middle East,” said the US-educated 26-year-old, who wore her dark hair in a short bob.

Models present creations by Emirati fashion designer Lamya Abedin at the Arab Fashion Week in Dubai on October 6, 2016. Arab Fashion Week opened with hopes of establishing Dubai as a top destination for the "ready couture" genre and as a major fashion capital. / AFP PHOTO / NEZAR BALOUT

Models present creations by Emirati fashion designer Lamya Abedin at the Arab Fashion Week in Dubai on October 6, 2016.
Arab Fashion Week opened with hopes of establishing Dubai as a top destination for the “ready couture” genre and as a major fashion capital. / AFP PHOTO / NEZAR BALOUT

Their collection, named “Out of the Garden”, mixes the fabric with almost everything.

They have created denim tops, trousers, jackets, and dresses — many covered with colourful light flowing capes or skirts.

“I always loved jeans,” said Farhoud, who wore a long dress that mixed a denim top with a light flowery skirt and sleeves.

“I always thought of garments with jeans that I wouldn’t find anywhere.”

Farhoud said having a German mother had influenced her designs.

“Since I am half Arab and half Western I wanted to mix modern and elegant,” she said.

They say their creations have been well-received in Saudi Arabia, where women are forced to cover up from head-to-toe in public.

Asked if breaking social barriers is among her aims, Shieshakly said: “totally”.

“I want the people to wear our clothes, to be very independent women that have freedom of expression,” she said in English. “That’s very important to me.”

Emirati fashion designer Lamya Abedin poses on the runway following her show at the Arab Fashion Week in Dubai on October 6, 2016. Arab Fashion Week opened with hopes of establishing Dubai as a top destination for the "ready couture" genre and as a major fashion capital. / AFP PHOTO / NEZAR BALOUT

Emirati fashion designer Lamya Abedin poses on the runway following her show at the Arab Fashion Week in Dubai on October 6, 2016.
Arab Fashion Week opened with hopes of establishing Dubai as a top destination for the “ready couture” genre and as a major fashion capital. / AFP PHOTO / NEZAR BALOUT

– Elegance and art –

Their casual designs contrasted with those of another Saudi designer, Arwa al-Ammari, whose style mixes luxury with elegance and art.

Her models drew everyone’s gaze as they walked down the catwalk in dresses, coats, skirts and tops of structured, layered fabric.

Elegant enough for an English tea party, her designs were decorated with leaves, flowers, and even big birds.

“I loved arts, so I started a fashion line inspired by art,” she told AFP of her ArAm brand, which launched in 2013.

“This collection was inspired by tropical nature — the colours and figures such as the birds and flowers (and) even iguanas,” said the British-educated designer.

She wore a sumptuous pink and purple skirt and a white structured top, her bright blue eyeliner matching her nail polish.

A colourful fish-shaped brooch with feathers completed the look.

Saudi designers steal show at Dubai fashion week (3)

Saudi Arabia’s mother-daughter duo Suzan Farhoud (L) and Leen Al-Shishakly set up their “Jeans Couture” brand just a year ago ©Nezar Balout (AFP)

Ammari said she used various fabrics including lace, the complex weaves of jacquard and super-fine tulle.

Ammari, who covers her hair with an elegant turban, designs on conservative lines, combining long skirts with full-length sleeves.

“When I create a design I keep in mind that I should be international while at the same time do something suitable for the region,” she said.

“I am conservative in my clothing… Even in private events I prefer long sleeves as I feel they are more elegant.”

Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, said she believes conservative designs are gaining traction in the West.

“I think that modest fashion is certainly something that is growing in the Western world,” she told AFP.

She described the Saudi designers’ collections as “very different in terms of style but very open”.

“The soft power around the creative industry and particularly fashion does have a very powerful message in terms of showing how cultures are changing,” she said. “(Fashion) is a fantastic way to be able to show that.”

Saudi designers steal show at Dubai fashion week (2)

Models present creations by Saudi Arabia’s Suzan Farhoud and Leen Al-Shishakly during the Arab Fashion Week on October 8, 2016 in Dubai ©Nezar Balout (AFP)

 Courtesy: Daily Mail

About the Author

Syed Ammar Alavi

- is Lahore (Pakistan) based journalist & writer with 25-year experience in print, wire and broadcast forms of journalism. His major fields of interest are politics, film,tv,sports, climate change and technology

Pin It