Jean-Paul Gaultier stuns at Arab Fashion week

Many of Jean-Paul Gaultier’s following collections, which were displayed on the Riyadh runway on April 12, were based on street wear focusing on popular culture. (AFP)
Updated 13 April 2018

Jean-Paul Gaultier stuns at Arab Fashion week

RIYADH: The French haute couture and prêt-à-porter fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier headlined Saudi Arabia’s first-ever Arab Fashion Week on Thursday night, joining other designers from Europe and the Arab world in the five-day event.

Many of Gaultier’s gorgeous designs were based on street wear, focusing on popular culture, while others, particularly his haute couture collections, were formal yet unusual and playful at the same time.

The French designer did not disappoint, with his creations — varying from the eccentric to formal — stunning the audience despite modesty restrictions on models who strutted across the runway. The models wore leggings that were made of the same color of Gaultier’s designs, which many applauded as unique.

Gaultier’s versatility clearly showed: One model to showcase his work wore a formal black and white suit while another wore a sheer white hijab while adorning a fringed white shirt and black trousers, with the head covering a seeming homage to Arabic culture.

TheFace: Dr. Lama S. Taher, the successful fashion designer whose one dream was not enough

Dr. Lama S. Taher (AN photo by Ziyad Alarfaj)
Updated 20 April 2018

TheFace: Dr. Lama S. Taher, the successful fashion designer whose one dream was not enough

  • Lacking in financial assistance but armed with grit, perseverance and passion, a young Saudi woman fashion designer launches her own brand while pursuing further studies, and succeed in both

I was born and raised in Riyadh and moved to London in 2004 to pursue a Bachelor of Science degree, followed by a Master’s degree in Mental Health.

Eight years ago, when I started on my Ph.D. in Psychology, I felt compelled to go into fashion design. Armed with grit, perseverance and passion, I took the plunge and launched my own brand, LUM, in May 2010.

I had no financial assistance and no fancy business plans — but I believed in it. No one else did, except my older sister who stood by me.

In spite of its humble beginning, the brand was well-received in the Kingdom and the Gulf region. But my father, a physician, was not convinced. I placed a bet with him, vowing to make substantial sales and revenue within one month. On July 1, 2013, I won that bet, making him my number one supporter.  In 2016, I achieved my academic dream, obtaining a Ph.D. in psychology at City University London.  

But it was not easy. Enduring sleepless nights and homesickness, I persevered to meet high academic demands. Meanwhile, the LUM business continued to flourish.

People asked why a successful fashion designer would pursue a doctorate in psychology. I was constantly asked to pick one — but my heart was in one and my mind was in another. 

Few believed I could achieve both. At times, I too doubted myself.

Today, I am an assistant professor at Dar Al Hekma University in Jeddah, supervising award-winning researchers. I am also a Saudi designer and manager of a successful fashion brand sold in the GCC, New York and Los Angeles.  I share my story to empower women to pursue their dreams, to believe in themselves, to fight for what they want.

People still ask: “Why both?” 

I reply, smiling: “Because one dream was not enough.”