RIYADH: Arab News takes an exclusive look at the catwalk action from the fourth day of Arab Fashion Week. What stands out is ready couture from designers who are aware of where fashion trends are heading and have a deep understanding of Saudi female consumers.
. SWAF from Saudi Arabia: Alia Al-Sawwaf’s “The Royal” collection is a tribute to the luxury and extravagance of Riyadh. “The collection is inspired by the dazzling city of Riyadh and its fashion-forward trends," she says. Majestic whites, golds, and blues, luxurious organza and chiffon, and ruffled textures are used to create garments that cater to Saudi preferences but also have an international appeal. Ruffles and ruched fabrics feature heavily — running down the backs or sides of red- or yellow-colored evening gowns — reminiscent of Belle from the Disney classic, “Beauty and the Beast.” The romantic pieces catch our attention: dovetailed dresses, ranging from a color palette of tiffany blues to beiges, are finished off with a dusting of glitter.
Beatrice Schoenbrunn, a spectator, said she “greatly enjoyed the SWAF collection as there is a range of colors and designs, from feminine and delicate pieces to the more dramatic ones with long, beautiful tails.” Pleased to have watched a show by a home-grown label, Schoenbrunn said, “It goes to show that Saudi designers now have opportunities to showcase their talents in their home country.”
. Mashael Alrajhi from Saudi Arabia: Mashael Alrajhi’s flair for combining couturewith sportswear appeals to the style sensibilities of many young Arab women, perhaps making it the most anticipated show of the evening. Mashael Alrajhi was launched in 2013 as a contemporary luxury brand and has gone on to become synonymous with experimental street style. In 2016, Alrajhi was selected as the first Saudi designer to represent the Kingdom at the International Fashion Showcase during London Fashion Week and was also the first Saudi nominated for the 2016-2017 Woolmark Prize. More recently, her collaboration with the Nike Pro hijab
(debuted at Fashion Forward Dubai) made regional headlines. Taking center stage atthis evening’s collection is the pop of color — bright red buttons down the sides of pinstriped trousers, or blue ruched trimmings at the back. Androgynous silhouettes, feminine pleats, crystal ruching, quilted fabric, stark stars and crescents, and customized Nikes made for some powerful statements.
. Basil Soda from Lebanon: Established in 2000, Basil Soda fashion house is a prominent player in the Middle Eastern and international fashion industry, known for intricate detailing, perfect cuts, and fit. It’s no secret that architecture is a constant source of inspiration for the atelier. “Hopelessly romantic, yet mysteriously dark,” says his website. Having dressed the likes of Katy Perry, Emily Blunt, and Marion Cotillard, Basil Soda now brings his European aesthetic to Saudi Arabia in his “Return to the Runway.” The collection featured luxurious evening dresses, peplum dresses, and pant suits beautified with intricate sequins, thread, gold, and crystal
beading. Cinched at the waist with detailed belts, long peplum tails over straight-fit patterned dresses, beaded pant suits, sheer cape sleeves, and billowing silk and chiffon ensembles are sure to make any woman feel like a red-carpet celebrity.
. Yulia Yanina from Russia: Established in 1993, Yulia Yanina is inspired by a line of Russian poetry — “All moves by love’s glow” — and is known for its luxurious evening and wedding dresses. Yanina Couture displayed the haute couture, spring-summer 2018 collection as a guest of honor at AFW. The stunning collection featured cocktail dresses, evening dresses, and jumpsuits. Nude net and tulle fabrics served as a canvas for dramatic black applique work, complete with elaborate black beading and feathers. Velvet jumpsuits with beaded capes casually thrown over the shoulder, sashaying shoulder fringes, and headpieces made of black feather and velvet were reminiscent of “The Great Gatsby.” Other motifs featured heavily in her designs include daffodils, grape vines, and palm trees.