MUA MUA makes a fun statement at Arab Fashion Week in Riyadh

A model presents on the catwalk a creation of MUA MUA Dolls by designer Ludovica Virga during the Arab Fashion Week in the United Arab Emirate of Dubai on November 17, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 15 April 2018
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MUA MUA makes a fun statement at Arab Fashion Week in Riyadh

RIYADH: “It actually began as a joke,” said Ludovica Virga, founder and designer of the Italian brand House of Mua Mua, explaining the origin of Mua Mua Dolls. Although the designer is extremely familiar with Saudi customers, this is her first visit to the country, to display her signature, playful collection at the last day of Arab Fashion Week in Riyadh on Saturday.
The dolls originated in Bali, with Virga deciding to give back to the island’s inhabitants, who were left without work as tourism was dwindling after the 2004 tsunami. Handmade by a team of local women, the crochet dolls are iconic and fun. “The idea is to highlight their main features and imperfections, which are what makes them so special.”
When Virga presented Karl Lagerfeld with a doll that resembled him in 2009, it instantly became a fashion statement. She was soon commissioned to create 700 dolls that would be sold at Lagerfeld stores.
The concept caught on and Virga created more dolls based on style icons, including Lady Gaga, Coco Chanel and Anna Wintour. The brand went on to incorporate T-shirts and accessories and is currently in the process of what Virga calls “evolving from kids to college students.” Inspired by news or popular culture, House of Mua Mua creates apparel and accessories that are renowned for being “young-at-heart, witty and playful.”
Not one to take fashion seriously, Virga’s spring/summer 2018 collection displayed at Arab Fashion Week also dished out a social message. With the slogan “less plastic is fantastic,” sequinned jackets, hoodies and bags made a statement on the runway.
“Ladies in Saudi Arabia are incredibly fashionable and receptive,” she said. “Clearly they are well-traveled and sophisticated.” And in the spirit of holidaying, the collection also features kaftans and beach hats, sequinned denim jackets over colorful playsuits, waist bags with T-shirts and large ruffle skirts, oversized sweaters and eye-catching accessories.
“The collection is also all about summer, holidaying for example, in St. Tropez or Monte Carlo. And about not taking life too seriously,” Virga concluded, as she flashed her “I don’t give a chic” T-shirt.


Karl Lagerfeld: Looking back at his rise to fame and love of Arabian fashion

The designer died at the age of 85 on Tuesday. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 19 February 2019
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Karl Lagerfeld: Looking back at his rise to fame and love of Arabian fashion

DUBAI: As tributes pour in from across the fashion world over the death of industry icon Karl Lagerfeld, we take a look at his storied rise to fame, as well as his controversial comments on Middle Eastern migrants and his love of fashion from the region.

The designer died at the age of 85 on Tuesday after he failed to make an appearance at the Chanel show at Paris Couture Week in January, prompting industry insiders to question the state of his health.

Reuters reported that Lagerfeld enjoyed the stature of a deity among mortals in the world of fashion, where he stayed on top for well over half of a century and up to his death, at an age almost nobody apart from himself knew with to-the-day precision.

The German designer was best known for his association with France’s Chanel, dating back to 1983. The brand, the legend now goes, risked becoming the preserve of monied grannies before he arrived, slashing hemlines and adding glitz to the prim tweed suits of what is now one of the world’s most valuable couture houses.

But Lagerfeld, who simultaneously churned out collections for LVMH’s Fendi and his eponymous label — an unheard of feat in fashion — was almost a brand in his own right.
Sporting dark suits, white, pony-tailed hair and tinted sunglasses in his later years that made him instantly recognizable, an irreverent wit was also part of a carefully crafted persona.

“I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that,” runs one legendary quote attributed to him, and often recycled to convey the person he liked to play. “It is like a mask. And for me the Carnival of Venice lasts all year long.”

Tributes pour in 

The world’s fashion elite took to social media to pay tribute to the hugely respected designer, with the likes of Victoria Beckham, Donatella Versace and Lilly Allen leading the pack.

Versace shared a similar message.

Singer Allen took to social media with a touching message.

Meanwhile, Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad also paid tribute.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

In great honor and admiration of the iconic fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld - Rest In Peace

A post shared by Zuhair Murad Official (@zuhairmuradofficial) on

Model Gigi Hadid shared a message on Instagram Stories.

Controversial comments

His artistic instincts, business acumen and commensurate ego combined to commercially triumphant effect in the rarefied world of high fashion, where he was revered and feared in similar proportions by competitors and top-models.

Lagerfeld was as harsh with his fashion models as he was searingly critical of anyone he considered "not trendy".

He fired his closest female friend, former Chanel model Ines de la Fressange, in 1999 after she agreed to pose as Marianne, France's national symbol, without asking him first.

Occasionally his sharp tongue has stirred controversies, though he also had a flair for a good soundbite.

In 2017, he sparked outrage by evoking the Holocaust in an attack on Chancellor Angela Merkel over her opening of Germany’s borders to migrants.

“One cannot – even if there are decades between them – kill millions of Jews so you can bring millions of their worst enemies in their place,” the 80-year-old Chanel designer told a French TV show.

“I know someone in Germany who took a young Syrian and after four days said: ‘The greatest thing Germany invented was the Holocaust’,” he added.

Middle Eastern inspiration

Despite the abrasive comments, the designer went on to release an Egypt-inspired collection in December 2018 and sent models down the runway in a rich array of Ancient Egypt-themed outfits at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gold shimmered all over the runway, as models strolled past the floodlit temple in everything from gold thigh-high boots to gold brimmed hats to glistening dresses with golden feather adornments, to shoulder-length gold earrings.

Singer Pharrel walked the runway during Karl Lagerfeld's Egypt-inspired show in December. (AFP)

It isn’t the only time he has looked to the Middle East for inspiration, however.

The designer made a much-reported-on appearance in Dubai in 2014 when Chanel staged its Cruise collection show in the city.

That collection was inspired by an Orientalist vision of hazy Arabian nights and featured harem pants, ghutra-pattern-inspired coats and diaphanous jumpsuits, along with a heavy use of mosaic-style patterns.

Karl Lagerfeld photographed at ‘The Island’ in Dubai during the Chanel fashion show on May 13, 2014. (AFP)

In 2018, he worked with Lebanese architect Aline Asmar D’Amman on the renovation of Paris’s Hôtel de Crillon and, in a win for the Middle Eastern fashion scene, he photographed Bella Hadid for Vogue Arabia’s first September issue in 2017.

In rare moments when he was not working, Lagerfeld retired to one of his many homes in Paris, Germany, Italy or Monaco, all of them lavish carbon copies of 18th-century interiors.