‘Feminism and power’ — Rana Yousry on her latest collection

Rana Yousry at AFW, with a model for her ‘Black Rose’ collection @ryousry
Updated 21 April 2018
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‘Feminism and power’ — Rana Yousry on her latest collection

RIYADH: Debuting her fall/winter 2018 “Black Rose” collection at the first Arab Fashion Week in Riyadh, Rana Yousry, the Egyptian fashion designer behind ASORY House, told Arab News that the collection, containing 25 couture pieces, is designed for the “ASORY woman, who epitomizes feminism, boldness, strength, and power.”
Yousry founded ASORY in late 2016, with the aim of using fashion as a medium to tell the story of different women, who, when they come together, create something unique.
Yousry emphasized that ASORY is dedicated to “the art of creation — it’s not just about wearing a dress, but the story behind it.”
Strength, fragility, and imagery make the haute-couture outfits wearable “oeuvres d’art,” she explained. The design house is heavily inspired by Assyrian history and the Assyrian star — taking its sharp, edgy lines to create classical but bold designs.
“The Black Rose collection took around 2,340 hours for the fabric to be created, designed, and refined to finally envision the soul of the woman underneath it,” Yousry said. “Mermaid, tiered, asymmetric, bubble, and Maillot-inspired silhouettes have been used, because they speak to the ASORY woman.”
The collection uses a color palette of iridescent reds, yellow, and black with lamé gold and ruffles for texture. Evening dresses with frilled, textured sleeves and long cape sleeves and ruched corset with fray skirts were a highlight of the collection.
Yousry said that feedback on the collection has so far been very positive.
“I’ve been told that my first collection is very fresh, bold, and very different in terms of the cuts. It makes me very proud when people come up to me and say that I’ve inspired them to think about starting their own collection,” she told Arab News.
Which just goes to show that ASORY House has fulfilled its ambition of creating something of meaning to every woman.


SemSem’s Ramadan line has a charitable twist

US-Somali model Halima Aden has worked with SemSem in the past.
Updated 22 May 2018
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SemSem’s Ramadan line has a charitable twist

Famed French fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent once said that the city of Marrakesh taught him color. It seems that the Moroccan city has struck again, serving as the inspiration for SemSem’s bold Ramadan line this season.

With its mélange of cultural currents and cosmopolitan charge, the bustle of Marrakesh is manifest in SemSem’s red-based collection. A brassy fire-engine trench and gilded-blush maxi are among the highlights of the edit, available exclusively at luxury e-tailers The Modist and Ounass.

For those seeking bold, iftar-appropriate looks this season, SemSem’s berry-red jumpsuit or high-low hemmed jacquard top are both beautiful, souk-inspired statement pieces.  Floral prints appearing throughout the collection recall the Majorelle garden, Saint Laurent’s lush Marrakesh property. 

Separates, including tailored pants befitting the refined city-stroller, can be paired with the collection’s pleated tops or layered for dramatic effect. 

Self-consciously eschewing derivatives of slouched kaftans, the pieces all feature refined, structured cuts. True to the brand’s aesthetic, SemSem’s Ramadan collection is an unabashed ode to modern, metropolitan femininity.

 Founder Abeer Al-Otaiba, who originally hails from Egypt, says this year’s Ramadan edit was “deeply personal.

“I wanted it to be beautiful, impactful and reflective of my heritage,” Al-Otaiba said.  “I enjoy the sense of purpose Ramadan represents and I try to embrace all that it has to offer. Creating this collection is an extension of this time of introspection and celebration.”

A dedicated philanthropist with a degree in civil engineering and stints spent living across the Middle East, Europe and America, Al-Otaiba created SemSem in 2015 as a way to celebrate women and children across the globe. Bestowing the label with her daughter’s nickname, Al-Otaiba’s vision has allowed SemSem to mature in a few short years, emerging at the forefront of the luxury, ready-to-wear market.

With lines for both women and girls, the brand has become a favorite of multi-tasking mothers seeking balance and an elegant wardrobe with a charitable sense of purpose. Every season, Al-Otaiba teams up with a non-profit promoting the well-being of women and children. 

This year, 10 percent of the sales from the brand’s Ramadan collection sold at Ounass will go to causes supported by the Dubai Cares charity.

Previously, Al-Otaiba sought to raise awareness about maternal mortality rates and youth illiteracy, supporting organizations working across Africa to empower women and children. 

Insisting on the confluence of doing good and dressing well, SemSem has become a celebrity favorite, worn by conscientious Hollywood moms like Blake Lively and Kourtney Kardashian. 

Showing at Paris Fashion Week and regularly written up in Vogue, SemSem has brought a jet-set chic to mother-daughter wear. 

But the line’s ethos isn’t about red-carpet glitter. Encouraging mothers to instill a sense of global awareness and dedication to philanthropy in their daughters lies at the heart of SemSem’s mission. It’s a perfect conversation — and the perfect conversation-provoking ensembles— to have this Ramadan season.