Hadid sisters walk the plank for Chanel

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Models present creations during the Chanel Croisiere (Cruise) fashion show. AFP
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Gigi (left) and Bella Hadid walked the runway in Chanel's Cruise collection show. AFP
Updated 06 May 2018
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Hadid sisters walk the plank for Chanel

PARIS: Kristen Stewart, Ralph Fiennes and Margot Robbie all craned their necks up in awe as models Gigi and Bella Hadid walked the runway in Chanel’s spectacular Cruise collection show over the weekend.
A creaking, 330-foot cruise liner — with steaming funnels and gangplanks — was something Chanel’s celebrity guests never imagined they’d see moored on the dry land of the French capital, let alone inside the city’s Grand Palais.
It was the decor for Chanel’s annual Cruise collection Thursday night in Paris in which designer Karl Lagerfeld created a spectacle worthy of a James Cameron movie set.
The show saw the larger-than-life 84-year-old continue to defy expectations in fashion show spending — after earlier shows produced a recreated Eiffel Tower, a space rocket, a supermarket and a forest.
“The bar has been set very high ... The set design in itself blew me away,” said Robbie.
“It’s amazing, but it doesn’t surprise me. This is Karl’s genius and imagination,” said model Lily-Rose Depp. “Everything is just so realistic — down to the light that looks like water, and the smoke and the stars.”
The ship took two months to create with an exterior in plywood and a hull made of myriad steel. The gargantuan vessel — named “La Pausa” after house founder Coco Chanel’s Southern French villa — was brought to life by lighting mimicking lapping ocean waves and the sound of cawing sea gulls.
The sea theme infused the clothes and was an apt choice for the mid-season show.
Cruise or “resort” shows — shown by only a handful of the world’s fashion houses — were originally conceived to target wealthy women who traveled on cruise ships in the winter. Nowadays, they’re used as a lucrative means of re-stimulating fashions in the mid-season lull.
Chanel’s show was all about the nautical stripe.
Chic baggy pants opened the show, sporting optical black and white lines.
The motif was based on the razzle dazzle designs painted on US and British warships from World War I to camouflage them from German U-Boats. The stripes appeared down layered sleeves on two-piece skirts and in technicolor across white sporty dresses.
Styles from the Sixties also were a key element in the relaxed 87-piece collection. White berets met sexy exposed midriffs, miniskirts and loose white sweaters that were cut with a retro bateau collar. Mary Janes — one-strap shoes — were also given a cool reworking in silver and white, and some had rubber soles.
During the show, Gigi took to the catwalk in a silver bouclé skirt suit with matching bag and chic beret. Bella, meanwhile, boasted a pair of wide-legged pants and cropped jacket in navy tweed — a Chanel staple.
For her part, Robbie — whose star is rising since her recent Academy Award nomination for “I, Tonya” and who has recently been named a Chanel brand ambassador — used this trip to Paris to learn more about the Parisian couture house.
“First, I went to the archives and really got to understand the brand on a whole new level and understand really learn about Coco Chanel’s story, and how it influenced her designs,” she said.
After the show, VIP guests filed through the gangplanks into the ship’s hull for the after-party and baptized the ship in Champagne until the wee hours Friday.


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.