All Things Mochi boasts homespun Ramadan collection

All Things Mochi unveiled its Ramadan collection. (All Things Mochi)
Updated 17 May 2018

All Things Mochi boasts homespun Ramadan collection

  • The Dubai-based brand has long been a champion of ethical threads, incorporating artisanal embroidery techniques from across the globe into perennially boho-chic blouses and billowy dresses.
  • Originally from Palestine, Tabari insists upon creating designs that are both culturally authentic and befitting of the jet-set fashionistas she counts among her clientele.

LONDON: While a range of designers and retailers have rolled out special capsule collections this year, All Things Mochi may take the cake for its full embrace of the Ramadan spirit. 

The Dubai-based brand has long been a champion of ethical threads, incorporating artisanal embroidery techniques from across the globe into perennially boho-chic blouses and billowy dresses. This year’s Ramadan collection is no exception, but a local spin makes it particularly appropriate for the holy month — launched in collaboration with the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, the line features “Talli” braiding, a traditional brocading technique that has been used to adorn Emirati dresses for centuries. 

While Emirati craftswomen have passed on this ancient weaving knowledge through the generations, the Mochi Ramadan collection will fit comfortably in modern wardrobes: Billowy kaftans and ankle-skimming dresses are patterned with printed and embroidered hands. Inspired by henna, another embellishment with a long local history, the line embodies a casual, bohemian vibe. Patterned with the collection’s token henna hands, the Maliha dress — with a slight crew neck and three-quarter-length sleeves — would be equally perfect for a stroll in Los Angeles or an iftar gathering in Jeddah. If blushed and earthy ochre tones dominate the line, bold-hued bracelets, chokers and earrings are the perfect complements to an otherwise subtle and chic Ramadan collection.

The entire look book is at once modern and modest — a full embrace of Emirati femininity and history with easy, loose silhouettes.

“I am really happy with how this collection developed, it really represents everything my brand stands for (and) makes clear reference to the culture I am surrounded by day in day out,” said All Things Mochi founder Ayah Tabari. “It strongly recognizes the talent that is among us in the region and the communities which are helping to sustain their craft.”

But the line is far more than a historical homage: Each design was handwoven by one of 36 female artisans at the Bidwa Development Program Center in Sharjah in an initiative by the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, which helps connect local craftswomen with global designers eager to incorporate their unique intricate embellishments in their designs. 

With nimble, hennaed fingers, women at the Sharjah-based center transform spools of thread into Mochi’s luxe frocks.  

“The council’s Bidwa Social Development Program, in Dibba Al-Hisn in Sharjah, enables craftswomen to generate a sustainable source of income and achieve professional and social empowerment through their craft,” explains Reem bin Karam, director of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment in a released statement.

Mochi has championed the skills of local craftswomen across the globe and Tabari has previously worked with female artisans from Morocco to Uzbekistan. Originally from Palestine, Tabari insists upon creating designs that are both culturally authentic and befitting of the jet-set fashionistas she counts among her clientele. Her approach has generated a cult following — everyone from Georgia Jagger to Queen Rania of Jordan have donned the duds. Earlier this year, Tabari presented a Mexico-inspired collection at New York Fashion Week. 

But the local roots and story behind the 2018 Ramadan collection make it particularly appropriate for the season. Bridging the gap between glossy modern malls and homespun Emirati heritage, the line is a festive celebration of both the old and the new.

Architectural elegance defines this Ramadan-ready collection

Fadwa Baruni’s label is defined by its structured lines. (Photo supplied)
Updated 33 min 27 sec ago

Architectural elegance defines this Ramadan-ready collection

LONDON: A former petroleum engineer with a packed appointment book, designer Fadwa Baruni does not always have time to soak in the scenery. But recently, as she drove past the Ras Al-Khor Wildlife Sanctuary in Dubai for the umpteenth time, she was so struck by the flamingos cavorting in the lake she had to pull over.

“I was there and I just forgot about time,” Baruni recalls. “I was watching them and the way they move. It’s as if they were dancing.”

After a flutter of research, sketching and designing, Baruni’s eponymous label released this year’s Spring/Summer collection titled “Dancing on Water,” inspired by the statuesque creatures.

The line features a number of elegant kaftans ideal for those seeking a modern, detailed spin on the traditional Ramadan robe.

A kaftan with a finely pleated skirt and ruffled sleeves combines Baruni’s characteristic detail-oriented construction with a rippled sense of flow. Accentuated by a gently cinched waist, the piece provides an element of feminine structure without hindering the easy ebb and flow of natural movement.

The combination of neat, structured details with comfortable, yet refined silhouettes is the hallmark of Baruni’s label. Even when drawing inspiration from dynamic avian movements, Baruni says her designs rely heavily on clean lines. “I studied engineering, it’s still in my blood. I still have that analytical, black or white (mindset),” she told Arab News. A native of Libya, Baruni says her family insisted she pursue a more conventional career path. It was only after working as a regional manager for a petroleum company that she decided to change tack and pursue her passion for design.

Still, her training as an engineer pushes her toward clean, almost architectural lines, like those featured in this season’s full-length kaftan with pressed pleats and cuffed, three-quarter-length sleeves.

The sharp, narrow pleats are two toned. The outside hue — available in both coral and royal blue — accordions open to reveal striking white panels. Inspiration was taken from the opening of a flamingo’s wings, Baruni explained. The effect is one of eye-popping geometry, giving length and the illusion of structure to the kaftan.

Baruni’s style has evolved markedly since she launched her first collection in 2009. The line was entirely black and white, she recalled. Later, deciding to experiment with color, Brauni dove in with characteristic commitment: “I don’t have grey in my dictionary,” she said. “It has to be vibrant, it has to be strong.”

Indeed, this season’s collection draws on a strong palette of pinks and blues, with a single feathery print in an otherwise monochromatic edit.

Catering to modern women who, like Baruni, have places to be and people to see, bold color and design take precedence over fussiness. “I don’t like very busy designs,” Baruni explained. “I like to focus on one thing in the garment rather than make it look like a curtain, all busy. It gives me a headache,” she laughed.

But that doesn’t mean she avoids playfulness — feathered detailing on the sleeves of a number of kaftans give a lighthearted touch to the mature cuts.

The designs all reflect Baruni’s three key design premises: Maintaining the highest quality of tailoring while insisting on comfort and beauty. Women seeking both feminine frills and professional elegance this Ramadan season need look no further than Baruni’s latest collection.