SemSem’s Ramadan line has a charitable twist

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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.


Georges Hobeika steals the show at Paris Couture Week

Updated 22 January 2019
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Georges Hobeika steals the show at Paris Couture Week

DUBAI: Lebanese fashion house Georges Hobeika sent models down the runway in a dreamy collection of gowns on Monday as part of Paris Couture Week.

The elite fashion week, which kicked off on Jan. 21, features four designers from the Arab world — Maison Rabih Kayrouz, Georges Hobeika, Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad — who are showing off their latest couture collections alongside the fashion industry’s most sought-after labels. 

The Lebanese labels are joined on the fashion week schedule by the likes of Christian Dior, Jean Paul Gaultier and Ralph & Russo in the four-day showcase that will wrap up on Jan. 24.

Hobeika’s spring/summer haute couture collection went on show at Paris’s National Theater of Chaillot and saw models, including French star Cindy Bruna and Angolan Maria Borge, strut down the catwalk in a line-up of regal evening wear.

Pastel shades, sequins and feathers were interspersed with dramatic dark gowns, with A-line skirts and bare shoulders on show.

Highlights included a lilac, 1950s-style dress with a tea-length skirt and boxy jacket with a square neckline. The look was completed with fingerless gloves, which looked more chic than punk due to the fine embellishment on show.

A galactic gown dazzled onlookers with its rainbow-toned palette and glinting sequin work that created the overall effect of a multi-hued milky way drifting down the runway.

The couturier employed a range of rich fabrics in the collection, such as silk, duchesse satin and chiffon and even presented a bridal gown that was encrusted in crystal work with a semi-sheer bodice and wide, train-heavy skirt.

Lebanese designers Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad will round out the Arab offerings at Paris Couture Week with their shows, both of which will be held on Wednesday.