Architectural elegance defines this Ramadan-ready collection

Fadwa Baruni’s label is defined by its structured lines. (Photo supplied)
Updated 27 May 2018
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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.


From genetics to fashion design, glamor is in Fidda Al-Marzouqi’s genes

A gown designed by Cabochon’s Fidda Al-Marzouqi.(Supplied)
Updated 18 October 2018
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From genetics to fashion design, glamor is in Fidda Al-Marzouqi’s genes

  • Fidda Al-Marzouqi talks about her label Cabochon
  • The label is known for its elegant evening gowns and fitted looks

DUBAI: She may have studied genetics and public health, but Fidda Al-Marzouqi has found success in a decidedly more creative field in her home town of Abu Dhabi.

The designer and founder of fashion atelier Cabochon spoke to Arab News about her personal style and the challenges she faced while making the transition to the studio.

“I’ve always loved anything to do with design and I’ve also always loved fashion, dressing myself up,” she said, explaining why she chose to test the waters of sartorial design while maintaining her day job as a senior health officer.

“A lot of people would always ask for my advice on how to style a certain look and my friends encouraged that, because I have natural flair — it’s not something I studied — I should pursue it.”

So, Al-Marzouqi hired a team of master cutters, tailors and hand embroiders and set up the brand Cabochon in 2016.

Named after a gemstone that has been shaped and polished as opposed to faceted, the label is known for its elegant evening gowns and fitted looks.

“It’s all about femininity. I love history, I love all aspects of design, traveling inspires me,” Al-Marzouqi said of her creative process.

However, inspiration and a knack for design will only take you so far in a notoriously competitive industry.

“If you have natural flair at designing or creating a look, there’s the other technical stuff that you’re not aware of like running a team of staff, the facts and figures — that was the challenging part,” the designer said, referring to the obstacles she has faced on her journey so far.

But she learnt the ropes and now oversees all aspects of research, design and production and is particularly keen to ensure the women she dresses have the “full Cabochon experience,” including “the attention, the care (and) the fit.

“I create and I design, but obviously every woman has a certain style so you respect the personality that comes in — her style, the shape of her body, her attitude, what she likes and, accordingly, you get inspired as a designer.”