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.


Amal Clooney attends American University of Beirut bash in London

Despite being one of the most celebrated couples in Hollywood after their 2014 marriage and the birth of twins a year ago, Amal and George Clooney rarely speak of their private life. (AFP)
Updated 18 June 2018
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Amal Clooney attends American University of Beirut bash in London

DUBAI: Human rights lawyer Amal Clooney gave a speech at an American University of Beirut alumni event alongside her father in London over the weekend.

George Clooney’s wife attended the WAAAUB UK Chapter’s bash on Saturday night in Knightsbridge’s glitzy Jumeirah Carlton Hotel, wearing a crushed velvet gown in a shade of burgundy.

Amal, 40, also attended the launch of Italian designer Giambattista Valli’s new store on London’s swanky Sloane Street on the weekend.

It seems burgundy is the color of the moment as she donned a one-shoulder jumpsuit in the shade for the event. The ruffled neckline added flair to the outfit, which she paired with loose, wavy hair and a clutch bag.

The lawyer and activist, who shot to celebrity stardom when she married Clooney in 2014, is no stranger to the spotlight and earlier this year was photographed by the legendary Annie Leibovitz for the cover of Vogue’s May 2018 issue.

“One of the many conversations we’ve been having at Vogue lately is about who exactly should be gracing our covers given the radically changed world we now live in. We’ve always taken the position that the women we feature should have substance to them, something that has only taken on greater urgency in the last year or so,” US Vogue’s Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour wrote in her editor’s letter for the edition.

“That’s why I’m delighted that Amal Clooney, a force to be reckoned with in the realms of international law and human rights, agreed to appear on our May cover.”

Earlier this month, she paid unprecedented public tribute to her movie star husband, calling him a gentleman, an amazing husband and father and the love of her life, Reuters reported.

The lawyer was addressing a star-studded lifetime achievement award ceremony in Hollywood for “Ocean’s Eleven” star Clooney.

But she said it was easier for her “to address a court on behalf of detainees than to speak publicly, as I am doing for the first time tonight, about my husband.

“I met George when I was 35 and starting to become quite resigned to the idea that I would be a spinster. Then we met,” Amal Clooney told the audience, packed with friends and A-list stars like Cate Blanchett, Jennifer Aniston, model Cindy Crawford and Diane Keaton.

“Five years later, he is the person who has my complete admiration and also the person whose smile makes me melt every time,” she added.

Despite being one of the most celebrated couples in Hollywood after their 2014 marriage and the birth of twins a year ago, Amal and George Clooney rarely speak of their private life.