Beyoncé-worn brand Bouguessa is ideal for an elegant Eid

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Bouguessa’s designs are distinguished by a sharp attention to tailoring details. (Photo supplied)
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The brand is known for its angular, minimalist cuts.
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The brand is the brainchild of French-Algerian designer Faiza Bouguessa.
Updated 09 June 2018
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Beyoncé-worn brand Bouguessa is ideal for an elegant Eid

  • The pieces in the Holy Month edit bear the brand’s hallmark minimalism
  • Bouguessa’s designs are distinguished by a sharp attention to tailoring details

BEIRUT: Flipping through a Bouguessa look book is like looking at a city skyline: The long, structured silhouettes have an elegant architecture to them, a neatness recalling the gleaming towers that hover above the cosmopolitan bustle.

This year’s Eid edit is no exception, with angular, minimalist cuts in muted colors that speak to an haute design drawing board. The A-line long trench, in a taupe linen, suggests business suite chic, while the puff sleeved button dress features long, crisp panels and metallic stripes, which resemble a skyscraper’s bold facade.

For those eager to make a statement this Eid, the silk kaftan with puffed, petal-like sleeves and subtle gold piping at the rounded collar provides an elegant and modest silhouette.

The pieces in the Holy Month edit bear the brand’s hallmark minimalism, but subtle design elements like marbled buttons and two-toned belts push the collection beyond any brutalist pastiche.

Bouguessa’s designs are distinguished by a sharp attention to tailoring details. With each stitch rigidly accounted for, the starkly elegant pieces speak volumes even without embroidery or ornaments. Best of all, the clean patterns and muted color palette provide the perfect canvas for festive accessories and jewelry.

The brand is the eponymous brainchild of French-Algerian designer Faiza Bouguessa. While the sharp hems on her maxi dresses and severe collars of her signature abayas bespeak fashion-school refinement, Bouguessa taught herself the art of design. Unable to attend expensive fashion institutes in France where she grew up, she learned to sew from her seamstress grandmother and flipped through fashion magazines with her mother from a young age.

While she studied English literature at University, Bouguessa took up internships and apprenticeships with local tailors learning how to cut patterns and select fabrics to create refined, sophisticated clothing.

After moving to the UAE as a flight attendant, Bouguessa launched the label by herself in 2014 in Dubai.

Often playing with modern variations on traditional silhouettes, Bouguessa initially drew attention for creating long robes and elegant, minimalist geometric kaftans — a trend she dubbed the “global abaya.” Taking aesthetic cues from the Islamic wardrobe staple, Bouguessa’s clean, straight lines began to generate buzz well beyond the Middle East.

After a write up in Vogue Italia and subsequently parading her designs down the catwalk at Milan Fashion Week in 2015, Beyoncé donned a geometric, belted abaya by the brand in a photoshoot posted on her website. Two years later, when the songstress donned a green velvet Bouguessa robe in an Instagram photoshoot, the snaps generated millions of likes and the garment sold out almost immediately.

With an exposure boost from Queen B and a canny ability to bridge cultural fashion trends, the brand has developed mass appeal. A regular at Paris Fashion Week, Bouguessa has built upon the “global abaya” motif and now features ready to wear items, from crisp skirts to high-waisted pants.

Bouguessa has successfully integrated the abaya and other garments local to the region — like the Algerian haik — into the global sartorial vocabulary. The pieces serve both as a link between modest and main street fashion and as a reminder of the creative potential in the region.


Fashion capital New York considers banning sale of fur

Updated 17 April 2019
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Fashion capital New York considers banning sale of fur

  • Lawmakers are pushing a measure that would ban the sale of all new fur products in the city
  • “Cruelty should not be confused with economic development,” a sponsor of the legislation said

NEW YORK: A burgeoning movement to outlaw fur is seeking to make its biggest statement yet in the fashion mecca of New York City.
Lawmakers are pushing a measure that would ban the sale of all new fur products in the city where such garments were once common and style-setters including Marilyn Monroe, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Joe Namath and Sean “Diddy” Combs have all rocked furs over the years.
A similar measure in the state Capitol in Albany would impose a statewide ban on the sale of any items made with farmed fur and ban the manufacture of products made from trapped fur.
Whether this is good or bad depends on which side of the pelt you’re on. Members of the fur industry say such bans could put 1,100 people out of a job in the city alone. Supporters dismiss that and emphasize that the wearing of fur is barbaric and inhumane.
“Cruelty should not be confused with economic development,” said state Assemblywoman Linda Rosenthal, a Democrat from Manhattan, who is sponsoring the state legislation. “Fur relies on violence to innocent animals. That should be no one’s business.”
The fate of the proposals could be decided in the coming months, though supporters acknowledge New York City’s measure has a better chance of passage than the state legislation.
The fur trade is considered so important to New York’s development that two beavers adorn the city’s official seal, a reference to early Dutch and English settlers who traded in beaver pelts.
At the height of the fur business in the last century, New York City manufactured 80% of the fur coats made in the U.S, according to FUR NYC, a group representing 130 retailers and manufacturers in the city. The group says New York City remains the largest market for fur products in the country, with real fur still frequently used as trim on coats, jackets and other items.
If passed, New York would become the third major American city with such a ban, following San Francisco, where a ban takes effect this year, and Los Angeles, where a ban passed this year will take effect in 2021.
Elsewhere, Sao Paulo, Brazil, began its ban on the import and sale of fur in 2015. Fur farming was banned in the United Kingdom nearly 20 years ago, and last year London fashion week became the first major fashion event to go entirely fur-free.
Fur industry leaders warn that if the ban passes in New York, emboldened animal rights activists will want more.
“Everyone is watching this,” said Nancy Daigneault, vice president at the International Fur Federation, an industry group based in London. “If it starts here with fur, it’s going to go to wool, to leather, to meat.”
When asked what a fur ban would mean for him, Nick Pologeorgis was blunt: “I’m out of business.”
Pologeorgis’ father, who emigrated from Greece, started the fur design and sales business in the city’s “Fur District” nearly 60 years ago.
“My employees are nervous,” he said. “If you’re 55 or 50 and all you’ve trained to do is be a fur worker, what are you going to do?“
Supporters of the ban contend those employees could find jobs that don’t involve animal fur, noting that an increasing number of fashion designers and retailers now refuse to sell animal fur and that synthetic substitutes are every bit as convincing as the real thing.
They also argue that fur retailers and manufacturers represent just a small fraction of an estimated 180,000 people who work in the city’s fashion industry and that their skills can readily be transferred.
“There is a lot of room for job growth developing ethically and environmentally friendly materials,” said City Council Speaker Corey Johnson, who introduced the city measure.
New Yorkers asked about the ban this week came down on both sides, with some questioning if a law was really needed.
“It is a matter of personal choice. I don’t think it’s something that needs to be legislated,” said 44-year-old Janet Thompson. “There are lots of people wearing leather and suede and other animal hides out there. To pick on fur seems a little one-sided.”
Joshua Katcher, a Manhattan designer and author who has taught at the Parsons School of Design, says he believes the proposed bans reflect an increased desire to know where our products come from and for them to be ethical and sustainable.
“Fur is a relic,” he said.