Gulf designers in the spotlight at London Arabia Art and Fashion Week

The opening show at London Arabia Art and Fashion Week featured a dress made from a decommissioned UNHCR tent. (AN Photo)
Updated 05 August 2018
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Gulf designers in the spotlight at London Arabia Art and Fashion Week

  • Event offers young Arab artists and fashion designers the opportunity to connect with their UK counterparts
  • Dress made from a decommissioned UN tent served as a reminder of the growing refugees crisis

LONDON: Gulf designers had a strong presence at last week’s opening show of London Arabia Art and Fashion Week, which has become a regular on the British capital’s summer agenda.
With art exhibitions and workshops taking place in various parts of London, the event was a chance for young Arab artists and designers to connect with their British counterparts in the fashion and art industries.
“The third year running, the Arabia Art and Fashion Week in London is becoming a mainstay on London’s thriving cultural scene, and we hope it helps people from both regions to continue to cooperate, trade, exchange and understand each other,” Omar Bdour, the head of London Arabia Organization, told Arab News.
The opening fashion show at the Jumeirah Carlton on Wednesday revealed the latest collections of designers from the Gulf region, namely from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. “We made an effort to select a few designers that have shown special creative and tailoring skills that could be deemed worthy of exhibiting their product at the pop-up shop at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge, London,” said Asmaa Al-Jabri, the week’s fashion curator.
Al-Jabri and her two sisters started Velvet Abaya in Saudi Arabia 12 years ago, making a mark in the local industry for modest designs.
Lamia Alsamra, another Saudi designer, thrilled visitors with her collections luxurious royal style. The businesswoman from the Eastern Province in Saudi Arabia started her multi-brand outlet in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, adding her own designs that slowly developed into a line in 2016.
“My ‘Royal Collection’ is based mainly on tailored designs with hand embroideries and color,” she said.
The show also featured a “Dress for Our Time” made by Professor Helen Storey, tailored from a decommissioned tent from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as a reminder that the world needs to solve the growing refugees crisis.
Harvey Nichols’ general manager Simon Youden said that he was excited that it is taking part with its pop-up shop, which continues until Aug. 16. “In summer time, London increases its diversity, and hosting this pop-up is part of what we do at Harvey Nichols in pushing the boundaries of retail and welcoming Arab designers in the store.”


Gwen Stefani dons Reem Acra gown for fairytale show

Updated 17 November 2018
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Gwen Stefani dons Reem Acra gown for fairytale show

DUBAI: Hollywood singer Gwen Stefani wore an ethereal gown by Lebanese designer Reem Acra for a performance at Disneyland in Anaheim, California, last week — and she looked like a princess.
The former “The Voice US” coach arrived in Disneyland in a horse-drawn carriage, wearing a pink tulle ruffled gown, complete with a glittery bodice and a green satin bow adorning the neckline.
Acra — whose creations have been worn by numerous world-renowned personalities, including US First Lady Melania Trump — posted an image of Stefani wearing the festive gown, which is part of the design huse’s pre-fall 2018 collection.
Stefani is no stranger to Acra’s gowns — she once wore another one of the Lebanese fashion icon’s creations to the 43rd People’s Choice Award in 2017.
Stefani was in the Disney-themed park to perform a line-up of Christmas tunes, including “Feliz Navidad” and “Let It Snow,” for Disney’s upcoming special holiday show airing on Nov. 29 on US television network ABC and the Disney Channel.
Other holiday-themed performances included pop star Meghan Trainor, father-son duo Andrea and Matteo Bocelli, singer-songwriter Becky G and other celebrities.

The 49-year-old multi-Grammy-award-winning singer will also perform in two other upcoming Disney Christmas specials on Nov. 23 and Dec. 25, serenading her fans with classic covers from her own Christmas album.
Stefani, who has three sons with her ex-husband, started dating “The Voice US” coach, country singer Blake Shelton in 2015 — and now both are looking to have a baby through a surrogate, according to US media report.
“They are in the final stages of choosing the woman who will carry their baby. It’s extremely important to Gwen that she give Blake a biological child, and Blake is so excited,” a source said, according to fashion magazine Cosmopolitan.