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

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.”

Leena Al-Ghouti wraps up as LFW winds down

Gigi Hadid walking the Burberry show at LFW 2019.(AFP)
Updated 18 February 2019

Leena Al-Ghouti wraps up as LFW winds down

DUBAI: As Gigi Hadid walked the runway, Dubai-based influencer Leena Al-Ghouti showed up at the Burberry show at London Fashion Week in a chic ensemble.

The fashion influencer donned a black hijab, cat-eye shades and an uber-cool camel colored coat, with an oversized Burberry shawl, as she posed outside the show.

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Burberry earned its place — again — as one of the top shows in London Fashion Week on Sunday, according to Reuters, with a widely ranging catwalk show that honored the British brand’s long tradition but showed it is still ready to mix it up and set trends.

Chief Creative Officer Riccardo Tisci showed in his second collection that he is perfectly comfortable stretching the Burberry look to keep its younger fans happy while easily switching gears to create classic, severely tailored ensembles that ooze chic.

The two sides of the Burberry coin were reflected in the two adjacent rooms where the collection was shown: one a sedate auditorium with comfortable, padded seats; the other a raucous wide-open space ringed by a climbing gym of the type young kids would use.

“I have been thinking a lot about England as a country of contrasts, from the structured to the rebellious and free, and I wanted to celebrate how these elements coexist,” Tisci said.

He said he had four characters in mind when putting the collection together: a girl and a boy, and a lady and a gentleman.

The transition was obvious as models went from street-style clothes — oversize puffer jackets, metallic ornamentation, revealing slip dresses, silver boots, faux fur, big red plastic sneakers — to subtle, timeless outfits in muted fall colors.

There were occasional references to the brand’s earlier incarnation as a purveyor of fine, traditional menswear as a few models were dressed in classic suits and ties, including one double-breasted throwback, Reuters reported.

Tisci made ample and imaginative use of the traditional Burberry trench and check, and paired a number of sexy evening dresses with full-length coats for a look at once provocative and classy.

There were a few eccentric touches, including an outfit set off by a giant scarf that paid homage to “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” by English poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

For her part. Hadid took to the runway in a sporty, monochromatic ensemble featuring a miniskirt and black corset with dramatic puffed sleeves over a white polo shirt.

Tisci seems to be enjoying his time at Burberry, treasuring tradition but refusing to be overwhelmed by it.