Saudi princess’ trunk show lights up restaurant with inspiring fashion

Princess Noura bint Faisal Al-Saud, founder of Global Fashion House, said the event was more successful than she expected. (AN photo by Basheer Saleh)
Updated 07 November 2018

Saudi princess’ trunk show lights up restaurant with inspiring fashion

  • Emerging Saudi designers have the potential to be recognized worldwide, say experts
  • I want aspiring or emerging designers to come out and show what they really are, says Princess Noura

RIYADH: Nozomi, a high-end Japanese restaurant in Riyadh, was turned into a mini runway, complete with models, emerging and well-known local and international fashion designers, when the founder of the Saudi fashion community, Princess Noura bint Faisal Al-Saud, held a private trunk show on Monday. 

The participating designers showcased their latest fashion at Nozomi in a private and exclusive show. The princess, who is also the founder of Global Fashion House, and whose vision is to enable Saudi designers to emerge, aims to support them and on Monday had their work displayed.

With background music playing loud and sushi and fancy drinks being served, the five emerging local designers opened the show. Shams hit the runway first with her designs. The one that stood out was a floor-length black chiffon dress that was short at the front and hit the floor with a meter-long train in the back, buckled securely by a red chiffon belt with a large flower at the back.

Khawla Al-Harbi was second, with eclectic designs, and each one different. Her first design was white pants also supporting a top with a train and massive earrings and hold boots. Her designs were dominantly white, the last a long dress adorned in large silver fish scales. 

Mashael Al-Nassar’s designs were a unique blend of see-through fabrics, which was very modern and elegant. Ashwag Al-Mutairi’s collection featured white high-waisted pants and a sequined black top.

Saja Yousef stood out with her all-white attire collection. The first was an ankle-length white dress and jacket which was the same color and length of the dress. But she has designed not only clothes but also bags, which the models showcased during the event. The invitees were impressed by the emerging Saudi designers. One exclaimed that they had the potential to be recognized worldwide, with a little more work and experience. 

Even at an all-female event, the guests were immaculately dressed, wearing exquisite abayas of different colors and designs. It was a fashion trunk show, after all. But most notable was an abaya by designer Nouf G, who was draped in a red Shomakh (red Saudi head cloth) abaya, with the other half of a light grey tribal design. “Each one of my abayas has a story. A unique story. I make one of each design only,” Nouf G said.

After the top Saudi emerging designers finished, the Saudi favorites took over, with names such as Lum by Lama Taher, RE:UNITE, Hindamme and Mashael Al-Rajhi. Each of the designers had a unique and signature look. 

The Lum ball gowns were the essence of sophistication and femininity. RE: UNITE by Noora Al-Harthi was trendy and stylish. Hindamme by Mohammed Khoja featured the famous bomber jackets and cool attire galore. Al-Rajhi was a unique blend of tribal, color and artistic designs.  The night concluded with fashion international stars Lama Askari and Tony Miranda. 

Askari spoke to Arab News about the inspiration behind her beautiful pastel gowns: “The inspiration behind the collection was the butterfly effect, the transformation from the caterpillar to the butterfly. Most of the colors I used had two to three combinations, even in the embroideries. Because butterflies inspired me, I tried to stick to the color scheme I found in real butterflies.”

Princess Noura ended the night energetically as she said: “The attendance was more than we expected. We were getting last-minute calls to attend (the show was private and by invitation only). Everyone was so positive, in a good mood and very proud to show their work.

“I am proud of these Saudi designers. Everyone was so stunned by their work. It was exciting and hectic.” After the show, many of the attendees asked to meet the emerging local designers to buy their designs.

Asked which of the emerging designers was her favorite, the princess said: “Each one of them has their own style. Whatever is inside them came out today, I saw it.

“The event was better than I expected. I want aspiring or emerging designers to come out and show what they really are.”

Understanding Shoura: how the Saudi consultative ‘parliament’ works

Updated 56 min 12 sec ago

Understanding Shoura: how the Saudi consultative ‘parliament’ works

  • The Shoura Council that the King is addressing today has a vital role to play in government
  • Female Shoura Council members have played a major role in raising their voices over many issues concerning social development in Saudi Arabia

JEDDAH: When King Salman gives his annual speech that will open the third year of the Shoura Council’s seventh session today, it will set the tone for what lies ahead for the Kingdom, laying the groundwork for the consultative assembly to help to move the country forward.
“The King’s speech in the Shoura Council lays the road map to achieving Vision 2030,” said Lina Almaeena, one of its 30 female members. Women make up of 20 percent of the council, the same percentage of women who now hold seats in the US Congress.
While only midway through its seventh session, the roots of the Shoura Council date back to before Saudi Arabia’s founding. After entering the city of Makkah in 1924, King Abdul Aziz Al-Saud entrusted the council with drafting the basic laws for the administration of what was to become the future unified Kingdom.
In 1928, amendments were made as public interest grew. A new law consisting of 24 articles, which included the permanent appointment of a vice-president by the King, was issued to facilitate the council’s work.
In 1953, the council’s jurisdictions were distributed between the Council of Ministers and other government entities, reducing the Shoura Council’s power, although it continued to hold sessions until its mandate was once again broadened this century.
Its current format consists of a Speaker and 150 council members, among them scholars, educators, specialists and prominent members of society with expertise in their respective fields, chosen by the King and serving a four-year term.
The council convenes its sessions in the capital of Riyadh, as well as in other locations in the Kingdom as the King deems appropriate. Known as Majlis Al-Shoura inside the Kingdom, its basic function is to draft and issue laws approved by the King, as the cabinet cannot pass or enforce laws, a power reserved for the King to this day.
The Shoura can be defined as an exchange of opinions, and so another of its functions is to express views on matters of public interest and investigate these issues with people of authority and expertise, hence the 14 specialized committees that cover several aspects of social and governmental entities. From education, to foreign affairs, members assigned to committees review proposed draft laws prior to submitting them to the King, as they are able to exercise power within its jurisdiction and seek expertise from non-Majlis members. All requested documents and data in possession of government ministries and agencies must go through a request process from the Speaker to facilitate the Shoura Council committees’ work.
Female members are a fairly recent phenomenon. In September 2011, the late King Abdullah stated that women would become members of the council. In 2013, two royal decrees reconstituted the council, mandating that women should always hold at least a fifth of its 150 seats and appointed the first group of 30 female Shoura members.
Five years on, female Shoura Council members have played a major role in raising their voices over many issues concerning social development in Saudi Arabia. “It’s a golden age for Saudis and, as women, we’ve come a long way,” said Almaeena. “We’re living an era of historical change, and we’re making up for lost time.”
As part of their roles, members of the council have the right to discuss general plans for economic and social development, particularly now with the Vision 2030 blueprint. Annual reports forwarded by ministries and governmental institutes, international treaties and concessions are also within the council members’ remit, to discuss and make suggestions that are deemed appropriate.
“Many positive changes have taken place in the past few years, and the Shoura Council’s role has always put social developments first and foremost,” said Dr. Sami Zaidan, a council member of two terms. “The appointment of women diversified and expanded the discussions and has added value.”
Major achievements were chalked up in this term’s second year. Many of the draft proposals discussed received approval votes. On Nov. 8, a proposal with 39 articles to protect informants from attacks, threats and material harm was approved by the majority of the council. The draft law, suggested by the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Economy and Planning, would provide whistle-blowers with protection.
In May, the Shoura Council also approved legislation criminalizing sexual harassment in the Kingdom. The Cabinet, chaired by King Salman, backed the legislation, which required a royal decree to become law. Under it, perpetrators may face a jail sentence of up to five years and a SR 300,000 fine.
Draft regulations must go through a two-step process. The first, a chairman of a committee reads a draft of a proposal on the floor, and council members vote on referring the proposal to the designated committee. If members agree to the referral, each article is discussed thoroughly, studies are conducted on the aspects of the proposal, and after completing all the necessary checks, it reaches the second stage. The council then discusses the committee’s recommendations and a vote is set for each article proposed in an earlier session by the committee’s chairman.
Other proposals on the discussion table for this session include one that recognizes the importance of voluntary work in the community, in compliance with Vision 2030, which talks about one million volunteers in the Kingdom by 2030. The council has also asked the General Sports Authority to speed up the development of sports cities and to diversify its functions in different parts of the Kingdom to help the organizational level of women’s sports become an independent agency affiliated to the GSA chairman.
The council has also discussed a recommendation for women to hold leadership positions in Saudi Arabia’s diplomatic missions abroad, from a report by the council’s Foreign Affairs Committee. With approximately 130 women working at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the report recommended the necessity of an appointment as an affirmation that Saudi women are able to take over leadership positions as ministers, ambassadors and Saudi representatives in international forums.
Almaeena pointed out that Shoura Council members are the ears of society, playing an important role in relaying the public’s message to the designated committees. “The Shoura Council’s doors are always open, although not many know this,” she said. “The public is always welcome and can attend sessions, scheduling ahead of time. The doors to the council have always been and will always be open to all.”