Alexander McQueen shines a light on Nora Attal

Nora Attal walked the runway for Alexander McQueen last year. (Getty Images)
Updated 26 January 2019

Alexander McQueen shines a light on Nora Attal

DUBAI: British-Moroccan model Nora Attal is one of seven rising stars to be chosen for Alexander McQueen’s latest campaign.
The spring/summer 2019 campaign was shot by British fashion and documentary photographer Jamie Hawkesworth, who has worked with the likes of J.W. Anderson, Loewe, Marni, Miu Miu and Tiffany & Co. in the past.

The black-and-white campaign features US model Binx Walton, China’s Chunjie Liu, Scottish model Jean Campbell, Jill Kortleve, British model Kesewa Aboah, Dutch beauty Lara Stone and Attal herself.
Designed by the label’s creative director Sarah Burton, the collection has a decidedly Western feel to it, with leather and lace, nipped waists, heavy belts and lace-up boots paired with intricate silver jewelry.

The campaign photographs feature the Neolithic monument of Avebury, in southwest England. One of the best-known prehistoric sites in Britain, it contains the largest megalithic stone circle ever discovered and is thought to predate Stonehenge.
Attal shared the photos on her Instagram account over the weekend, just days after she shared snaps of her turn on the catwalk for the likes of Christian Dior and Chanel at Paris Couture Week, which wrapped up on Jan. 24.
The year has gotten off to a busy start for Attal, who was similarly in demand in 2018, when she took to the catwalk for Elie Saab, Loewe and Dior during Paris Fashion Week in September and starred in Italian fashion label Versace’s summer advert campaign.
In May, luxury e-retailer Farfetch launched in the Middle East with a little help from the young model.
She starred in a photoshoot wearing pieces from collections on sale on the platform. The colorful photographs were accompanied by a snappy, chatty interview with the young model.
Readers got the chance to gain insight into her earliest fashion memories and learn some off-the-cuff facts about the star.
“Recently I’ve been obsessed with noughties trends. Everyone was so cool and effortless back then. Now I go out in a full Juicy Couture tracksuit with no shame,” she told Farfetch at the time.
“If I wasn’t a model, I’d probably be at university, studying to get into something like criminal investigations, profiling or law,” she added.


The MENA fashion designers dressing up social causes

Updated 24 August 2019

The MENA fashion designers dressing up social causes

  • How designers in the MENA region are making a different kind of fashion statement

CAIRO: Fashion is about far more than just trendy outfits. The growing demand for ethical clothing is one example of how designers are seeking to leave a legacy beyond the runway.

The ethical fashion movement is spreading to the Middle East and North Africa. Recent initiatives include Talahum by UAE-based designer Aiisha Ramadan, who created coats that transform into sleeping bags for disadvantaged and refugee communities living without proper shelter.

In 2016, Cairo hosted ICanSurvive, an event to commemorate World Cancer Day. As part of the project, 32 cancer survivors were paired with fashion designers to help them create the outfit of
a lifetime.

“I consider this to be one of my biggest achievements,” said Egyptian couturier Ahmed Nabil, 28, one of the volunteers at ICanSurvive. “I still can’t let go of the moment I saw her crying from happiness when she got to wear her outfit at the event.”

Though a transformational experience for Nabil, this was not his first attempt at thought-provoking designs. He was only 23 when he launched his company, Nob Designs, in 2014 to begin a journey of exploration by designing clothes for unconventional causes and experimental concepts.

The company sells a diverse set of fashion pieces with designs that aim to inspire conversation. Nabil’s creations are much like art pieces at a gallery, but instead of being displayed on canvas, they are exhibited on t-shirts, tops, dresses and abayas.

His latest collection combines street fashion inspired by underground culture with Arabic calligraphy. The Halal Project endeavors to blur the lines between conservative and edgy to demonstrate that fashion designs can be accessible to anyone.

“It’s all about the idea of accepting one another regardless of differences,” Nabil said. “My main aim for this project is a call for all people to peacefully coexist.”

Nabil added that the shift towards tolerance is not something that just the general public needs to work on. Fashion designers themselves are sometimes biased in their perceptions.

Many millennial designers, particularly in Egypt, remain wary of exploring modest fashion, despite the trend’s rising popularity. Sometimes it is because they want to avoid defining themselves as conservative instead of being considered modern and trendy.

Fellow Egyptian designer Sara Elemary, who has been running her Sara Elemary Designs label for nearly a decade, agrees.

“Modesty is a big thing in Egypt. I can’t understand why they are neglecting it,” she said. “A woman doesn’t have to be in a headscarf to wear modest clothing. There are so many famous designers for whom modesty plays a big role in
their work.”

Meanwhile, events such as Dubai Modest Fashion Week have been promoting the concept and encouraging budding designers in the region to consider this trending domain.

“I believe that there’s a problem with modest fashion, but over the past two years, that issue has started to diminish as designers have incorporated more modest designs in their collections,” Nabil said.

The next step for him is getting into the couture domain with his long-awaited project, Nob Couture. The look of the new collection is still a mystery, but he seems determined to continue sending messages and starting discussions through his designs, which he said are inspired by his life experiences.

As for designers in the region, the time is ripe for them to start supporting the causes they believe in through their work. Whatever topic or fashion style they decide to pursue, they need to be fearless in triggering conversation in the Arab world with their creations.