Come one, come all as Dior brings the circus to Dubai

The Christian Dior Haute Couture collection fashion show in Paris. (AFP)
Updated 06 February 2019

Come one, come all as Dior brings the circus to Dubai

DUBAI: Just weeks after wowing the world with its circus-themed Spring/Summer 2019 couture show in Paris, Dior has announced that it is set to bring the show to the Middle East in what will be its first show in the region.

The spectacle is set to unfold on March 18 in Dubai, although an exact location has not yet been announced.

The runway show will feature looks from its couture show, staged in Paris in January, as well as a few designs exclusively for the Gulf region.

For Dior’s show in the French capital in January, Italian head designer Maria Grazia Chiuri took the well-heeled crowd to the circus with arguably her most sublimely balanced collection, AFP reported at the time.

A troupe of all-female acrobats of all body shapes led out the show inside a retro big top — complete with harlequin-pattern floor — built in the gardens of the Rodin Museum in the center of the French capital.

Chiuri is the first woman ever to lead the mythic French label, and her feminism is never far away.

All her nearly 70 models wore glittery skullcaps fastened under their chins — think aviation pioneer Amelia Earhart meets commedia dell’arte character Pierrot.

But there was nothing remotely clownish about the muted elegance of the clothes, featuring lashings of embroidery and beadwork, to summon up the spirit of the circus-set 1917 ballet “Parade.”

Chiuri’s designs mixed the romantic and the muscular, cutting her dreamy organza and tulle dresses with whip smart ringmaster and lion-tamer jackets, leather corsets and high-wire jumpsuits.

“Every look has its own personality, just like circus characters,” she told AFP, “brave, funny, happy and sad.”

“The circus is a world of its own, which passes from town to town, changing each one a little as it goes — a bit like fashion week,” the creator added.

The tattooed lady, that staple of the Victorian sideshow, also got a drum roll with a look inspired by Maud Wagner, America’s first known female tattoo artist.

The designer, who sports a few herself, floated surrealist neck tattoos in a previous show.

Critics predicted her silk bandage roll gowns and architectural tutus would also be a hit with haute couture’s super-rich clientele, the only people who can afford the handmade creations.

Previous shows have involved collaborations with women writers, musicians and choreographers.

This time she worked with the female-led British acrobat company Mimbre.

Chiuri said she was struck by how inclusive the circus world was, and how it offered “a possible equality... where beauty, origin, gender and age are no longer important. Only technique and daring matter.”

It was this that inspired the collection’s necklaces and bracelets of interlocking gold hands. An acrobat “puts their life in the hands of another, you have to really trust each other,” she said.

If her Parisian showcase was anything to go by, Dubai’s fashion elite are in for a treat on March 18.


Emirati-Palestinian Lana Hattab’s modern take on modest fashion

Lana Hattab shows off various looks around the UAE. (Supplied)
Updated 22 August 2019

Emirati-Palestinian Lana Hattab’s modern take on modest fashion

DUBAI: To many, modest wear is an expression of their religious beliefs, but to Lana Hattab, modesty defines who she really is. “It is part of me,” she said in an interview with Arab News.

The Emirati-Palestinian blogger, who is based in the UAE, hopes to provide inspiration to young women who may find it challenging to dress conservatively yet still look fashionable.

Lana Hattab said her dual culture has helped shape her style. (Supplied)

According to the 22-year-old, “it is very important for modest-wear influencers to have a strong presence on social media because such women inspire young girls to stick to their culture and religious beliefs.”

While many women struggle to see a representation of themselves on the internet, Hattab said she hopes to constantly remind women that they have the choice of being who they want to be. “Optionality is key,” she said.  

Lana Hattab was raised in the UAE. (Supplied)

“International brands such as Dolce & Gabbana, Max Mara, Gucci, Nike and Adidas have adapted to the Middle Eastern culture and are aware of the modest market, which makes it easier for women to relate more to these international brands now,” she added.

When speaking about the pressure that social media has on women, Hattab said that people are much wiser than they might appear on Instagram. “It is not always about dressing modestly, but rather about dressing confidently. A lot of women think of the hijab as a restriction, but I believe you can look very modern, very friendly and very classy while being comfortable to the extent of how much each person wants to cover up,” she added.

The 22-year-old studied accounting. (Supplied) 

The blogger, who has 44,000 followers on Instagram, said “even though my platform is mainly about fashion and beauty, I also like to share with my followers what I do on a daily basis. It reflects my daily life and portrays how a hijabi is just like everyone else.”

Hattab, who has a degree in accounting, is busy establishing a Dubai-based business with her partners that is yet to be announced. She is also collaborating with international and regional brands on upcoming projects.