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
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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.


Yousra Elsadig brings her modest style to LFW

An image from the show in London. (Frederico Velez)
Updated 21 February 2019
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Yousra Elsadig brings her modest style to LFW

DUBAI: An independent showcase of emerging designers held during London Fashion Week, Fashion Scout once again lived up to its name — scouting out and presenting talented designers from across the globe from Feb. 15-17.

Arab News went along to a showing by a UK-based designer Yousra Elsadig, whose Boutique De Nana collection paid tribute to her former home country, Sudan.

“I am trying to depict the beauty of my homeland. It’s so heart-breaking to see what’s happening in Sudan. I want to dedicate this collection to my country and to put the focus on freedom, justice and peace,” she said.

Elsadig, who was named “Woman of the Year” by Barclays in 2017 and “Designer of The Year 2016 by the Modest Association of London, designs for women who want to dress modestly, but with imagination and style.

“The modest element is very important to me — women can be beautiful, feminine and modest,” she said.

Her designs have a simplicity, charm and quirkiness that comes partly from the use of recycled fabrics, as sustainability is a key message she wants to get across. 

Elsadig is unusual in combining her designer role with a full-time degree in optometry. In fact, the day before her LFW show, she sat an exam and then drove from her home in Wales to London. 

She is also the mother of two young girls, but if that’s a lot to juggle it doesn’t show. She was a bundle of warmth and energy backstage — calmly briefing the models.

Her family left Sudan when she was very young and she grew up in Canada. Her family then left Canada to live in Wales in the UK.

It was in Cardiff that she met her mentor, designer Sarah Valentin, who was teaching community sewing and textile classes with a special focus on recycling and sustainability. Valentin said she is thrilled to see Elsadig achieving such success.

“I saw her potential and creative ideas. It’s incredible that she is showing here at London Fashion Week.  I’m so proud of her,” she said.

As the models moved gracefully through the room, the clothes gave off a sense of confident, graceful and highly individual style — perfect for the modern, modest woman of today.