LONDON: Arab designers showed off their talent on the side-lines of London Fashion Week with a rich show of their new collections.
The event, dubbed “Stories from Arabia,” took place earlier this week in the palatial surroundings of the De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms in the heart of London’s Covent Garden where a packed-out audience of enthusiastic fashionistas were treated to a parade of cutting edge fashion. From the fresh, young, stylish street wear of Kuwaiti label EAU to the stunning, jewel-colored gowns by Omani label Atelier Zuhra, there was something for everyone.
Perhaps the most beautiful designs of the night were those of Kuwaiti designer Najwa Al-Fadhli. The models — with their translucent, radiant faces and wavy hair brought to mind the rich, languid society girls of The Great Gatsby — drifted down the catwalk in shimmering gowns that seemed to float in the air. Al-Fadhli chose a soft, pearlescent color palette for her latest collection.
She spoke to Arab News backstage and explained why she chose to take part in the show.
“This experience is important because it connects me to Europe,” she said.
She added that her Autumn/Winter 2019 collection, titled “Unexpected Dreams,” is a celebration of femininity and embodies her belief that all women should have the chance to live out their deepest desires.
Giving off a completely different vibe was the exuberant, stylish street wear of EAU. These looks can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion, and have an effortless appeal. The fabrics used in the collection include cotton, tulle and scuba with flashes of fuschia and pink adding youthful zest. The phrase “Don’t Judge Me,” appears in the collection, symbolizing the designer’s desire for more empathy in the world.
Another spectacular showing was that of Atelier Zuhra of Oman. Designer Rayan Al-Sulaimani spoke to Arab News about the inspiration behind the sculpted gowns in brilliant primary shades of red, purple, green, blue and yellow. All, she explained, were based on gemstones — sapphires, rubies, emeralds, amethysts and citrine.
Asked to describe the fashion scene in the Gulf, Al-Sulaimani said: “It is very competitive and we are seeing a lot of Arab designers, each with their distinct talent, showcasing their work internationally.”
The founder of the event, Jalila Elmastouki, was equally impressed by the talent on show and elaborated on her plans to expand the “Stories from Arabia” platform beyond the British capital.
“Building on our success at London Fashion Week, we want to take ‘Stories from Arabia’ to New York, Milan and Paris. We want people to see the talent of Arab designers and how they can bring something new to the fashion industry,” she said.