Inspired by Bianca Jagger, SemSem is celebrating powerful women

Abeer Al-Otaiba resonated with Bianca Jagger’s advocacy for the social and human rights of disadvantaged women and girls. (Supplied)
Updated 11 July 2019

Inspired by Bianca Jagger, SemSem is celebrating powerful women

DUBAI: Inspired by the iconic British actress and human rights activist Bianca Jagger, Egyptian designer Abeer Al-Otaiba’s fashion label SemSem has released its Resort 2020 collection which also draws inspiration from the 1970s disco scene.

Apart from looking to her most iconic style moments, Al-Otaiba also resonated with Jagger’s advocacy for the social and human rights of disadvantaged women and girls.

In a released statement, Washington-based Al-Otaiba said, “Every season, I look at ways to integrate our signature geometric detailing with graceful wearable silhouettes. This season, I wanted to make a powerful statement about the core of our brand identity and show a new direction for the future of SemSem.”

In the Resort 2020 collection, fabrics are hand-painted and lamé is tie-dyed in rich, saturated tones of blue and pink to create patterns that are SemSem’s own.


The label’s ensembles have been worn by Hollywood’s who’s who, including Blake Lively, Taylor Swift and Kourtney Kardashian and this collection promises to be a fan favorite too, with beautifully embellished bustiers alongside signature tailored pants and dramatic skirts in elegant neutrals, silvers, blacks and whites.

Pleated, bias-cut gowns and soft Egyptian cotton separates are also featured — they are perfect for day-to-night dressing.

Fluid crepe silks are mixed with custom-dyed ostrich feathers, jacquard lame pieces and cashmere to add an element of texture to the collection.


Having shown at Paris Fashion Week in 2018 and regularly written up in Vogue magazine, SemSem has brought a sense of jet-set chic to the ready-to-wear market.

But the line’s ethos isn’t only about red-carpet glamour; encouraging mothers to instill a sense of global awareness and dedication to philanthropy in their daughters lies at the heart of SemSem’s mission, according to the brand.

A philanthropist with a degree in civil engineering and stints spent living across the Middle East, Europe and the US, Al-Otaiba created SemSem in 2014 as a way to celebrate women and children across the globe. Bestowing the label with her daughter’s nickname, Al-Otaiba’s label has matured in a few years.

 “In addition to engineering, my Arab roots have always inspired our design aesthetic,” Al-Otaiba told Arab News in an earlier interview. “SemSem is a brand deeply rooted in my heritage and represents the Eastern and Western cultures where I grew up. Our designs have a global vision, born from my experiences living in different parts of the world and a strong love of my Arab culture. Informed by the cultural aesthetic of the Middle East and the Mediterranean, gentle architectural layers and glamour punctuated by delicate restraint are hallmarks of my designs.”

What We Are Buying Today: Yataghan Jewellery

Updated 20 July 2019

What We Are Buying Today: Yataghan Jewellery

In January, my family celebrated my birthday by gifting me a “Hubb Collection” necklace that I had wanted ever since I laid eyes on it, when one of my relatives wore it.

The design of the word ‘Love’ — written in Arabic Farsi font and angled in a way that makes it heart-shaped — fascinated me, and I have worn the necklace ever since I got it, partly out of sentiment, but also because I find it so beautiful and unique.

Jeddah-based Yataghan Jewellery — the maker of the “Hubb Collection” — has a variety of gold designs, stackable jewel-ornamented hexagon rings, necklaces, bracelets and rings engraved in Arabic Farsi.

The store’s Instagram account @yataghanjewellery documents its trademark pieces and shares customers’ experiences along with how they choose to stack their Yataghan pieces.

Customer favorites include their Allah necklace, and the “Hubb Collection” (rings, necklaces and bracelets in crystalized or standard gold, silver or rose gold with a single colorful or silver crystal).