Rehab Abbas I [email protected]
Published — Wednesday 10 February 2010
Last Update 10 February 2010 3:00 am
NIFesa Al-Kaff, a Saudi woman fashion designer, studied psychology early in her life. She has accumulated deep knowledge of analyzing personalities and colors. Since her early childhood, she was dazzled by the fashion world. Her family assisted her while taking her first steps in the world of creativity and excellence. She has made a subtle blend between psychology and her hobby and has come out with artwork that mixes the ingenuity of the past and the modernity of the present through material, clothes and colors which are distinct and daring and pleasurable to every eye.
About her beginning, she says: I started my work in fashion designing by traveling to many European countries where I got a first hand knowledge of their taste and ideas which I later mixed with the oriental and Gulf character. My husband, a Saudi businessman, supported me in setting up a small “dress factory” in Hong Kong. We divided the work among ourselves. While I design clothing that is unique and suitable for all occasions, times, sizes and ages, he undertakes the responsibilities of management and marketing with a team of specialists. Together, we put my ideas into practice. The result of our relentless struggle was the trademark and the boutique of “Top Tato” which is aimed at making a Saudi imprint in the world.
At the beginning, I focused on the Saudi dress which represents both the originality of our ancestors and the evolution of generations. It is dominated by black for many Saudi regions and tribes. The black abaya is a symbol of integrity and rectitude. Many Saudi women fashion designers, through various designs, have placed the Saudi abaya at the top of women’s dress in the Arab Gulf.
Reviving the Saudi legacy
Nifesa was able to revive Saudi traditions with touches which are both artistic and innovative. She has been able to mix the originality of traditional Saudi costumes, that expressed the Saudi identity, and modern innovations. This has helped her to come up with designs that show the fashion trends of the contemporary age while, at the same time, preserving our Islamic traditions and Arabic culture. She was able to understand, in a very short span of time, the needs of Gulf women and she worked to satisfy these needs in a manner that would appeal to tastes.
Nifesa does not limit her models to specific colors because she fully understands that the Saudi woman always wants to look new and different. Therefore she always tries to subdue the untamed colors and mix them with multicolored attractive illustrations that are suitable for all classes and tastes. She does not depend on certain colors but use them all freely. The colors of her costumes are often deep black and deep purple which she mixes with other significant colors to create joy, glamour, serenity and elegance. These include: orange, blue and green in addition to red, grey, beige, turquoise and gold.
Modern simplicityIt was a common belief in Saudi Arabia that embroidered clothing was a symbol of grandeur, elegance, richness and distinction. With her wide traveling and involvement in the fashion world, Nifesa realized that it was not the embroidery on a piece of cloth that was evidence of its beauty. It was rather the design and the soft and simple work that gave the woman an elegant and distinct shape. For this reason, she is keen on diversifying her designs and works. She produces dresses, thobes, garments and long blouses.
Nifesa adopted the pattern of simple design and smooth color which give the Arab woman warmth and tenderness. She has made designs for all ages and sizes, including those who are heavier than they should be. This season she focused on the long dresses based in the Saudi heritage and other cultures because the Gulf abaya is suitable for all occasions. She merged color and added traditional necklaces and handworks. This makes the clothing express both Saudi values and modernity.
Copying with a Saudi vision
Her long experience in the realm of fashion makes her well aware of the needs of the Saudi woman regarding her favorite colors, designs and tastes which are different from European ones. She, however, does not hesitate to copy ideas from the West which appeal to her and add her own touches that will link them to our customs and traditions.
Accessories derived from heritage
She uses white or colored crystal accessories in dresses which give them brightness and brilliance and, at the same time, make them smooth. She also uses simple embroidery and adds surreal paintings made of satin and ribbons. She will add silver items and precious stones to the traditional women’s dress, making it more glamorous. She also uses leather with pharaonic touches to her various designs.
The designs made by Nifesa are for both veiled and unveiled women. She harmoinzes the dress and the head cover perfectly. She mostly uses dresses made of pure silk or lace. She has become a name to reckon with in the world of fashion.