DUBAI: From a mother and daughter duo hooked on denim to an art-inspired fashionista, female designers from Saudi Arabia stole the limelight at Arab Fashion Week 2016 in Dubai.
Models strutted the catwalk late Saturday in mini-dresses, cropped jackets, skin-tight jeans and flamboyantly embroidered transparent blouses. They were the work of Suzan Farhoud and her daughter Leen Al-Shieshakly, who set up their “Jeans Couture” brand just a year ago, hoping to share their passion for denim. Farhoud designs the clothes, while Shieshakly creates bags and manages the business. “We wanted the Saudis... not to look at denim in a casual way,” Shieshakly said, but also to “wear it for a formal event.” “We wanted to get the denim into the Saudi market as well as the Middle East,” said the US-educated 26-year-old, who wore her dark hair in a short bob.
“Since I am half Arab and half Western I wanted to mix modern and elegant,” she said.
They say their creations have been well-received in Saudi Arabia.
Their casual designs contrasted with those of another Saudi designer, Arwa Al-Ammari, whose style mixes luxury with elegance and art.
Her models drew everyone’s gaze as they walked down the catwalk in dresses, coats, skirts and tops of structured, layered fabric.
Elegant enough for an English tea party, her designs were decorated with leaves, flowers, and even big birds.
Caroline Rush, chief executive of the British Fashion Council, said she believes conservative designs are gaining traction in the West.
“I think that modest fashion is certainly something that is growing in the Western world,” she told AFP.
She described the Saudi designers’ collections as “very different in terms of style but very open.”
“The soft power around the creative industry and particularly fashion does have a very powerful message in terms of showing how cultures are changing,” she said. “(Fashion) is a fantastic way to be able to show that.”