Arab World Luxury 2019 focuses on diversity in retail

The fashion industry is alive with buzzwords such as ‘diversity’ and ‘inclusion’ and those pushing them want conversations to lead to meaningful change. (Courtesy Arab World Luxury 2019)
Updated 13 June 2019

Arab World Luxury 2019 focuses on diversity in retail

DUBAI: If there is one industry that loves its buzzwords, it is fashion, and right now “diversity” and “inclusion” are definitely trendy. Those pushing these buzzwords want conversations to lead to meaningful change.

“Diversity in the Luxury Retail Industry” opened the afternoon session of Arab World Luxury (AWL), moderated by Candice D’Cruz, vice president for luxury brands in the Middle East and Africa at Marriott International Inc.

Panelists included Alexander Schmiedt, regional brand director for the Middle East and the Indian subcontinent at Vacheron Constantin; Chantal Khoueiry, chief culture officer at the Bicester Village Shopping Collection; Dima Ayad, PR and marketing consultant at 11 Honoré; and Samar Habayab, CEO of Silsal Design House.

“Diversity means so many things,” said D’Cruz. Audience members at AWL were polled as to what they believe companies should focus on — gender and generation came top. Schmiedt said: “For a luxury brand, what’s most important is its relationship with the client, and the client has never been so diverse.” He added that in the Middle East, “the whole industry is run by expats,” yet the clientele is mainly local; this needs to be corrected.

Ayad, who is also a fashion designer, said her focus is “finding a solution for women across all sizes.” One of the ways she has made her voice heard is through her “You As Is” collection, which encourages women to celebrate themselves as they are. She recently collaborated with another Dubai-based designer, Nadine Kanso, for the Arabic version of the “You As Is” t-shirt.

Collaboration seems to be a major tool for addressing diversity, whether it is home-gown design brand Silsal, which has worked with students from the Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation to ensure their products appeal to younger customers, or the Bicester Village Shopping Collection’s “reverse mentorship” program, which helps ensure it remains a millennial-friendly employer.

Ayad said: “It’s naive to think we can only be mainstream. It’s important to stay inclusive and be diverse.”


Elie Saab unveils his latest collection at Paris Couture Week

The collection was inspired by “Imperial Mexico.” (AFP)
Updated 23 January 2020

Elie Saab unveils his latest collection at Paris Couture Week

  • His daring yet charming show featured asymmetrical and voluminous cuts, jaw-dropping embroidery and floor-length capes

DUBAI: Lebanese designer Elie Saab unveiled his latest Spring/Summer 2020 haute couture collection on Wednesday during Paris Couture Week.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Daring & charming, bold & graceful yet always refined | ELIE SAAB Haute Couture Spring Summer 2020 #ELIESAABHCSS20

A post shared by ELIE SAAB (@eliesaabworld) on

His daring yet charming show featured asymmetrical and voluminous cuts, jaw-dropping embroidery and floor-length capes.

The collection was inspired by “Imperial Mexico,” according to the fashion house. “(It) intertwines the regal past of both Europe and Mexico, bringing them together in the present,” the account shared on Instagram.

From evening dresses to red-carpet gowns, the dazzling offerings came in shades of beige, white, gold and blush.