Algerian designer Ilyes Ouali inspired by disco glamour of the 1970s

Ilyes Ouali won this year's Fashion Star Arabia. (Supplied)
Updated 08 August 2019

Algerian designer Ilyes Ouali inspired by disco glamour of the 1970s

DUBAI: This week, Algerian designer Ilyes Ouali showed off his designing chops at London Arabia Art & Fashion Week, which returned to the capital for its fourth year and brought together designers and artists from the Arab world.

Ouali shot to fame after winning the intense reality TV competition “Fashion Star Arabia” this year, just months after graduating from Regent’s University London. 

His unique brand is a combination of haute couture and street style. Ouali was born and brought up in Algeria, and his designs blend Arabian culture with the dressed-down look of western cities. 

The 27-year-old designer had no previous fashion experience when he first came to London; it was not a well-established career choice in Algeria. 




Ouali shot to fame after winning the intense reality TV competition “Fashion Star Arabia” this year. (Supplied) 

“I didn’t choose a career in fashion, fashion chose me,” Ouali told Arab News. “I have always been interested in fashion in general, and I didn’t even have the option in my mind to do something else.”

It wasn’t until his college years that he got his start. “During the first years at my university, I decided to drop my collection of six looks because I was impatient to start realizing my ideas.”

His participation in London Arabia Art & Fashion Week is a step into a bigger league. “My… collection will be sort of an introduction for me to the fashion world on a bigger scale, as it is the first time we are doing a big collection.” 

Ouali said his show is meant to serve as a teaser for the new collection, which is strongly influenced by the Seventies. “The core of the brand was and will always be inspired from the 70s glamour, and the upcoming collection will highlight the ‘It’ girls of that era, like Bianca Jagger and Diana Ross.”


Iraq Pavilion at Venice Biennale shuts in solidarity with protesters

The Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has shut down in solidarity with protesters. Supplied
Updated 13 November 2019

Iraq Pavilion at Venice Biennale shuts in solidarity with protesters

  • In a show of solidarity with anti-government protestors, the Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has shut down
  • Initially set to run until Nov. 24, the exhibition entitled “Fatherland” was closed on Nov. 5.

DUBAI: Iraq is currently in the midst of ongoing anti-government protests that have claimed the lives of more than 260 Iraqis since they erupted earlier this month. In a show of solidarity, the Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has shut down.

Initially set to run until Nov. 24, the exhibition entitled “Fatherland” was closed on Nov. 5.

“Fatherland” is a collection of expressionist paintings by Iraqi-Kurdish artist Serwan Baran that were commissioned by Baghdad-based non-profit organization the Ruya Foundation, which in an official statement shared that the move was to show support to “the popular youth uprisings that have erupted in Iraq against state corruption and deteriorating economic and living conditions.”

“We condemn the use of violence against peaceful protesting, and the bloodshed that has led to the death of over 265 protesters so far,” read the statement shared on the organization’s Twitter account. “Peaceful protesting is a basic right, enshrined in Article 38.c of the Iraqi Constitution.”

“Since our founding in late 2012, we have worked hard, frequently in inhospitable circumstances, to create a platform for artists across Iraq to freely express their creativity, in a firm belief that culture is an integral component of any society, and a powerful force for change towards an open and free country. This is particularly important for Iraq, given its difficult recent history and authoritarian past,” it continued.

The Baghdad-based foundation, which was co-founded by Tamara Chalabi, daughter of former Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi, has overseen the Iraq Pavilion in Venice since 2013.