Okhtein’s designers on its new eyewear and handbag collections

Okhtein recently launched its debut eyewear collection. Supplied
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Updated 18 July 2020

Okhtein’s designers on its new eyewear and handbag collections

CAIRO: Egyptian handbag brand Okhtein recently launched its debut eyewear collection, a stunning assortment of sunglasses expected to be available for purchase as early as this month.

Exhibiting brass and enamel motifs and enthused by the brand’s hot seller Brass Minaudiere, Okhtein’s shades were spotted on Columbian popstar Maluma in a recent campaign for French fashion label Balmain.

“Our eyewear collection draws heavily from our culture and ancient cultures that we’ve greatly appreciated. These cultures are what have shaped our future and the way we create and live today,” Okhtein’s founders, sisters Aya and Mounaz Abdelraouf, told Arab News.

Pam Nasr photographed by Prod Antzoulis for Okhtein Eyewear campaign. Supplied

The collection was produced in Italy and comprises four designs and 11 colors. The Palmette Heat and Palmette Minaudiere shades are a fresh reinterpretation of the brand’s signature Palmette leaf print, combining “embossed enamel / brass as well as digital laser etching,” the sisters said.

“This reflects back upon our classic brass handbags, and we make sure all our pieces are 18-karat gold and palladium plated for the best quality and luxury feel.”

Next there are the Oukra shades, “offering a vintage vibe with the smaller drawn lenses. This pair is for the daring and edgy.”

The fourth design, Into the Rod, exhibits a plexi frame along with Okhtein’s signature rod. Into the Rod waltzes across ancient Egypt, Rome and 1980s disco America, all of which “come together to show a story of evolution and style whilst remaining current and fresh.”

Pam Nasr photographed by Prod Antzoulis for Okhtein Eyewear campaign. Supplied

It has been an eventful summer for the sisters, who just launched a summer collection of clutches and totes, in keeping with their yearly custom of releasing capsule collections that “fit within our brand identity but capture the essence of the summer.”

The collection is an original take on artsy summer-themed bags, and incorporates four designs: The Palmette Leaf Bucket, Palmette Stitch Tote, Palmette Flower Tote and OkhtiBow Tote.

“This year’s collection was inspired by the classic Garden of Eden, but we’ve modernized it and made it for today’s woman,” the sisters said.

“We wanted to keep this collection bright and light to cater to beachgoers, travelers, and those who want something extra for their summer night outings.”

Bag colors range from lilac and lime green to orange and metallic blue, among other shades. But according to the designers, Garden of Eden is “more than just beautiful products. We’ve also made sure to give back to our local community and to those in need by utilizing local artisans and featuring the meticulous handwork of refugees in Egypt.”

They added: “Our story doesn’t end with our designs. We make sure every aspect of our brand has a purpose and is positive each step of the way.”

Okhtein was founded in 2013 as an attempted “revival of the world’s rich history, vast cultures and art to the betterment of today’s creativity,” as explained on its website.

“As sisters we’ve always appreciated art and fashion as more than just products, but a story and a lifestyle,” the sisters said.

“When we design, we make sure our pieces always pull from an artistic standpoint first and have a story, in which they then become wearable art,” they added.

“Each piece is created from scratch as though it’s a sculpture or painting and has its own mood, which we tie back together with up-to-date fashion trends and materials.”

Their overarching goal remains to “offer unique styles that are easy to fit into your everyday life. Okhtein isn’t just about a bag. It’s a lifestyle that you can pull from, whether you’re running errands or going to a red-carpet event.”

This year, Okhtein’s handbags have been worn by Demi Moore, Joey King, Olivia Palermo and Lena Perminova, among others.

Top trends for next spring from global fashion weeks

Updated 29 min 50 sec ago

Top trends for next spring from global fashion weeks

  • Six of the hottest tips from the catwalks (virtual or otherwise) of fashion month

MILAN: Thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic, the international fashion weeks in New York, Paris, London and Milan recently were a mix of physical shows and digital presentations. And it wasn’t just the events themselves that were affected by the coronavirus — many designers from around the world showed collections that were clearly influenced by social-distancing and lockdown, in often-contradictory ways. Whether that was the somber color palette of Simone Rocha in London, the face coverings and gloves that dominated several shows, or the more subtle nods to our ‘interesting times’ through the DIY vibe of crochet (Alberta Ferretti, for instance), the unexpected return of the sweatsuit (particularly predominant in New York Fashion Week), and the aspirational glamour of flamboyance and glitter. Tom Ford, who presented his Spring ’21 lookbook via video, provided plenty of the latter and suggested it was because he wanted to present clothes that “make us feel good” and hold out “hope of a happier time.” A sentiment that — regardless how you felt about his sequin-usage — was hard to find fault with.


Some designers — Molly Goddard in London, Salvatore Ferragamo in Milan — went bright, others were more muted — Max Mara’s sand and beige, say — and some were both — Boss in Milan, with shocking pink, cream, and sand examples. But they all seemed to agree that single-color clothing will be en vogue in spring next year. It’s bold and confident, certainly, and hopefully reflects how consumers might be feeling by the end of the winter.


If monochrome isn’t your thing, maybe you’ll feel more at home with another major — almost opposite — trend that saw many designers stamping all over conventional fashion wisdom. Cardinal sins were everywhere: Mixing colors that ‘shouldn’t’ be mixed (Pucci’s multi-colored tights), pairing patterns that shouldn’t be paired (stripes and squares!), throwing in animal prints willy-nilly, or, like Sunnei, constructing a shirt dress from four different plaid patterns. It was chaos, and all the better for it


Oversized clothing was everywhere in fashion month. Boss (again) had large sporty jackets in its Tik-Tok-streamed show; Louis Vuitton’s Paris show displayed a largely asexual collection — plenty of oversized jackets and blazers, along with ‘roomy’ pants; and Chloé paired voluminous blouses with high-waisted shorts and trousers. And mammoth handbags were ubiquitous throughout the month. Some observers suggested the super-sized clothes encouraged/forced those around to grant the wearer more personal space in these socially distanced times, others saw them as a throwback to Eighties power dressing. Either way, big is in.


From Tom Ford’s aforementioned sparkly sequins in New York to Molly Goddard’s dazzling A-line dresses in London via the floral prints beloved by Loewe in Paris and Valentino and Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini in Milan (the latter put on an open-air show, whether because of COVID or because flowers were such a dominant motif we’re not sure), many designers were clearly aiming to lift our collective spirits with a healthy dose of bright, bright beauty. And who could blame them?


For the last couple of years, retro fashion has been dominated by Eighties and Nineties throwbacks. If Simone Rocha and Erdem, to name but two, are to be believed, we’ll be looking a little further back for spring 2021 — almost 100 years further back. Rocha’s understated collection showed clear Victorian and Edwardian influences with its puffy sleeves, voluminous skirts and high necklines, while Erdem’s dramatic collection also pulled from Ye Olde Worlde, but somehow managed to seem more up-to-date than anyone.


Whether the non-medical-grade facemasks (see Oak & Acorn, Rick Owens) or other face coverings (Chanel’s veils or Paco Rabanne’s sequined hoods) and gloves (Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini’s rubber gardening gloves or Fendi’s bodysuits with attached gloves) are really what designers believe we’ll want to be wearing in the spring or simply a recognition of the current global situation it’s hard to say. But they were certainly impossible to ignore.