DUBAI: The 12th edition of Arab Fashion Week (AFW) came to a triumphant close in Dubai this weekend. The occasion was quite different than usual as the ongoing coronavirus pandemic meant that the four-day-long event was strictly digital, with brands showcasing their collections virtually.
SemSem closed out the fashion week with a glamorous Spring 2021 collection that was presented as a five-minute video shot in the designer Abeer Al-Otaiba’s US residence.
Speaking of her new collection, the designer explained: “SemSem’s Spring 2021 collection is a statement on women’s strength, illustrated through engineered lines and geometry. For spring, the brand focused on couture plissé techniques and graphic pyramid-inspired silhouettes.”
The result was a lineup of pleated dresses and glamorous evening gowns in emerald jewel tones and Mediterranean blue modeled by catwalk star Aminata Niaria. Meanwhile, soft and luxurious silks were hand-embellished with Swarovski crystals to create dramatic kaftan-inspired looks.
The designer drew inspiration from “women, who, when faced with the challenges of 2020, continued to persevere and thrive despite the uncertainty.”
Her engineering background and Middle Eastern heritage — the designer is Egyptian — also served as inspiration during the creative process. Her mood board consisted of clippings of The pyramids, Egyptian goddesses, the Mediterranean sea as well as geometric architecture by Zaha Hadid and Tadao Ando.
Dubai-based Iraqi womenswear designer Zeena Zaki also showcased her Fall 2021 collection during AFW. Inspired by “the inner beauty of women,” the new offering contains 16 distinct looks sure to suit every taste.
“The collection contains various types of fabrics to satisfy every customer’s taste,” the designer shared with Arab News, “Though, due to the pandemic, many of the needed materials were out of market and it wasn’t easy to source,” she added.
Known for her ultra-feminine, body-hugging designs, the designer chose “luxurious fabrics and harmonized colors that empower and reveal the beauty of every woman.”
Standouts include a white, off-the-shoulder gown with sheer long sleeves and a ruffled skirt that would look equally as chic floating on a red carpet as it would down the aisle.
Other designers to present their new collections during the audience-less, digital-only event included Jordanian womenswear label Mada’En, Lebanese designer Aboud Jammal and Dubai-based couture house Amato, among many others.