DUBAI: In these strange and unprecedented times, it certainly feels like the best kind of garments are ones that wrap you up in a warm hug, offering a serene sense of protection and comfort. Qasimi’s Fall 2021 collection belongs in this category.
“The new collection is centered around the concept of being wrapped and being hugged and protected during such an uncertain time,” explained Hoor Al-Qasimi, the Emirati creative director of the London-based menswear brand, to Arab News.
Seeking inspiration from Islamic architecture — more specifically the “Mashrabiya,” which is an element of traditional Arabic architecture used since the Middle Ages up to the mid-20th century — Al-Qasimi’s structured and tailored garments envelope the body inside them, embracing the human form.
Al-Qasimi presented the new offering via a digital presentation during London Fashion Week, which is currently underway until Feb. 23.
Considering Al-Qasimi is a patron of the arts (she is the founder of the Sharjah Art Foundation) it is no surprise that she decided to present the Fall 2021 collection by way of a fashion film.
The video was a collaborative effort between interdisciplinary performance company Bakani Pick-Up, which choreographed the presentation, and Visionist, who composed the soundtrack. “It has been a wonderful experience and I look forward to more similar collaborations in the future,” noted Al-Qasimi.
As for the collection itself, the lineup was punctuated with a diverse and interesting range of fabrics inspired by the interior settings of the meeting rooms used by the Bloomsbury Group, a cohort of writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists. Materials included chenille and mohair in pieces like an oversized parka and trench coat, cargo pants and kilt.
When it came to the color palette, Al-Qasimi looked to Yemen. Softer notes of laurel and muted lime are contrasted with ivy, deep purple, cumin, copper and saffron. Prints take a rebellious stance, riffing on the region’s military camouflage but offset with a softer tulip motifs found in ceramics and tiles across the Islamic world.
The words of late German statesman Konrad Adenauer, “We all live under the same sky,” were printed onto detachable panels and outerwear, while “Dream!” written in Arabic calligraphy was embroidered onto jerseywear. “Free at Last,” a reference to Martin Luther King Jr.’s 1963 speech, also appeared in the offering.
The new collection is Al-Qasimi’s third for the London-based brand since taking over the reigns after her twin brother Khalid Al-Qasimi’s passing in 2019. Although fashion is a new territory for the creative director, the Sharjah-born designer revealed that she is “slowly getting the hang of things.”
She said: “I think the most important thing is to listen to everyone around you and learn from their experiences.”