DUBAI: Emirati designer Shatha Essa has unveiled her most recent collection “Ethereal Oasis” exploring commonalities between the UAE and Tunisia.
The Dubai-based contemporary womenswear expert tapped female artisans from Tunisia to help her create the new offering.
Essa teamed up with specialists in handwoven buttons, helping improve the welfare of local women in rural areas by generating employment opportunities and inviting them to provide for their families through button production, as well as promoting the preservation of craftsmanship in the African country.
She also joined forces with Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council on a misbaha for the collection.
The Sharjah-based council represents both modern and traditional crafts and advocates the empowerment of women. The collection’s misbaha has been handcrafted from wood and tassels and attached to loose-fitting jalabiyas and kaftans.
The collection aims to evoke femininity with its flowy silhouettes, natural colors, and artistic flair. With each piece telling a story, unique embellishments and embroidery are highlighted throughout. The symbol of the palm tree, native to Tunisia and the UAE, is a recurring motif of the collection.
The two countries are also referenced via the color palette, which includes royal blue, eggshell blue, yellow, blush, rose pink, and cream.
Flowy kaftans, long dresses, scalloped coats, and abayas are structured and delicately embroidered with patterns inspired by the mandoos, a wooden chest typically encrusted in lace-like copper decorations, as well as the mashrabiya.
A standout design includes a trench coat in a gold Jacquard fabric stitched by hand in Dubai by a team of skilled artisans. The embroidery takes the patterns of old houses located in Dubai. The look can be styled with the collection’s high-waisted fitted pants and silk organza scalloped wrap shirt with balloon sleeves to really make a statement.
The designer also introduced for the first time a signature print composed of embroidered dots and squares inspired by Swiss-German artist Paul Klee’s series of abstract paintings evoking Tunisian palm trees and gardens.