Saudi designer Mohammed Ashi makes history as first Gulf Arab on Paris Haute Couture Week calendar

Saudi designer Mohammed Ashi makes history as first Gulf Arab on Paris Haute Couture Week calendar
Saudi designer Mohammed Ashi, founder of Paris-based label Ashi Studio, showcased his latest line on the official Haute Couture calendar in Paris on Thursday. (AFP)
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Updated 06 July 2023
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Saudi designer Mohammed Ashi makes history as first Gulf Arab on Paris Haute Couture Week calendar

Saudi designer Mohammed Ashi makes history as first Gulf Arab on Paris Haute Couture Week calendar
  • Mohammed Ashi is the first designer from the Gulf to join the hallowed ranks of couturiers featured at the event
  • The show took place at Paris’s sumptuous Théâtre du Chatelet and was titled ‘The Essence’

PARIS: Saudi designer Mohammed Ashi, founder of Paris-based label Ashi Studio, showcased his latest line on the official Haute Couture calendar in Paris on Thursday, becoming the first designer from the Gulf to join the hallowed ranks of couture designers who are featured at the event.    

The show took place at Paris’s sumptuous Théâtre du Chatelet and was titled “The Essence.”




A model presents a creation by Ashi Studio during the Women's Haute-Couture Fall/Winter 2023/2024 Fashion Week at the Jean-Jacques Henner museum in Paris on July 6. (AFP)

Cloaked in darkness before the show, alien-like sounds reverberated around the otherworldly catwalk as the glittering crowd took their seats.




The collection was inspired by German author Patrick Suskind's 1985 novel "Perfume." (AFP)

Inspired by German author Patrick Suskind's 1985 novel "Perfume," the collection was an exploration of "passion, obsession and mystery," according to the show notes. Ashi's new line was a "bold and poetic ode to dark romance, diversity and sensuality tinged with danger."

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Ashi Studio (@ashistudio)

The show was marked by structured creations in a color palette of black, white and neutrals, with occasional pops of dusty pink and dusk blue. Curved, unexpected cutouts adored gowns, while shaggy dystopian material clung to the train of floor-legnth dresses.




This hooded all-white look featured geometric sleeves. (AFP)

One standout number featured a dazzling necklace-style collar from which silk rippled out behind the model. A hot pink mohair-style gown was another look that caught the eye of fashion editors on the runway, while British Moroccan model Nora Attal and Danish model Mona Tougaard - who is of Turkish, Somali and Ethiopian   descent - opened the show in all-black, futuristic looks boasting ribbing and sheer material.

Ashi, who joined the Federation de la Haute Couture as a guest member, launched his eponymous house 17 years ago.  He is one of five designers from the Middle East to take part in the official calendar this year, besides Georges Hobeika, Zuhair Murad and Elie Saab, all of whom hail from Lebanon, and Morocco-born Sara Chraïbi. Other luxury labels on the official calendar include Chanel, Fendi, Valentino and Rahul Mishra, among others.  




Gold was in scarce supply on the runway but did pop up in the form of this embellished dress. (Getty Images)

Ashi’s designs have been worn by A-list celebrities such as Beyonce, Lady Gaga, Jennifer Hudson, Kylie Minogue, Penélope Cruz, Deepika Padukone, Sonam Kapoor, Queen Rania of Jordan and more.  




Mohammed Ashi is the first designer from the Gulf to join the hallowed ranks of couture designers who are featured at the event. (AFP)

“This appointment is the highlight of my career,” Ashi said in a statement posted on Instagram when the announcement was made in June. “I will honor it in the memory of the great couturiers who came before me and whom I now join in the pursuit of this grand tradition of excellence in creativity and savoir-faire. 




British Moroccan model Nora Attal took part in the show. (Getty Images)

“Today, I am reminded of days escaping to the garden to dream, and, of that first day, when I hired one seamstress to bring to life the images in my head. Challenging and joyous, couture has and continues to lay bare my inner energy, so that I may give the best of myself to serve its high art,” he added.   




The show was marked by structured creations in a color palette of black, white and neutrals. (AFP)

“This recognition brings me the greatest emotion; it offers me the opportunity to share with you who I am. As this new chapter unfolds, I recognize that today would not be possible without the exceptional talent and dedication of my atelier. I wish to thank everyone who has worked to bring my dreams to life,” Ashi wrote on Instagram.   




Mohammed Ashi posed after his show. (Getty Images)

Ashi previously told Arab News: “I incredibly proud of my Saudi roots … my designs are often influenced by Saudi heritage.”




Ashi's new line was a "bold and poetic ode to dark romance, diversity and sensuality tinged with danger." (AFP)