MARRIAM MOSSALLI, [email protected]
Publication Date: 
Wed, 2010-09-01 23:26

I must confess. I ignorantly envisioned another quasi-designer. You know the kind: The ladies select materials and then instruct their seamstress to sew “same-same” as the picture from Vogue. These are the same designers who believe pricing their kaftans at SR8,000 makes them miraculously high-end, yet you can get that same exact kaftan made — and probably even by their same tailor — for SR300 on Macarona Street.
But Redwan is anything but. Her collection has absolutely and irrevocably proven me wrong. To place Redwan among the dozens of so-called designers was a premature assumption that I am more than willing to admit and even happier to rectify.
Redwan has design in her blood. Her mother is a couturier, specializing in eveningwear. Her atelier has been a staple in the local fashion industry for the past 15 years. Growing up around couture has given Redwan an obvious advantage.
Consequently, her attention to detail is refined and has produced flawless embellishments in the form of handmade appliqués. This season's ready-to-wear fits like its couture, with flowing drapery that is snug in all the right places.
Her understanding of textiles is also something to be commended. Utilizing chiffon and silks, she is able to superbly manipulate the material so it falls in the most flattering of manner — convincing even me to buy my first jumpsuit ever.
“My collection is called Le Jardin,” she says in a perfectly articulated Parisian accent that she picked up as a student there. Redwan attended Europe’s leading fashion and design school, Istituto Margangoni — and it shows.
“When I graduated, I told myself, ‘I’m not going to go back and do thobes or abayas,’” explains Redwan. 
It is quite understandable that she was fearful of getting lost in the sea of traditional-clothing designers that are now flooding our market.
“So I decided to concentrate on ready-to-wear,” said Redwan. A decision she has not look backed on since the launch of her first collection in early 2009.
It is evident that Redwan has found her niche in an area in which she so visibly excels. Her cuts are immaculate. She creates silhouettes that are flattering, while her design aesthetic reflects a refined taste that she probably garnered from her time studying in the fashion capitals.
Redwan’s collections change dramatically from season to season. She started with a colorful beachwear line because she saw it was a niche Saudi lacked. Tanning addicts and Cannes vacationers quickly snatched up her harem pants and print cover-ups.
She then moved on to casual street wear for Fall/Winter 2009, with a line consisting of jersey tracksuits in a predominately black color scheme juxtaposed with delicate white lace.  Her line manipulates positive and negative space through cutouts and the use of white and black. Her angel wing cutout vest from that season’s Dark Angel collection is internationally unique and cutting-edge.
But what is probably most surprising is that during my
entire interview of Redwan, she did not once mention the clichéd “East meets
West” theme that has become a joke among us fashion insiders.
That is probably because Redwan is confident in her creations and is perfectly aware that she doesn’t need to play on the whole fusion concept in order to succeed. Her designs are good enough to stand on their own without trying to bank of this whole culture-bridging trend.
“I like to make short dresses,” she confesses, “People than started telling me I should make long dresses, but when I made my dresses long, my clients would still just buy the short ones!”
Her cocktail dresses from this season are a personal favorite with their neutral spring palette and floral theme.
I have never been so pleased to be so wrong. Redwan is a welcomed breath of fresh air in the fashion scene. She is a designer in every sense of the profession — and one that I will be following with a keen eye. 

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