Fashion Forward Dubai – Day 3

Can’t believe it has taken me so long to get this post up, it’s been so busy! However I am really going to try and make an effort to be more consistent with posts. Bare with me!

Anyway Sunday April 12th was the final day of the fashion forward event that was open to the public (on Monday it was hosting a press and VIP’s only panel discussion day at the D3 campus location). After the busyness of day 2, I was quite glad that the first catwalk show wasn’t until 2pm so that I could have a bit of a lie in. They did have a workshop and presentation prior however I decided not to attend these.

So like day 2, the final day consisted of 8 catwalk shows as well as a couple of brand presentations and industry talks. The talk I attended was about visual merchandising and store displays by Gianfranco Olivotto from Domus Academy in Milan. It was a very interesting talk and he gave us a great insight as to how important this topic is for fashion retail.

Anyway, I am sure you are much more interested in the fashion I saw that day. Once again it was amazing to see so much artistry and skill go down the runway and in particular the final show which literally blew the entire audience away. So here we go…

Lama Jouni

The first catwalk show of the day was by the designer Lama Jouni, whose label was founded in November 2013 in Paris, France. This was her first debut at Fashion Forward Dubai and it was interesting, although no my favorite. The collection was chic and had simplistic designs. If I had to choose one word to describe it, minimalism is the word that would spring to mind.

(To see the full collection click here)

Lama Jouni

Daneh

The second show I saw was Daneh, which is designed by Daneh Duahmad who began the label in 2010. Daneh, who is from Saudi, designs clothing that are practical, chic and easy-to-wear for women who are busy and on the go. And I really think she has stuck true to this aesthetic with this collection, and I really like it. The pieces looked so comfortable and easy-to-wear, but still stylish and feminine without being too fussy. In fact my favorite look was the combination of a sweatshirt and A-line skirt, which just looked so chic but super comfortable for everyday wear as well. This was definitely one of the most wearable ‘on-a-daily-basis’ RTW collections of the weekend. Here are several of my favorite looks from her collection.

(To see the full collection click here)

Daneh

Taller Marmo

Taller Marmo is a Dubai based women’s wear brand founded by Riccardo Audisio and Yago Goicoechea in 2013. The concept of the label actually began in Italy when Audisio and Goicoechea were studying fashion design in Milan but decided to base their company in Dubai. The brand is really growing and in fact I have just read today that they are nominated for the 2015/16 International Woolmark Price with many other designers from around the world.

This was actually the most controversial show of the weekend, and got a lot of negative press for the black face make-up that was used on some of the models. And unfortunately I really didn’t like the collection that much either except for maybe one or two looks like the short silver dress with the masquerade mask at the neckline which looked super cute. The rest of the collection kind of looked like a jumble of different collections in one and some pieces even looked like pajamas. Suffice it to say, not my favorite collection from the weekend.

(To see the full collection click here)

Taller Marmo

Said Mahrouf

Said Mahrouf is a Moroccan designer who actually began his career designing costumes for dancers and has had his work displayed in multiple different museums around the world. The collection showed at Fashion Forward was one of the few collections to use so many really bright and vibrant colours & fabrics. It has a very geometric feel to it and was inspired by the Polish-Russian painter Kazimir Malevitch’s color blocking technique. Mahrouf is known for his draping and you could definitely see that in the pieces, but at the same time, and even with the bright pops of color, they are simplistic in their design which gives the whole collection a very fresh feel.

(To see the full collection click here)

Said Mahrouf

Madiyah Al Sharqi

The first of the big catwalk shows was Madiyah Al Sharqi who is the daughter of the Ruler of Fujairah, U.A.E. Since a young age she has been surrounded by fashion and particularly high fashion, which has been a huge influence on her and her career in fashion.  There’s no guessing as to why I love this collection …. all the pastel colours! Al Sharqi’s collection was bursting with the most beautiful pastel blues, greens and yellows. And lets not even start on the exquisite beading, embroidery & lace, which are to die for! I truly am in love with this collection and I really like how it feels light and feminine with modern sophistication, all with the use of some color. Here are just some of my favorite looks from the show, and I am excited to see where Al Sharqi is going to go as a designer!

(To see the full collection click here)

Madiyah al SharqiMadiyah al Sharqi 2

House of Nomad

After the Madiyah Al Sharqi show, the House of Nomad catwalk show was a complete contrast! House of Nomad is a Dubai based brand founded by Ahmed El-Sayed and Saleh Al-Banna. This is an innovative new label with an ‘athleisure’ concept which uses a lot of silk jersey and neoprene fabrics. The collection showed at Fashion Forward was their first full RTW collection and I think that it was a great success. The collection has a real sporty feel to it but still the women’s wear had a very feminine look so that it wasn’t too harsh. The fabrics the used looked so comfy & cozy and definitely something that would be great to wear for a more casual but chic look in a cold European winter. I was surprised how much I actually really liked the collection as its not normally what I would go for.  Anyway, here are some of my favorite looks from the show.

(To see the full collection click here)

House of Nomad 1House of Nomad 2

Mauzan

The second to last catwalk show of the day was Mauzan, designed by Rafia Helal Bin Drai. Her collection is definitely influenced by the Middle East and the cultural traditions when it comes to women’s clothing. The collection was full of stunning elegant gowns, coats and outfits. Once again the use of color, embroidery, appliqués and detail were gorgeous. The clothes looked really luxurious and sophisticated and are the perfect evening and occasion-wear for those special events.

(To see the full collection click here)

Mauzan 1Mauzan 2

Amato by Furne One

The final catwalk show of the whole Fashion Forward Season 5 was Amato by the Pilipino designer Furne One. This show was unbelievable and you felt like you were transported straight into the middle of a Tim Burton movie. There was so much drama with the lighting, the music, the way the catwalk was decorated and the styling of the models in combination with the breathtaking haute couture pieces. Furne One knew how to put on a show, and this was the definition of haute couture and what one would imagine a catwalk show would look like. The fabrics were so luxurious and rich, the colours were dark and moody, and the designs reminiscent of vintage tailored women’s wear with hourglass figures accentuating the waist, broad the shoulders and full skirts. Looking carefully at some of the pieces, there is definitely a sense of those early collections from Christian Dior, in particular the Bar suit in how the pieces were tailored to accentuate the women’s body. It was a fantastic way to end this amazing weekend.  I was taken aback by the beauty and talent behind Furne One’s incredible collection, which in my mind deserves to be on the Haute Couture runways in Paris.

(To see the full collection click here)

Amato 1Amato 2Amato By Furne One - Runway - Dubai FFWD April 2015

(All photos used are courtesy of Getty Images and Style.com/Arabia)

And with that the weekend was over! It was an unbelievable experience and I am so glad and lucky that I was able to attend while I was in Dubai. This is an event that I will definitely be attending again in the future, and possibly even as soon as October for Season 6! What I can say though that the fashion and designs coming out of the Middle East are definitely on par with those in Europe, and so I would not be surprised if some of these names become much better known globally. I for one am excited to see where they go next!

Fashion Forward Dubai Season 5 – Day 2

The first evening was fun, but things kicked into high gear on the second day with a total of 9 catwalk shows as well as a couple of industry talks. It was a long and tiring day but at the same time I was so energized by all that was happening around me. All the attendees were dressed to the nines and like they themselves belonged on the runway, so the Street Style was on point!

I have never been to so many fashion shows in one day and it was amazing to see the collections of so many different designers and their take on the SS15 & AW15 trends. Some I wasn’t too keen on since they weren’t really my style, but others I absolutely loved. Having said that though, even if I didn’t really like a designer’s collection, I could appreciate the work and detail that had gone into each piece. Also it was great to see so much color throughout the collections, as I find it rather dull when everything is just black and white all the time.   I’m someone who loves color so it made me happy to see pastels, bright reds, bright yellows, gold, and blues go down to runway!

So here is a little overview of each show I attended and my favorite looks from each designer’s collection. This post would be way too long if I put every look in here so if you are interested in seeing the whole collection simply click on the links below.

Starch Foundation

The Starch Foundation isn’t one single designer, it is actually a brilliant idea founded by Rabih Kayrouz & Tala Hajjar.  They developed this program that selects regional designers and then mentors them, provides them with a platform they can use to grow their label and give them the exposure they may not otherwise have. It’s a great idea because it gives small designers a chance to be seen on a bigger stage and be seen by influential people in the fashion industry.

This season there were three designers showcased in this catwalk show, Sarkis Dersahagian, Nour Najem, and La Terre Est Folle.

(To see the full collection click here)

Nour Najem

Here are my favorites from Nour Najem who I have to say was my favorite of the 3 designers. I loved the effortless cut & styling of the pieces, as well as the color palette used. In particular I really liked the trousers that looked both comfortable & relaxed, but also smart and sophisticated at the same time.

Nour Najem

Hâshé

The second show of the day was Hâshé designed by Ava Hashemi, an Iranian designer. Her collection was an interesting one, there were some beautiful pieces (see below) and some very wacky ones with what looked like woollen coats that had fallen down to the waist and did not look practical at all. Having said that, the looks below were classic silhouettes that worked beautifully.

(To see the full collection click here)

Hashe

Yousef Al-Jasmi

The third designer, and first of the 3 big main-stage catwalk shows of the day was Yousef Al-Jasmi. He is a Kuwaiti designer that has become popular amongst celebrities, including Lady Gaga and Jennifer Lopez. He is known for his red-carpet gowns that are all about the wow factor. All I can say about this collection is sparkle! Every single look that went down the runway was completely adorned with thousands of Swarovski crystals. It was quite an amazing sight and I have never seen so much sparkle in one collection. It did look beautiful and you could definitely see these dresses on red carpets in Hollywood. The gowns were fitted close to the body and had very interesting and geographic cutouts on each gown. Kind of reminded me of the recent Versace collection that has the similar type of dramatic cutouts. Anyone who likes really glamorous and extremely sparkly dresses will love this designer! These are a few of my favorite dresses, although the pictures do not do the crystals or the sparkle justice.

(To see the full collection click here)

Yousef Al-Jasmi

Yousef Al-Jasmi - Runway - Dubai FFWD April 2015

Aiisha Ramadan

The next designer I saw that afternoon was Aiisha Ramadan, a Lebanese designer who began her label 15 years ago and even won the Swarovski Young Designer of the Year award. She is known best for her eveningwear collections, however this collection was her first attempt at Ready-to-Wear. And I have to say it wasn’t a bad attempt at all! I quite liked the upscale sporty feel to the collection and how she made the looks look young & fresh and yet still really feminine. There was an ease to the pieces that really appealed to me, despite the almost monochrome palette, which actually worked best for this collection.

(To see the full collection click here)

Aiisha Ramadan

Maral

Maral was the 5th show of the day. The label is designed by the Persian designer Maral Yazarloo who is actually based in India. Her collection was quite a mix of different techniques, fabrics and styles. It was almost like a number of different mini collections in one show, since there was a lack of cohesion amongst all the looks. The color palette went from white, to bright colors, to blacks, to black & gold, and finally ending with bright reds. It was a bit of a non-congruent mix to be honest. The collection was definitely eveningwear, and some of the gowns were stunning. There was a lot of detail in the dresses and lots of beautiful and intricate embroidery used. Unlike Yousef Al-Jasmi, Maral showed a variety of gowns, which would appeal to a wider audience.

(To see the full collection click here)

Maral

Jean Louis Sabaji

Jean Louis Sabaji is Lebanese couture designer with his atelier based in Beirut. This collection which is his SS15 collection was inspired by nature and flowers which was clearly visible in the looks, particularly the opening dress and the bridal dress which were both designed to look like flowers. I actually really liked this collection and yes it was not something one could wear daily but as couture pieces they were stunning! His collection had a real Dior feel to it with the silhouettes and shapes he created. You could tell the high quality craftsmanship in each piece and the design of each piece has so many little details that took the look to the next level.   Plus the beautiful pastel colors really gave it that spring/summer feel and made you feel like you were in a lush spring garden surrounded by pretty flowers.

(To see the full collection click here)

Jean Louis Sabaji - 1Jean Louis Sabaji - 2

Dima Ayad

Dima Ayad was the first of the last 3 shows of the day, and by this time I had seen a ton of clothes, dresses and looks. So unfortunately this collection didn’t really wow me and wasn’t one of my favorites. What she did with the materials and textures was definitely interesting to see, however I felt like the style was a bit too harsh and risky for my liking. Never the less here are a few looks from the show.

(To see the full collection click here)

Dima Ayad

Hussein Bazaza

Hussein Bazaza is an alumnus from the Starch Foundation and is quickly becoming one of the emerging designers to watch from the Middle East. For me though, it was another designer that I don’t quite know what I think about their collection. Once again, when I first say the show, to me it was a bit of a random mix of textiles, prints, colors, and details so it didn’t seem like there was any clear consistency throughout the collection. However having said that, I read after that the collection was actually based on the story of “Luna” about a woman who supposedly falls in love with a wolf only to be eaten by that wolf she loves. Now knowing that, I can see the story in the collection with the moody forest & wolf prints to the blacks and deep reds. By far my favorite look was the final look with the rich & luxurious looking navy ball gown and cape. It just looked like one would be enveloped in the most luxurious fabric and it would be perfect for a winter ball in London!

(To see the full collection click here)

Hussein Bazaza

Zareena

The final show of the day was by the talented Zareena, a Dubai based label that has been in operation since 1994. Walking into the hall to see the show, we were surprised to see it completely transformed. Along the length of the catwalk there were candles suspended from the ceiling on either side of the runny and tall metal gold flowers lining the runway floor. It was breathtaking and really set the mood for the collection, which was inspired by Peace.

Zareena runway

The collection itself was true to the designer’s aesthetic of creating pieces that are flow-y and that complement a woman’s body with intricate detailing and made from simple & soft fabrics. There was an overall Grecian feel to the looks, due in part to the wigs the models wore, which actually became rather distracting since every single model was identical, so was a bit unnerving. However the clothes, my goodness were they gorgeous! I loved how they flowed and moved so beautifully and effortlessly as the models went down the runway. The pastel palette was of course one of my favorite things, but I also really liked how she would elevate a simple dress by adding an intricate gold trim or embroidery. It was definitely a fantastic show to end this second day with!

(To see the full collection click here)

Zareena - 1Zareena - 2

By the end of day 2 I was absolutely exhausted and crashed as soon as my head hit the pillow. But I was excited for what amazing and interesting collections the final and 3rd day of Fashion Forward Season 5 would bring. Stay tuned!

(All photos used are courtesy of Getty Images and Style.com/Arabia)

Fashion Forward Season 5 Dubai – Day 1

Last weekend I was lucky enough to attend one of the biggest fashion events in Dubai, Fashion Forward Season 5. Fashion Forward (FFWD) is a biannual (April & October) event where designers from the Middle East can showcase their new collections to buyers, press, bloggers and the public. It is basically like a Dubai Fashion Week. Its become a fantastic way for smaller designers especially to get more recognition and attention in the fashion industry which is one of the toughest industries to break into in the world. The people who attend come from all over the world and so the designers’ collections can very quickly go global. I was from London of course, but I saw bloggers from Australia, South Africa, Egypt, America and France. Even the infamous American-French fashion blogger Diane Pernet was there.

So the first day of the even quickly rolled around. It is a 3-day event, which includes a number of catwalk shows, fashion presentations, industry talks and parties. I attended as much as I could, although unfortunately due to the fact that the after-parties were VIP I wasn’t able to attend those. Although probably for the better as I was exhausted after each day and lets just say that wearing heels all day while walking around is definitely not easy!

The first catwalk show I attended was by the Manila- born designer Ezra. Now I have to admit that I hadn’t heard of almost all the designers before I came to this event, however Ezra was one I have heard of vaguely before, so knew it was one of the big shows of the weekend. And all I can say was WOW! The clothes were absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous! The silhouettes, the colours, the intricate details & beading, and the fabrics he chose all combined together to create dresses and gowns that were straight out of a fairytale. I can imagine that wearing one of his stunning pieces would make anyone feel like a princess with the blush pink hues of the Cinderella ball gowns I swear, his pieces belonged on the Haute Couture runway of Paris they were that good. This collection was called the Clara Collection and here are a couple of my favourite ones from the show.

547550847AG044_Ezra_Runway_547550847AG024_Ezra_Runway_547550847AG014_Ezra_Runway_547550847AG027_Ezra_Runway_547550847AG023_Ezra_Runway_547550847AG040_Ezra_Runway_547550847AG006_Ezra_Runway_547550847AG008_Ezra_Runway_Ezra - Bride547550847AG003_Ezra_Runway_(All photos courtesy of Getty Images)

(To see the whole collection click here)

One of my favorite parts of the whole weekend was Ezra’s beautifully choreographed final walk, which had the girls in the large gowns fall elegantly to the floor and lay there while the other looks did the walk. Then a well-known male model Sebastian Sauve entered the catwalk and walked to the end, and then he proceeded to pick up each girl up one by one in the most graceful & movie-like way. It was beautiful!

547550847AG046_Ezra_Runway_(Photo courtesy of Getty Images)

The second and final show that evening was by The Emperor 1688 whose luxury menswear & womenswear collections are designed by the three Golkar brothers. The UAE based brand is quickly becoming a globally recognised label and becoming popular with celebrities. This was their first womenswear only collection they have shown. Their collection was definitely more RTW than Ezra but still some beautiful pieces I would love to own! They had a lot of elegant and feminine dresses, coats and furs, all in a beautiful color palette of Navy, white, cream, grey and black. I loved their use of the A-line silhouettes and the luxurious & warm looking fabric, which would be perfect for the cold winters in Europe. The collection had a very Parisian chic feel to it that made it even more appealing! Here are a few of my favorite looks.

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(All photos courtesy of Getty Images)

(To see the whole collection click here)

Stay tuned for my recap of Day 2 of Fashion Forward Season 5!

My life goal…

Another monday has rolled around and I am sure that many people are feeling that monday feeling!  So I thought what better way to kickstart the week in the right way than to pick a motivating quote to inspire me for the week.

If you follow me on Instagram you will have seen that this weekend I spent 3 days attending the Fashion Forward Season 5 event in Dubai.  It was an amazing experience with some of the most beautiful fashion and collections that I have ever seen!  Gown upon gown, clothes all colours of the rainbow, with the most exquisite beading, crystals, and embroidery.  I was in absolute heaven! In total I saw 19 fashion shows and man was I inspired!!  But more on this event later as I will do a recap of each day on the blog later this week once I have sorted through the thousands of photos I took!

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So the quote (above) that I chose for this week really hits home for me at the moment because I am coming close to the end of my exploration phase to discover what I want to do with my career and where my passion lies.  I have spent the last year and a half doing a lot of soul-searching and trying different things.  I have discovered what my hobbies are and what things I would like to pursue career wise.  It hasn’t always been easy and there were a lot of bumps along the way, however I am coming to a stage of clarity like I have never had before.

That is why this quote means so much to me, since I want to do something in life that I truly enjoy doing & where I look forward to it rather than count down the days until the next vacation.  I’m not naive, I know there is no perfect job or that everything will always be great, but I want to do something where there are a lot more good days than bad.

Thus after an amazing fashion filled weekend and a reinvigorated drive to pursue what I love and am actually interested in, I am more determined than ever to work hard to reach that goal.  And this is much easier now that I know what I am working towards and can visualise the life I want.

My goal is clear, so now comes the hard work and determination to achieve it, and I am excited about it.  The future is young, bright and wonderfully unknown!