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)

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