Over a late night dinner in a tucked away restaurant at the start of Paris Fashion Week, Princess Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz leaned over and commented, “It should be called Arabians in Paris.” Along with Emirati footwear designer Sultan Darmaki, we were engrossed in conversation about the increasing number of Middle Eastern designer showrooms popping up all over Paris like pins on a roadmap. We were also bemoaning the fact that unlike the British Fashion Council’s showspace, or the CFDA’s “Americans in Paris” showspace, our Middle Eastern designers had no platform to unite them, raise their profiles, and entice press and buyers.
Here, we highlight the first wave of Arabians in Paris that had Style.com/Arabia criss-crossing the City of Light in between the shows.
Syrian designer Nabil El-Nayal, behind the Elizabethan sportswear label Nabil Nayal, is one of the Middle East’s foremost rising stars. We met with the designer at the Mandarin Oriental on the rue Saint Honoré and he was pulsing with energy from having just shown his label at Milan Fashion Week on an invitation from Vogue Italia’s Sara Maino. Meanwhile, the day prior to our meeting, an image shot by Karl Lagerfeld for V magazine was released featuring newlywed Jerry Hall in a Nabil Nayal white shirt, styled by Lady Amanda Harlech. The designer and LVMH Prize finalist has attracted the attention of American Vogue’s chief critic Sarah Mower, who is also notably the ambassador for emerging talent on behalf of the British Fashion Council. Nabil Nayal debuted its Fall 2016 collection on Style.com/Arabia.
Darmaki, whose sun-filled Le Marais-located showroom was sponsored by DDFC this season, is another designer on the rise. Darmaki introduced his eponymous label’s signature origami heel in March 2015 on Style.com/Arabia, and for Fall 2016, he added depth to the line with new textures such as calf-hair, structured silhouettes, and this metallic slide (pictured above). The collection has already been lauded as a must-have by Level Shoe District’s head buyer Alberto Oliveros on Footwear News. Style.com/Arabia will release the first look of the Darmaki Fall 2016 campaign in the coming weeks.
Back over to the heart of the city on the rue Rivoli, we visited Lebanese designer Nathalie Trad who showcased her eponymous line’s Fall 2016 collection and notably unveiled a new line of micro clutches. See the first look of the entire collection and read our notes on the “architect of accessories” here.