Undeniably the most masterful (Arab) designer of today, Tunisian born Azzedine Alaïa was given a retrospective at Musée Galliera in Paris celebrating his legendary body-sculpting designs and his muses.
You should already be familiar with eL Seed’s work, as the Tunisian graffiti artist has been collaborating with Louis Vuitton over the past year. Offering one of the most dazzling collaborations between an Arab artist and a mega brand, eL Seed designed a limited edition set of calligraffiti scarves and luggage for the brand.
Another one of Style.com/Arabia’s favorites, the Saudi Arabian Reem Alkanhal has us looking forward to seeing her rise to an international brand inspired by Middle Eastern elegance and reverie. Her Spring 2013 and Fall 2013 collections made for a beautiful exposé on finishing and a strong, cohesive point of view.
When Franca Sozzani decided to put her expert eyes on the GCC’s fashion market in partnership with the Dubai Mall, she selected regional talents including Wadha Al Hajri from Qatar; Beirut-based Saudi designer, Mohammed Ashi; Al Khobar-based Razan Alazzouni an Al Khobar-based designer; and Bahraini designer Lulwa Al Amin. These are some of the most promising designers in the region.
Dubbed D3, the Dubai Design District is a city within a city that will house the emirate’s design, fashion, and luxury industries. Monitored by the Dubai Design and Fashion Council, it aims to offer creative space and business structure to emerging talents of the GCC.
2013 has also been good to Dubai-based designer Nathalie Trad. Shortly after her first presentation during Fashion Forward Season 1, she had been picked up by D’NA in Riyadh and Fivestory New York. Her shell clutches even made it to the Met Gala and were showcased by Mary Katrantzou.
The Fujairah Princess is not only a torch bearer for the UAE, she is also on the forefront of a new generation of talented designers from the Middle East and on Style.com/Arabia’s radar since her debut collection in 2011. Recently awarded Fashion Designer of the Year at the 2013 Arab Woman Awards, her upcoming Fall 2014 collection is one of the most anticipated of the region.
As per Dubai’s ambition to no longer be a client market, but rather to provide its designers a structured event to broadcast their collection, Fashion Forward has quickly become a platform for fashion in the Middle East. This past season, Style.com/Arabia reviewed each of the shows in our typically journalistic style. Some reviews were highly encouraging, and others more critical, but all were an important step in the evolution of our regional market.
Saudi Arabian designer Hatem Alakeel took the traditional thobe to a different level, and then proceeded to launch his womenswear line, Femme by Hatem Alakeel, last Ramadan.
Eyewear reference Linda Farrow selected Bahraini designer Khaleda Rajab and Kuwaiti accessory designer Fahad Almarzouq to design a literal version of a cat-eye, making for one of the most covetable accessories stemming from our region this year.
This year marked a change for Rami Al Ali. His Paris Haute Couture shows are gaining more traction, his dresses are seen on many more elegant ladies, and to top it off, he is being chosen by more and more superstars for their red carpets moments. What else could the Syrian designer wish for?
It seems like the GCC has a newfound interest in grooming and promoting fashion designers. Last August, the National Committee at the Council of Saudi Chambers announced its decision to establish an association to promote the talents of Saudi women and support their fashion-related projects throughout the Kingdom.
Located at Sowwah Square, the new financial district on Al Maryah Island, the three-level luxury retail space opened its doors in August 2013, featuring a selection of 130 ready-to-wear brands, accessories, jewelry, and beauty products, including 50 labels being introduced to Abu Dhabi for the first time.