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These Arab Designers Took London Fashion Week By Storm

Nabil Nayal

Nabil Nayal Fall 2020. Courtesy Nabil Nayal

On account of stay-at-home restrictions and the ongoing pandemic, London Fashion Week, for the first time in its almost 40 year history was held digitally via an online Fashion Week hub. Hosting a suite of virtual showcases, presentations, and workshops, the event ran from June 12 to 14 and featured over 120 artists and brands. Among them were a number of Arab designers, including Egyptian accessories label Sabry Marouf and Syrian couturier Nabil Nayal.

Presenting his tenth collection in the form of a four-minute film, Nabil Nayal’s “Chapter X: The Archives in Blue,” took viewers on a journey through the brand’s archives. Featuring unseen footage of the famed designer’s dramatic new collection, the video comprised a number of signature pieces, all filtered through a poignant blue lens. Shot in collaboration with Revlon Professional UK prior to the onset of Covid-19, the video focused primarily on Nayal’s use of complex, architectural silhouettes; a characteristic he has become well known for in recent years. Featuring whimsical organdie jackets, in addition to hand-smocked dresses, pleated necklines and diaphanous organza skirts, the collection is every bit as intricate as it is bold.

Also using the new digital platform to their advantage, accessories label Sabry Marouf, shared a preview of their Fall 2020 collection in the form of a virtual showroom. Created by designer duo Ahmed Sabry and Daki Marouf, the collection featured a range of clutches and minaudières sculpted out of solid walnut wood and carefully gilded by hand in 22 karat gold leaf. Noting that “a great deal of care and collaboration” went into the making of each piece, the designers noted that their six-piece collection was a testament to their decision to “journey into sustainable development and ethical trade.” Collaborating only “with independent artists, artisans, family-run workshops and small businesses,” the pair are hoping to contribute to and partake in the movement of slow fashion, noting that this collection was “specifically designed to be produced in limited numbers.”

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