Arwa Al Banawi escapes to Casa Maläna for her eponymous label’s Spring 2017 collection. A recent trip to Barcelona was the starting point for the Saudi designer’s backstory to her 1960s fictional hotel, where its moniker is derived from a play on Arabic words: casa for glass and maläna for full. Speaking to Vogue Arabia about her latest lineup, Al Banawi shares, “The hotel as I imagined is a hole-in-the-wall happy place where guests feel comfortable to be who they are in a worry-free atmosphere.” Translating Al Banawi’s optimistic hideaway are bubblegum pink and aquamarine double-breasted pants suits that reflect on the hotel’s cheerful color palette.
For Spring 2017, Al Banawi continues to dress her muse, which she dubs as the “suitable woman”, with hardworking pieces that transition from day to night. Here she takes on a number of characters that draw on personalities found in hotel lobbies. Dressed for different occasions at any given hour, Al Banawi adds, “A hotel lobby has no dress code per-se. You can come across a woman heading to a late breakfast in her robe who really doesn’t care what people think of her as long she feels comfortable, a woman coming in from a late soirée, or a woman with luggage just arriving to check-in.”
Indeed, a sequined robe, fluid slip dresses, and relaxed silk slacks channel luxury loungewear. Meanwhile, graphic black and white slim-cut co-ords and an off-the-shoulder blazer (doubling up as a mini dress) picks up on transitional separates that work round the clock. Many of the looks build on the brand’s signature suits that are updated in warm weather silhouettes and quirky patterns. A first time for the designer to experiment in designing her own prints, here we see Bermuda shorts coupled with jackets punctuated with rainbows, popsicles and tile motifs.