On Thursday, Ashi Studio became the first guest member from the Gulf to show at Paris Couture Week by invitation of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode. Helmed by Saudi Arabian couturier Mohammed Ashi, the brand was one of the two new entries to this year’s Fall calendar. Below, check out five highlights from the show to remember.
Inspired by Patrick Süskind’s novel Perfume
For his latest couture collection, Ashi looked to Patrick Süskind’s novel Perfume for inspiration. The fantasy book set in the 18th century tells the story of an orphan with an extraordinary sense of smell as he gets overwhelmed by its sheer power. “The dark romance of that novel attracted and pushed me,” Ashi told Vogue. “The collection is about extracting beauty from deep inside to the outside.”
Powerful emotions permeated the collection
In line with this inspiration, Ashi’s designs were imbued with emotions beyond his usual romanticism, such as passion, obsession, and mystery. Befitting femme fatales and heroines, each dress showcased meticulous craftsmanship with the aim to “reconstruct immaterial notions of memory, yearning, and fragrance into couture.”
Elements of perfume informed the silhouettes
References to fragrance were seen throughout the collection, with an S-curved dress resembling a modern perfume bottle, origami-like folds on an evening gown mirroring vintage flacons, and velvet made out of a mesh of grass honoring the material used for perfume extraction. To top it all off, embroidery, beading, and copper threads lent an evanescent shimmer to evening looks.
The collection was unveiled at Théâtre du Châtelet
For a dramatic first foray into Paris Couture Week’s official calendar, Ashi chose the stage of the historic Théâtre du Châtelet to unveil the collection. Built between 1860 and 1862, the venue has staged countless dramas, operettas, and ballet performances, and is an important landmark in the city’s cultural landscape.
The show marked a remarkable moment in Arab fashion history
Ashi Studio’s invitation to the Paris Couture Week as the first Gulf designer is a testament to the Middle East’s growing impression on the global fashion industry and will go down in history. “This invitation is the most profound moment to occur in my career,” shared about the guest membership with Vogue Arabia. “The federation called me in mid-April to inform me. I was so stunned that I didn’t speak for three hours. I thought back to my humble beginnings – I had hired one first seamstress to give life to the images in my head.”