“Gemstones have a beauty unlike anything else because they allow light inside and refract it” — David Yurman. That’s the quote that inspired the Fall 2019 couture collection of Atelier Zuhra. The Omani womenswear label presented its newest offering during London Fashion Week on Monday in Covent Garden, showing alongside major labels JW Anderson, Erdem, and Emilia Wickstead. The luxurious and ornate De Vere Grand Connaught Rooms served as the perfect backdrop for the label’s “Infinity” collection, which drew inspiration from precious stones and gems.
This translated into a lineup of jaw-dropping evening gowns created from rich fabrics like tulle, crepe, and organza, in a prismatic color palette of emerald, amethyst, citrine, ruby, and sapphire. Each grandoise, floor-trailing gown, feather-embellished design, and embroidered couture creation that floated down the runway was designed with a specific gemstone in mind. “Each color has a meaning,” explains Rayan Al Sulaimani, the Dubai-based designer who oversees the label. “Red is symbolic of courage, life force, and Passion. Meanwhile, emerald is associated with love, re-birth and fertility. Sapphire symbolizes honesty, and so on and so forth.” The offering was punctuated with form-fitting silhouettes, skirts of all lengths, ostrich-feathers, beads, sequins, and embroideries fit for a queen.
The couture house was launched in 2015 by Mousa Al Awfi, who named the brand after her mother. She opened Dar al Aufi boutique in Dubai, offering in-house eveningwear and bridal designs, and started to build a regional clientele who gravitated towards her enthusiasm for maximalist glamour. In a short time, voluminous and extravagant gowns became the lexicon for Atelier Zuhra.
Showcasing at LFW is a huge milestone for a label that launched less than five years ago. The weight of the achievement isn’t lost on the head designer, who states “It’s like a gateway to heaven.”
“London Fashion Week gives me a chance to showcase my brand at a very monumental and top-tier level. It’s a place where success and opportunity meet, and that works the best for us design aspirants. This week is looked forward by every person who is in someway part of the fashion industry,” she explains. “In a way, this is an open door for my collection to be known internationally. Additionally, it allows me to meet and interact with other fashion designers and influencers of this industry.”