Bthaina photographed its new collection entitled ‘Persian Spell’ in Anantara Al Jebal Al Akhdar Resort in Oman to capture the Middle Eastern influences for the new-season in 360. Last October, in an exclusive interview with Vogue.me designer Buthaina Al Zadjali hinted at its next collection’s inspiration, teased as “an Arab interior element.” Today, we can reveal that the “element” is in fact the Persian rug, a perpetual source of comfort and symbolism for the Middle East, and beyond.
With Kuwait-based artist Ali Cha’aban turning to the staple Persian rug as the centrepiece to his art, here we witness another creative manifestation from the same societal motif. Expect rich kaftans and featherweight fabrics embroidered with ornate foliage, reminiscent of the traditional woven designs on Persian and Iranian rugs that reflect nature in perfect symmetry. Albeit the Spring 2018 collection is heavily targetted towards its home audience that requires modest clothes with familiar aesthetics, the long-line silhouettes will also translate well to the warmer months in Western cities when teamed with jeans and sneakers or stilettos. Founding designer Al Zadjali sees the industry’s steer towards conservative silhouettes for women as a liberating movement that is here to stay.
“Modest fashion is not just for muslim women.”
From heady lilac to emerald green and lapis blue, there’s a rainbow of colors to suit your every mood and yet, the flowing designs make elegance possible in high heat and there’s room to adapt the garments to suit your climate and preferred dress code.
As Bthaina, the Oman-based brand, has expanded its sphere of influence from its home country to across the Middle East and beyond, via Moda Operandi last Fall 2017, it’s important to note that the brand has far from forgotten its roots. Even in the advent of repositioning itself as a globally relevant brand, the Middle Eastern influences are deeply embedded into its design DNA that one can look to it as a hopeful sign that local brands don’t need to dilute themselves to attract an international customer base. Rather, it is more important than ever before to showcase a strong identity in such a saturated marketplace.
Vogue.me speaks to Al Zadjali about Bthaina’s evolution from kaftan brand to go-to boutique brand, the modest movement, and savvy shopping.
How has the brand evolved since launch?
“I first started out in 2010 designing kaftans and abayas for friends and select customers and after such a positive response I opened my first boutique in Muscat in 2011. It was about a year and a half ago that I decided I wanted to take my brand internationally so I started working with a fashion consultancy in Dubai to rebrand and help take me to the next step. My collections are now sold on Moda Operandi, Ounass and at Harvey Nichols Kuwait. The DNA of the brand is still the same but the design has evolved as we experiment with new embellishment techniques, fabrics, silhouettes and colors.”
Which is your favorite piece from the collection and why?
“My favorite piece would have to be the multi colored wrap as it can be worn over a dress of more casually over jeans and a top.”
Who is this collection aimed at?
“The Bthaina woman is confident, happy and relaxed. She likes to be comfortable yet stylish and appreciates quality and beauty. This season in particular is aimed at women who want to inject a bit of color into their wardrobes!”
Tell us more about the style direction that brand is going towards.
“The style direction is inspired by my personal style, mixing traditional styles with a modern touch to create elegant, timeless pieces. Silhouettes are flowy and flexible for comfort, while fabrics are luxurious. I also love embroidery and embellishments so these are a big feature in my collections. All the embellishments and embroidery are done by hand in my workshop in Muscat so quality and attention to detail are very important to me.”
Do you think the modest movement is here to stay?
“Yes I think so, it’s been a long time coming! In the past it was always really hard to find modest styles that are modern and on trend but now there are so many options, not just from regional designers but also from international brands too. Women of all backgrounds are adopting modest styles in their wardrobes so I believe it’s here to stay.”
What do you hope to see more of in the fashion industry for 2018?
“Less fast fashion, more investing in pieces that will last.”
Click through the Vogue highlights from the Bthaina look book below:
Related Read: Vogue investigates Bthaina’s rebranding