As Ramadan approaches, regional and international brands offer chic designs for the long nights of the Holy Month. Dubai-based Lebanese designer Dima Ayad, a democratic brand for real women tells Vogue.me why the kaftan is a must-have piece in your closet. Wear it for a suhoor… or a beach party.
Why are kaftans so relevant for the Middle Eastern woman?
They are in fact tradition. Women wear them at home during the day and they become more glamorous for hosting.
Do you believe in the retail concept of a Ramadan collection?
I do and I consider it somewhat of a capsule collection every year. Thought the year we celebrate being global, with international brands. During Ramadan, Arabia resurfaces and you see women who want to live their traditions. They feel good and proud, and we want to provide this for them.
Your brand is very modern, while and kaftans are traditional garments. In what way do you combine the two worlds?
Because Ramadan falls in and around the summer collection drops, I think of island vacations and lightness, and always a touch of bling. I see sandals on beaches and bandanas, and I also see that same kaftan worn with heels and a done-up look with hair and makeup. I look at them as versatile pieces that have a longer shelf life than just Ramadan. My kaftans are even worn to weddings depending on how they are styled.
Which fabrics did you choose and why?
Light, fluid, metallic, as crease-free as possible. For making them easy to wear and have the right flow.
Do you have any memories related to the kaftan that you always remember?
I remember my grandmother in Beirut. So graceful, so chic in our Lebanese abaya/kaftans that we get from places like Orient. My aunts and mom wear them at home as well, and they are just refined elegance.
Can we say that all being quite dramatic in its silhouette, the kaftan is a quite practical piece?
Completely! And can be re-worn time and time again. Comfort is king!
Which one is your favorite kaftan? Where did you wear it?
My signature kaftan is my favorite. I literally change up its colors and beadwork every year as it’s such a piece!
I wore them to a wedding in Mykonos, a huge suhoor, and to a beach party – the theme was royal Grecian!
How are you dealing with Covid-19 situation as a more niche brand?
So far, I have resorted to speaking to my customer base directly online. We are now an online community so I have created some exclusive pieces that can only be found on dimaayad.com. I’d love to know what they browse and have a direct dialogue with the customer. It’s time to roll our sleeves up and listen!