It is always gratifying to see how far modest-dressing has come. No longer a concept bound to only Muslim and Arab women for religious and cultural reasons, dressing modestly is now a preferred sartorial choice of women everywhere looking to balance comfort, style, and elegance. Dutch model Marpessa Hennink is one such woman who has embraced modest fashion as a part of her personal wardrobe.
The model went as far as to pick her own abaya looks from Dolce & Gabbana‘s SS20 ready-to-wear collection to champion modesty in a stunning new photoshoot. A longtime muse of the Italian fashion house, Hennink’s relationship with designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana goes back to when she walked their first-ever fashion show in 1985. “We have a special relationship, which goes beyond a simple work collaboration,” shared the designers with Vogue Arabia. “Looking back at the past, we still remember her first participation in our first fashion show, when we funded and staged the collection-presentation in our small apartment.”
Adding: “What brings us together are many things in common such as our fierce passion for work and the ongoing research of beauty. Marpessa perfectly embodies the values we want to convey with our collection: the importance of colors, lightness as well as traditions, which take us back to our beloved Sicily, as though time had stopped. It is a collection full of love and positivity because this is what we want to tell today.”
This friendship and the fact that this region is close to her heart made Hennink the ideal model to showcase a side of modesty rooted in effortless glamor. We caught up with the D&G muse to learn more about her appreciation of modest fashion and the Middle East.
What does modesty mean to you?
Modesty to me is being stylish with grace. It also depends on everyone’s personal style — you can be eccentric, modern, and edgy yet still carry it with modesty.
What made you choose the abayas that you did for this photoshoot?
It is a very personal take on my own style and therefore gives a glimpse into how I mix and match different elements of the collection. The silk abayas with lace detail are such special pieces that remind me of the beautiful Middle East. I enjoy traveling to the region and I love to meet the people and explore the different countries and cities. Wearing the abaya made me feel very chic and comfortable and at the same time respectful of the local traditions.
I love the way how Dolce&Gabbana combines Italian traditions with the Middle Eastern traditions. I see a lot of common themes between southern Italy and the Middle East such as the black dress or the veil on the hair and these aspects make us feel as we are not as different as we might think we are.
What do you love the most about Arab women’s style?
Arab women are known for their timeless elegance and sensuality. I find their style to be exquisite and very exceptional especially with the way they pay so much attention to detail from the clothing to accessories and makeup. Since I was a little girl, listening to the tales of the Arabian Nights, I have always had a fascination with this part of the world and what really makes me love the Middle East is the generosity of its people, the richness of its culture and I’m addicted to the cuisine.