Although Paris Couture Week was struck off our calendars this year due to Covid-19, Syrian designer Rami Al Ali is finding new ways to impart the inimitable essence of high fashion, even while we’re staying home.
In a special digital campaign featuring lauded creations from the past, the Dubai-based couturier collaborated with other local artists to capture the power of creative expression amidst a transformative societal landscape. Surpassing the limitations of former lockdown restrictions, three UAE creators explored the limitless potentials of imagination in a photoshoot featuring Al Ali’s Spring/Summer 2020 collection presented in Paris back in January. Syrian-Palestinian model Lana Albeik and French-Persian DJ Parvané Barret dressed in the SS20 season’s opulent pastel-hued gowns while renowned photographer Prod Antzoulis captured his muse Katrine Hanna in the same in a shoot embedded with the magic of finding beauty and optimism even in the darkest of times.
“We wanted to show that fashion could have a very positive impact on people and could be very hopeful even in difficult situations,” Al Ali exclusively shared with Vogue Arabia. “The idea was to provoke their creativity and explore their imagination with the challenge of shooting with limited tools from their home during the lockdown. They represent a new generation of modern creators and having them shooting couture gowns at home was quite decadent and cool at the same time. It was also a way to be creative and to escape the reality.”
In an intimate display of the fashion house’s romantic orchid-inspired gowns, the creative trio explored different locations of their home that not only reflects their individual personalities but also stages the ideal backdrop for highlighting Al Ali’s signature meticulous beadwork and exquisite craftsmanship.
“My house has always been just my house, yet now, I did an entire shoot in the corners of my living room; somewhere that I spend most of my time in everyday has now become a place for me to create,” explained Barret. As someone who chooses to find the silver lining in situations that can be perceived as “negative”, the DJ credited this experience as one that gave her the opportunity to push her artistry to its limits. “Even during times like these, you can still tell your story and express yourself through creativity. It just demands more from your imagination.”
Wearing a piece as extravagant as one of Al Ali’s couture garden masterpieces while under lockdown did provide a sense of escapism for Albeik, but she didn’t take this precious freedom lightly. “Putting this on and getting my makeup done made me feel like a fairy even though I had nowhere to go,” commented Albeik, who looked every inch the part in a mint peplum cocktail dress adorned with gold-colored embellishments. “Being able to still do fun creative work from home is a privilege, especially with Rami Al Ali.”
Considering the release of Al Ali’s next couture collection is yet to be decided after the couturier canceled his Fall-Winter 2020/21 show in light of the pandemic as well as efforts to be more sustainably conscious about seasonal productions, this digital at-home campaign is a welcome surprise that is likely representative of the industry’s imminent changes into a new normal.