Emirati designer Shatha Essa has teamed up with the award-winning calligrapher Wissam Shawkat to create a bespoke collection for Eid 2019. Called “Art of the Pen”, the collection of hand-embroidered kaftans boasts Arabic calligraphy in a bid to break the norm of it being perceived only as a form of art flowing from pen to paper.
“This collaboration, between a fashion designer and a calligrapher, is not a traditional one as my designs acted as the canvas to Wissam’s creations. He used different letters using different Arabic calligraphy styles for each and every piece,” shared Essa with Vogue.me
Essa and Shawkat’s relationship goes way back. Once her teacher, Shawkat’s modern take on the art deeply rooted tradition motivated the designer to create a collection surrounding it. “I was and still am inspired by the famous Arabic calligrapher Wissam Shawkat. His work transcends and truly depicts the work of a modern yet traditional artist. Wissam Shawkat, was once my teacher and I always thought of adding a special touch to my designs so I thought who better to collaborate with than my teacher. The Ramadan/Eid season seemed like a perfect time to blend two different yet beautiful forms of Arabic art,” said Essa.
For the Emirati designer, Arabic calligraphy is a part of a culture which she honors even in her daily life. “Arabic calligraphy fuels me. I have artworks all around my house showing beautiful works of different artists. I’m amazed by how it has been passed down over generations and how it was able to withstand the test of time, which inspired me to play a part in preserving this traditional form of art through my designs.”
The use of rich shades of green and yellow, intermingled with neutral and pastel colors adds to the elegance of the collection. Featuring capes, dresses, and kaftans with semi-contrasting hand embroidery, the collection’s luxurious fabrics combined with the Shawkat’s graceful calligraphy makes everything a piece of art. “Wissam’s work exudes elegance while boasting minimalism,” remarks Essa. “This complements my Eid collection as I have fused Wissam’s beautiful artwork into my hand embroidered kaftans; it’s like you’re wearing an art piece made out of love. Those feminine silhouettes and the delicate color palette with exclusive calligraphy form a graceful aesthetic which is perfect for an Eid look.”
When it comes to completing the Eid look, Essa’s style-tip is to keep it understated with “your favorite heels and simple jewelry. I would complement the look with a blow-dry with curled ends and natural makeup with a matte lipstick.”
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