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The Fashion Prize Ready-to-Wear Finalists’ Real-Life Muses…

Lama Jouni SS18 moodboard

As the 2017 DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize finalists gear up to present their Spring 2018 collections to an expert panel of judges this week – including Vogue Arabia Editor-in-Chief, Manuel Arnaut, Lebanese designer Reem Acra, and founder and creative director of Aquazzura, Edgardo Osorio (see the full list here) – explores how the finalists bring their collections to life.

We’ve already presented you with an intimate tour of the brand ateliers and workspaces, as well as an exclusive sneak peek at the finalists’ Spring 2018 collection look books, and now we take a look at the inspirations and muses igniting the collections. From mothers to close friends, below, the five ready-to-wear design finalists, Faissal El-Malak, Lama Jouni, Nour Najem, Latifa Al Gurg (Twisted Roots), and Fatma Al Mulla (FMM Dubai) reveal their muses.

By Faissal El-Malak

“What I find the most inspiring is a sense of humor and a truly personal style. My muses are real women – friends or people I meet, even if just for a moment in the street or at an opening. There is always a twist in the way they dress, whether a vintage piece, a great item from a young designer, or quirky shoes or accessories. It’s not about being perfect or on-trend – it’s about being themselves and having fun while doing it.
One of my muses that I always come to for inspiration and advice is my dear friend, stylist and soon to be director Pam Nasr. Pam’s eye is very special and I love the way she puts outfits and stories together, whether for herself or in our collaborations. There’s always something very playful and free-spirited in what she does. Pam has a similar heritage to mine, she is Lebanese and grew up in Dubai. It’s intriguing to see how this cultural background can affect us both in very different ways and how her style influences mine. My muse is first and foremost a genuine and sincere woman that evokes beauty from within.”

By Nour Najem

“Albeit a little old fashioned, Peter Sarstedt’s song ‘Where Do You Go To My Lovely’ describes the Nour Najem woman. She doesn’t do or have anything that is bland, or lacks identity. She lives in the moment, she’s not stuck in the past nor living for her future. She wants to experience everything fully, and be completely present. She isn’t a socialite, but is definitely distinguished, and doesn’t go unnoticed.  She doesn’t like to be defined or constricted by society in any way. She is independent and flows freely from group to group.
She can make any gathering all about her, but would almost always prefer being in smaller committees, with her loved ones or having deep and meaningful conversations. She makes no time for frivolous things, and values above all being true to herself and spending her time, energy, and attention on things that matter. She has zero tolerance for anything fake. She’s the kind of woman everyone listens to, because her advice and opinions are genuine and unselfish, and don’t reflect her insecurities. She’s as real and as raw as it gets. Unafraid of taking a stand, of being true to her voice, and unafraid of being vulnerable.”

By Lama Jouni

Photo: Rex

“I always tend to go back to women as an inspiration in my research. Every season has its muse and, once again, my muse is a great artist and performer I relate to and look up to. This season I was very inspired by several women for their various features and characteristics, such as Whitney Houston, especially after watching the documentary Whitney: Can I be Me, which greatly moved me. As a struggling artist, she proved women who are sensitive, vulnerable, and kind can represent such great strength and power to women all over the world. Regardless of her hardship, Whitney still proved to her female audience that getting back up stronger than ever was the way to live and succeed.
I am also inspired by Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Sarah Jessica Parker, and Kate Moss due to the representation of timeless beauty and graceful aging. I believe women who embrace their age are excellent icons, muses, and role models to many women. Therefore, women who reflect strength, vulnerability, and aging with a timeless beauty that can be passed down to many generations, are the women who inspire me in my everyday life.”

By Latifa Al Gurg

Twisted Roots SS18 inspiration board

“I don’t really have a muse in the way of what is conventionally thought of as one. However, if we look at the role of the muse, it’s to inspire the voice and creativity of the brand. For me, I feel this comes from both my upbringing and the sense of exploration that is rooted in the brand. My upbringing guided me towards an appreciation for design, especially in architecture, and a true belief in form following function. It also guided me to look for opportunities to grow and learn in every aspect of my life. These two facets led me to start designing and are my beacons in every collection.”

By Fatma Al Mulla

FMM Dubai SS18 look book

“My muse for this particular collection is my mother, who serves as one of my greatest role models. To me, she is the embodiment of confidence, taking pride in wearing and experimenting with different colors and patterns, and not being afraid to stand out in the crowd. I want to share and instill this form of confidence into anyone who purchases and wears FMM, and encourage them to defy norms. In today’s society, you can rely on fashion to express yourself and your views, and my goal is to make expressive fashion available to my market. I believe, as a culture, we need to celebrate and embrace our unique distinctions from one another rather than hide it. By embracing our individuality, we encourage others to do so – and that is why I’m curating such a colorful and pattern-heavy collection.”

Read This Next: See the Fashion Prize RTW Finalists’ Spring 2018 Collections

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