The five 2017 DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize accessories and three high jewelry design finalists have already opened up their Spring 2018 look books for us, and now it’s time to get acquainted with the collections of the five ready-to-wear front-runners. Below, Faissal El Malak, Nour Najem, Lama Jouni, Latifa Al Gurg (Twisted Roots), and Fatma Al Mulla (FMM Dubai) reveal exclusive snippets of their Spring 2018 collections on Vogue.me ahead of their jury presentation this week.
FAISSAL EL MALAK
Faissal El Malak
“Aptly named Echoic Memory, the Spring 2018 Faissal El-Malak collection mimics this sensation by gathering images and sounds throughout time and across borders to curate a museum of experiences. From the dark romance of mid-nineteenth century pre-Raphaelite paintings to the emancipation of 1920s women’s fashion to the electric pop energy of the nineties, these stimuli synthesize to create a unique collection. Together, these elements reemerge in contemporary forms yet are paired with contrasting associations of color, texture, volume, and motifs.
The Faissal El-Malak woman remains the same but her newly found introspection has enabled her story to evolve and for her to embrace form and color. The hues also hark back to Echoic Memory with lilac tones that symbolize a past love during the Victorian era alongside splashes of warm persimmon— the divine fruit— that elicit a sweet, glossy red-orange summer sunset. She still remains loyal to the handwoven textiles from Egypt and skilful weavings of Yemen in their modern incarnations in textile and embroidery. While retaining its infatuation for the Orient, Echoic Memory is a contemporary joining of her experiences and treasured artefacts.”
“I wanted to embody the 90s in a very subtle way. The collection’s name is “Back To Basics,” meaning I wanted to take my designs back to its basic silhouettes while still keeping the urban attitude and sophisticated, glamorous style. I played with geometry in wool blend prints, back to basics hoodies and t-shirts, low waist pants with box pleats, and a different take on the bum bag. I also added the simple bias-cut dress with boning on the top to give it structure. The collection also includes sequinned abstract jackets and shirts, draped off-shoulder bodysuits, traveling sets, and cool suits. I focused more on the sleek cuts and simple construction of the 90s with minimal lines and textures. To sum it up I wanted the collection to be versatile, and to complete a woman’s closet.”
Latifa Al Gurg
“My main inspiration for this collection comes from Park Guell in the beautiful city of Barcelona. After visiting and taking in my surroundings, there was so much that caught my attention.
It’s a playground for the mind: visual jokes, like columns that simulate palm-tree trunks, rubble-surfaced arches that grow out of the ground, quilts of ceramic tiles of all colors, some randomly arranged, some in patterns. The beauty of these ceramic tiles and Gaudi’s analysis of geometry are what caught my eye the most. These tiles where used for their artistic expressive qualities but also for their relatively economical value. This method is called Trencadis, thus the Catalan name for the bench ‘Banc de Trencadis’. This repeated juxtaposition of curves and straight lines is the main influence behind Tessellation and although never fully completed, it still remains one of Gaudi’s most colorful and playful works.
The connection to tiling is also once again emphasized when at the top of the park looking over the city of Barcelona. With its streets acting like the grout that keeps the city together.
The Collection focuses on the concept of creating pattern and shape similar to that of Gaudi’s. Just as he had a focus of different shapes and forms, I also felt this collection needed that too. The main result of this is our fabric manipulations. I created shapes and patterns using the same tile effect and also created another interpretation of tiling through negative space. In terms of shape, just as park Guell has the intricacies of its tiling, most of the shapes are smooth and simple. With so much attention to detail and keeping in mind the brand identity. The collection stays true to Twisted Roots identity of clean and simple silhouettes while still incorporating the juxtaposition between straight lines and soft curves.”
Fatma Al Mulla
“FMM is one of the leading Emirati homegrown brands when it comes to popular culture and pop art. I wanted to emphasize my culture as an Emirati by juxtaposing colors and patterns that reflect my community and heritage. Color is not something that I take lightly. As a designer, I feel orchestrating colors and patterns is like orchestrating a live orchestra: all the instruments have to be harmonious and in complete sync. My colors and patterns all have to have the same direction and reflect the same spirit. It is the same when it comes to designing my pieces. I love to create a contrast of different colors and patterns that one would never think could possibly go together.”
Nour Najem shares her collection story in the form of poetry:
Re-defining the realms of possibilities
Dreams and reality meet at the seams of consciousness.
Far from being mutually exclusive; one drives
the other while trying to conquer it. Only to find
itself even more entangled and intertwined in
an everlasting chasing game, where the conqueror
is generally conquered.
Dreams and Reality, separated by the very thin
line that is the realm of possibilities.
A line inviting us to cross everyday,
only to re-position itself a little further.
Inviting us to push, surpass and rise above ourselves,
as we’re faced with reality.
I had a vision of love, serenity, faith, acceptance
and humility, where boundaries and walls of separation are
nothing but distant memories.
I saw simple and minimal lines that long for
freedom, soft sensual cuts charged with historical
and cultural codes, and rimmed with handmade
I felt soft and natural fabrics, some opaque,
others translucent, raw, fine, plain..
completely reconstructed and re-purposed
materials that merge all together, allowing
room for breath, movement, appreciation
and self expression whilst still maintaining the
unspoken mystery of destinies unfolding
to the rhythm of dreams and ambitions that
stop at nothing.
I noticed contrasting colors, light and airy,
rich and saturated, engorged with the luxury
of simplicity and the mysterious tale of a day
in the Orient.
I visualized women shedding their inhibitions
and their protective armors.
Women embracing their humanity, and putting
it on a pedestal as their greatest asset.
Women embracing the strength of being vulnerable,
of being open, of being alive, really, truly,
fully, for better and for worse.
Breaking the walls.
Walking the line.
Grasping what was once out of reach.
Redefining every day the realm of possibilities.”