Fashion Forward season 10 wrapped up this Saturday after 3 days of shows, presentations, talks, street style and for us, unhealthy amounts of double espresso from The Espresso Lab.
For the first time this year, the festival invested Dubai Design District itself and its main buildings, integrating D3’s boutiques and restaurants as key players within the event, notably Closet Case which hosted a Meet and Greet and SeeNow BuyNow with Persian designer Babak Vosoughi or just recently opened General 3am that displayed Arwa Al Banawi’s collection fresh off her catwalk show.
Talking about shows, Lebanese designer Roni Helou opened the festivities on Thursday with a casual-chic collection for which Lebanese shoe designer Emma Boutros of Poise Design collaborated, presenting matching-patterns mules and flats with avant-garde folded details.
Wearable yet conceptual, Roni’s collection integrated some oversized shirts structured by corsets worn over, fluidity, geometrical patterns and springy prints made almost futuristic.
Styling was mesmerizing, giving the whole show an electric feel that made us want to call our banker and not even lie to him: we are going to purchase it all.
From Roni Helou, we moved forward to Arwa Al Banawi’s show in the nearby hall, expecting nothing but urban tailoring with a feminine twist.
And Arwa delivered. Tonic colors, glitters, oversized shoulders, pop prints: this collection aligns with her previous one. The Al Banawi women is still “Suitable” but this time in a more cross-country way.
If we wished to see more suited pants and less leggings, the collection was well balanced and is almost undoubtedly set to be sold out pretty soon.
Aside from the shows, The Garden, a showroom hall exhibiting designers ranging from ready-to-wear to jewelry and accessories was the perfect set-up to discover amazing regional labels as well as enabling us to keep up with some of our favorites (Tania George, Narinée, Amira Haroon, Joud Design…).
Right across it, Fashion Future offered an actual jump into a bath of creativity. Recent graduates of Fashion programs from all over the world packed their suitcases to exhibit their final year collections in Dubai.
From LAU – Elie Saab – LCF student Nour Daher and her delicate collection proposing printed see-through blouses, embellished corsets and vests to Yao Yao, a DongHua Shanghai and Bunka Tokyo graduate whose collection made out of mesh, straws and shiny strings, we were left captivated. This whole section of FFWD was a real gust of refreshing air, obviously far from commercial constraints.
For those who wished to be fashionably studious, talks were also an important part of FFWD, bringing out -to only name them-international fashion designer Mary Katranzou to the scene as well as the Arab World’s most influential influencer Lana El Sehaly of L’Armoire de Lana who discussed the impact of digital front-scene figures and how they shape the Fashion landscape.
Another 4 remarkable shows that definitely stood out include Lebanese designer Hussein Bazaza who genuinely changed the way we perceive Middle-Eastern couture, turning it into something playful that while it remains glitters and dramatic cuts is finally also contemporary and graphic. Emma Boutros of Poise Design signed here her second partnership for this FFWD, creating very seductive escarpins to compliment Hussein’s designs.
Amine Bendriouich’s show was the essence of what Urban wear represents with hoodies, sweat-pants, edgy prints and the models just literally throwing a party on the catwalk.
One of JDEED’s first interviewed designer, Saudi native Mashael Alrajhi, was all about loose sporty cuts, not gender fluid but not far, pieces that weren’t without reminding us of Marine Serre’s amazing LVMH prize winning collection. In a period of time where sport brands are the new fashion dictators, Mashael perfectly catches the zeitgeist, adding puffed sleeves or ruffled details that give the whole thing an incredibly contemporary feel.
Lastly, Sadeem’s collection didn’t disappoint, presenting a flirty and feminine working-wear, the perfect office to the party kind of clothes punctuated here and there by funky elements such as a bright orange and flared cuts.
Fashion Forward and Dubai Design District proved one more time that the city is an undeniable regional Fashion Hub, where established designers confirm their talent and where emerging ones spread their wings towards promising careers.