We catch up with four emerging talents from the Middle East, hand-picked by Franca Sozzani of Vogue Italia to showcase their work at the Vogue Dubai Fashion Experience (VDFE)
Amidst all the manic buzz at Dubai malls, with VDFE visitors rushing to get special false eyelashes at Kenzos, trying to unlock and snag a
pair of Jimmy Choos, interact with Donatella Versace at her store, bag some unreleased Chanel goodies or catch the dynamic Roberto and Eva Cavalli at the new Roberto Cavalli Junior boutique, the spotlight was firmly focused on four young designers from the region
— abhaya clad Wadha Al Hajiri, suave Mohammed Ashi, the very global Razzan Alazouni and the peppy Lulwa Al Amin.
Ramping it up
Mohammed Ashi from Saudi Arabia, famously known for impressing Anna Wintour, epitomises femininity and old world glamour in his work. His collection of dresses at VDFE was flamboyant, textural, interesting, luxurious, fun, daring and dramatic. Using the sheer concept to flatter the female form, he literally floated his models down the runway in ethereal gowns in shades of ecru, cream and red. We loved his clever use of feathers, flower appliqué and asymmetrical volumes. Prices start at Rs30,000. Available at Symphony, Dubai Mall. Details: ashistudio.com
East meets west
Saudi Arabia-born Razzan Alazouni has been dressing Hollywood celebrities like Paris Hilton and Emma Roberts. Her Arab ethnicity surfaces in her silk and chiffon dresses and skirts, embellished with beads, fine embroidery and distinctive floral designs. “We use the beading technique gently so that the fabric does not stiffen awkwardly on the garment,” she explains, adding, “One of my wedding dresses used 82 metres of fabric, took 2,000 hours of hand beading and cost 18,000USD.” Alazouni’s collection was more casual, with a lot of fun, whimsy and playfulness. Her separates in black, gold and turquoise were casual with a definite old school 60s vibe.
Starting at Rs18,000.Details: razanalazzouni.com
Wadha AlHajri, demurely clad in an abhaya, carries a strong cofident appeal through her designs that come through the fine fabrics and structured, almost stark dresses. She uses shades of black, white, silver and beige and fabrics produced exclusively in France. Describing her work she says, “My culture totally defines me. I have strong opinions, about politics and life and I am a working mum. But I make clothes for bold yet elegant women who appreciate the hours of fine handwork that go into each garment.” Wadha uses an interpretation of the Mashrabiya design (wooden lattice work) in her voluminous yet structured silhouettes — dresses,
capes, and caplets. We loved the quirky eyes and lips embroidered on some of the dresses and the fine drape and fall in the formal gowns with a bit of pleated detail. Prices start at Rs30,000.Details:wadha.co
Bahraini designer Lulwa Al Amin’s 17- piece collection was all about prints. Inspired by the lifestyle of Indian royalty, the late Gayatri Devi in particular, prints are clearly her forte. “My professors encouraged me to pursue textile design together with my other design courses. So I begin each of my collections by designing the textiles myself which have become a part of my signature style,” she explains, using intricate details and imagery reminiscent of palaces, fretwork and ornate rooms in vibrant pinks, greens and turquoise. Prices start at Rs20,000. Details : +973 39600495
The writer was invited by Emaar Groups to the event.
— Jackie Pinto