As the fourth edition of Arab Fashion Week came to a close this Saturday, we look back at some of our favourite runway highlights during this five-day prestigious event…
This internationally renowned designer never fails to put on a spectacular display, delighting audiences time and time again with his stunning gowns and expert showmanship. One must also applaud his commercial appeal and skilful timing, masterfully showing at AFW and at the same time garnering worldwide praise at Cannes, thanks to his breathtaking Cinderella-esque dress worn by Aishwarya Rai.
The column inches racked up by Cinco in 24 hours was nothing short of incredible; the perfect backdrop to debut his regal collection of Ready-Couture creations inspired by India. The Dubai-based couturier took visual cues from the architecture and royal jewels of the maharajas, with signature looks featuring complex embroidery and Swarovski crystals, woven in to complement beautiful base shades of royal blue, gold and cream.
The guest of honour, Marchesa concluded Day one at AFW with a stunning Ready-To-Wear collection featuring beautiful evening gowns with intricate details and embroidery- a signature of any Marchesa garment.
What makes this debut even more exciting is the launch of the brand’s first store in Dubai, indicating huge potential to crack the Arab market. Already internationally recognised as an A-list favourite, Marchesa also showcased their bridal collection on the final day to huge acclaim with lace, bows and romantic ruffles particular highlights.
Fresh from her FFWD success in March, Russian designer Kristina Fidelskaya was a hot ticket for this season at AFW and she did not disappoint. A collection of feminine evening gowns in nude and pastel colours, punctuated with touches of dark blue romped down the runway to rapturous applause.
As with her Ready-To- Wear collection, Fidelskaya’s knowledge of exquisite tailoring techniques combined with the use of light and breathable fabrics created a sense of modernity and enchantment throughout all 24 looks presented.
Beautifully simplistic in its conception and colour palette, Dubai-based British designer Zoe Eckett delighted crowds on day three with her abaya and jalabiya collection utilising the finest silk satin, French lace and velvet fabrics.
Each look was meticulously styled with either a hijab or a stylish turban headpiece, finished with crystal-embellished accessories. The blush and taupe tones gave an ethereal quality to the models who wore the garments, whilst the flashes of traditional black woven throughout the collection helped create a showstopping finale.
A curveball considering the more traditional couture on offer, but we loved American designer, Laquan Smith’s quirky collection of signature PVC catsuits, corseted dresses, python knits and over-the- knee boots. Designing with a view to create outfits for an ‘unapologetically glamorous’ woman, he certainly delivered on his promise, showcasing a range for every occasion imaginable. Despite the provocative nature of his design aesthetic, it definitely won’t appeal to everyone, but it does evoke a sense of mischief among those who really want to leave a lasting impression. Great fun to watch and an enviable insta-feed of influencers, models and celebrities showcasing their designs make them worthy of inclusion.
While Fashion Forward arguably generates more fanfare, Arab Fashion Week is clearly taking a different approach to securing its place within the global fashion arena. The Arab Fashion Council have been strategising to position AFW alongside the four other main marque events around the world in New York, London, Milan and Paris- and it’s working. Officially recognised on the International calendar, AFW is the only official fashion week in the world for promoting the Ready-Couture and Pre-Collections, which defines the international industry scene of luxury fashion in Dubai and Arab world.
Words by Laura Roberts.
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