Catwalk Confidential | Day 1 | Hussein Bazaza Takes the Stage at Fashion Forward


Hussein Bazaza | Day 1  Fashion Forward Dubai | Hai At Dubai Design District

Not that long ago, the runway was a place to escape reality and let the imagination run wild. It wasn’t just an occasion to view the season’s latest collections, it was a masterpiece, an event; a dramatisation of the designer’s mind.

However, this form of presentation has become much more muted in recent years, with the commercial aspect taking centre stage and the collections consequently becoming less flamboyant and thus, more wearable. That said, the creative flair is still present in many runway shows, be it the choice of venue, the concept or the accompanying music.


It occurred to me at this season’s Fashion Forward that the young emerging talent in Dubai know exactly the right balance to strike. Take Hussein Bazaza’s epic show on Day 1 – the tone was set right from the very beginning; dramatic red spotlights, epic music and a slow procession of models floating down the runway in unison.

The audience was instantly gripped, waiting for the full showpieces to be unveiled. Inspired by the story of Akane, rumoured to be the most enchanting girl in Japan during the WW1 backdrop, her tale is one of sorrow and ultimately revenge.

Following a personal tragedy, Akane set her mind to learning every kind of sorcery imaginable, finally avenging her family in the guise of a tiger-dragon hybrid, a colossal peacock and finally a water dragon, devouring her enemy’s camp and its inhabitants at will. After the destruction, Akane was never to be seen or heard of again. The moral of the tale, Bazaza laments is how powerful an emotion revenge is and the depths of which we will all go to achieve a sense of vengeance.

With this inspiration set firmly within the mind’s eye of the audience, how could one not be captivated by the beautiful array of pieces showcased on the runway?

The 1940s was an obvious influence, with Japanese patterns fused into each design. Bazaza somehow managed to capture the essence of the era and simultaneously give it a distinctly modern edge. Model after model showcased delicate embroidery, intricate embellishment, sumptuous silk and lace detailing and a patchwork of different fabrics woven together to make truly showstopping looks.

The best was yet to come however, with a curtain call for Akane to make her entrance. Her procession down the runway was slow and purposeful, commanding the attention of the audience and ramping up the tension before Bazaza came to take his bow.

Over the top? Absolutely. Breathtaking? Without a doubt. It was the show that had everyone taking. It achieved that instantaneous cultural hype – connecting with the audience on two levels; a theatrical masterpiece to inspire an emotional reaction and a wearable collection that consumers will snap up in a heartbeat. THAT is how it’s done.

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Words by Laura Roberts for The Luxe Diary
Images by Getty Images