When I first relocated here just a little over a year and a half ago, I showed up like most young people- hungry, stars in my eyes, bright eyed and bushy tailed or in my case bushy-maned. I was both equally anxious and eager to see what the local fashion industry had to offer. After a bit of research, I discovered and took note that Abu Dhabi and Dubai operated slightly differently from one another in terms of fashion and style. Many ex-pats would dare say that Abu Dhabi is more conservative and modest with a calmer pulse, while Dubai is much more liberal and modern with the speed of your LA or NY scene.
For my fellow Texans, I liken that Abu Dhabi is to Austin what Dubai is to Dallas- if you can follow. Nonetheless, each offer opportunities to explore the social and fashion scene. However, when it comes to fashion showcases, seminars and events, I have found Dubai to have a much more well rounded offering. Events like Fashion Forward held in the heart of the Dubai Design District and Arab Fashion Week– held at select venues across the city, both subsequently held twice a year, have provided me with a taste of my previous life in fashion show/event production.
The rush, the music, the lighting, the gasps of the ultra chic guests as they prepare to be wowed or in some cases underwhelmed by what they see. That was and is a feeling that I’ve missed. The reactions, the photos, the finale look, seeing an entire cohesive collection in its completion as the designer and their muse make their way down the catwalk or even that extra special finale piece that completely brings out my inner fan-girl. This is the stuff my fashion dreams have always been made off and I still long for that feeling one day with my own collection. #Dontsleeponthekid #waitonit
Ok yes, where was I? So recently I attended my second Arab Fashion Week. This season premiering 2019 Resort Wear and Ready Couture collections from several notable designers. What I love about the notion of ready-couture, is that its similar to ready to wear but kicked up a notch. It gives a feel of opulence but accessibility and an even more defined and refined approach to the idea of day to night, but with a much more luxury feel, as if its coming straight off the runway. Previous seasons of AFW have showcased collections from some of my favorites like Georgina Chapman and Keren Craig’s Marchesa, Laquan Smith and Michael Cinco along with Amato Couture and my newest loves- Nicole + Felicia, who both showcased this season.
Alas, attending this season’s Arab Fashion Week was an absolute treat and even better that it was coined “fashion’s first floating experience“, as it was held aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2- a historically antique cruise liner turned luxe hotel and exhibition center. It was quite the unique experience. But enough of the highlights, let’s get into some looks.
Okay- so special note about me- I LOVE BALLGOWNS. I mean the bigger the better, so much so I think I was a Disney Princess meets 70’s disco queen in drag in a former life. I live for the detailing, the opulence, the glamour and just the fancy feeling that they give you when you enter the room. So it’s no surprise that these designers speak to me.
Let’s discuss Nicole + Felicia for instance, I mean TALK ABOUT DETAILS. Whether its shimmer and shine or feathers and fur, I love rich and luxurious details and could own that black feathered suit in every color- but especially in signature black. #BlackIstheNewBlack
Then there’s AMATO COUTURE by Furne One- a designer I have loved since relocating to the UAE, who opened the showcase on Wednesday night. How amazing was his “Fallen Angels” collection? Not only is he a designer to stars, like my fave- Beyonce, living legends, Toni Braxton & Cher and also Carrie Underwood, but he creates collections that never fail to tell a romantic love story. Rich and detailed in texture and embellishment, Amato Couture is forever show stopping.
The next designer- Mua Mua Dolls are novel and creative as to be expected and also presented on opening night. They are known to create playful pieces highlighting current trendy fashion culture with a play on iconic brands. I witnessed my first Mua Mua Dolls showcase last season and I love their use of color, imagination and embellishments. They were equally as fun this time around.
And finally there was Krie– a featured “green label” designer. What I loved about this collection is that it represented to me what ready couture is. Not only are these pieces environmentally conscious with the use of organic cottons, silks and recycled polyesters, but they were transitional and could easily fit into the lifestyle of a socialite who wants to appear polished and chic but not feel over or under dressed. The details that Krie displayed in their designs were intricate but simple in silhouette, which made it a winner for me in the category of resort. I could easily see in myself in almost every piece that hit the runway- very resort, very jet-set, very Devereaux, and we all know I love a good statement jacket.
Additionally, the Arab Fashion Council offered its support to the “Brides Do Good” initiative, in which brides to be can purchase pre-owned designer and sample wedding gowns from designers like Vera Wang, Elie Saab and Monique Lhullier from Bicester Village in the UK or the Dubai Ladies Club. These purchases assist with educational programming for young girls. Brides Do Good donates up to two thirds of sales to its charity partners in places such as Ethiopia and Nigeria to put an end to child marriage. Talk about giving back to a worthy cause and getting a fabulous garment while doing so. Aren’t a bride to be- but still want to support? Well you can donate your dress in hopes that it can fulfill another woman’s dream of a designer wedding gown.
Lastly, the fashion week ended on Saturday night, but not before my “Mandys” made their appearance. To refresh your memory, these were the shoes that temporarily took the place of my need for the “Jades” by Sophia Webster (check out So I was Jaded). I paired them with a cornflower blue double breasted blazer from Zara, a soft pink Ralph Lauren oxford dress shirt, a silver foiled mini and pastel faux python clutch-both from H&M, pre-monkey sweatshirt scandal might I add. Nonetheless, it came together quite nicely as hubby said and my Mandys will definitely make their way around the UAE a few more times this Summer. Not only are they comfy and cute but uber fun.
Well that’s a wrap on Arab Fashion Week- Resort 2019 Ready Couture. See you next season. Drop me a line and tell me which collection you loved best.