Since living overseas, I have found myself becoming engulfed in the local fashion scene in an attempt to not only network but navigate the international waters while working on my design brand.
There’s been the likes of Fashion Forward and Arab Fashion Week with all their quirks and qualms that have collectively brought creatives together into spaces to preview amazing collections from designers both local and abroad as well as offered seminars surrounding the growth of fashion retail business in today’s economical climate. However, I believe that they now must make way for DIFC Runway.
Now disclaimer- I am unsure if this showcase will be a continual effort ran by the Dubai International Financial Centre or was just a flash in the pan focused on shining a bright spotlight specifically on their community of featured brands – but I will say that if not, I definitely feel its’s worth a try to continue producing shows of this caliber, because the creative minds behind this well-curated evening definitely deserve a round of applause and let me explain why.
First- location. Held on Wednesday, December 18th and hosted within an open air terrace of the DIFC in South Dubai, the centre is a known and happening hub of the financial district of Dubai in which its named. I liken it ot be very similar to that of the NYFW (New York Fashion Weeks) of the pasts that have also been held in the famous financial district of New York, and in my opinion, from a business perspective, it only makes sense that you go where the money or funding is.
Demographically, in most financial districts, you will find well dressed people who typically love and live a luxury lifestyle and tend to operate in a circle of others who do as well. And when I say truly live a luxury lifestyle, I am not talking the instant social media fame of the now and future, but the real and true longevity of wealth from the past, which being me to my next point.
Second- the crowd. Now don’t get me wrong, there were certainly a few insta-famous amongst the attendees as a representation of the sign o’ the times. But for the most part, the crowd seemed to be based of those with a connection to the local fashion industry or to the financial centre.
Have a look at some of the ladies who stood out amongst the very polished crowd.
Third- there was ambiance and atmosphere. This set the tone from the very beginning by having access points on the ground floor with displays from the featured designers and a guest list of RSVPS to be checked.
This allowed for a smooth entrance and crowd control instead of events of the past where it appeared to be an open free for all to whomever walked in. Once your name was confirmed on the guest list- you were then allowed to enter up the branded elevators to the aforementioned open air terrace where the 6pm reception of light bites and drinks was held.
They even had live entertainment for the guest while we waited
The shows were set to start at 7pm, however they didn’t began until around 7:30 and so we will just call that fashionably late. But when they did, they quickly got everyone to their appropriate seats and immediately began which leads to my next point.
The choreography. This was not your typical run of mill, straight shot down the runway style of show. There were cross-overs, pivots and playful nods- making this a real and true production. And then there was the music, I mean come on- the very first designer- Bleach based in Dubai, gave us a mix of some of Janet Jackson’s greatest hits and set the atmosphere from the very beginning.
What I loved about Bleach was its nod to masculine modernity and feminity. Its use of oversized silhouettes represented strength and power and made a statement which I also think is very Janet as well.
Everything about this showcase was on point. The lighting, staging and backdrops,for each and every designer told such a compelling and eye catching story careting a sensory experience before each show began and you all know I love story telling when it comes to fashion. Which leads me to my next point of what made this such a standout show.
The designers. Regional. Lush. And serving looks from the local area with a feeling of modernity along with modesty. And I could get with that.
As seen below- Bouguessa– had an ease about it and I especially love strong neutrals as well brown girls in bold colors like this yellow trench.
Check out the finale highlighting the entire collection below and again peep the choreography
Then there was Thowby- which represented the traditional garb of an abaya but in a way that was more attentive to detail with crystals, flowing fabrics and even a playful pantsuit, that I would certainly purchase.
Thowby also specializes in orginial and custom made abayas to your design and liking
Overall, my favorite collection came from Illustrella Moda– for consistency and overall cohesion from beginning to end- telling the story of cocoon to beautiful butterfly. It was sophisticatedt and so well thought out. Check it out below.
It was so ethereal and whimiscal but also still very structural with its suiting and design. I loved its use of the accordion pleats as sleeve details, and the overly dramatic pantsuits and gowns
After the incredibly well done showcase ended, they invited all the attendees to check out the Fashion House on the ground floor of the DIFC, that featured so many incredibly talented brands from home goods to fashion and accessories.
They served up more hors d voures and a live dj as well as fitting room to try on all the awesomeness from around.
I even ran into a fellow show attendee who was so kind and funny trying on few things throughout the installation. I think that coat was gorgeous on her.
And check out these beautiful pieces from a local Turkish designer
Or this fabulously fluorscent display of sunnies
However, while en route to the Fashion House- there was an art gallery display throughout the halls of beautiful pieces-also for purchase.
Lastly- let’s get into my look for the evening. Because what would it be if I didn’t feature me. I opted to wear “Alexis” that evening and give them a little lady in red action, because well it’s red. And fabulous. And the holidays.
Over a little all black action with a hint of leopard print. Because- well you all know my love for leopard print.
Speaking of leopard print- for a little honorable mention, we found ourselves at Dubai Mall where I ran across these uber adorable- leopard print Minnie Mouse ears at Aldo- who currently have a collaboration with Disney creating leopard print inspired looks.
And caught wind of incredible trend- fabric gift wrapping. Coming soon to a Samuel Christmas near you in 2020. Fun, festive, fancy and functional, because it will be reused again.
As well as this incredible fashion display by Swarovski Crystals.
But back to the show- all in all- I give the DIFC Runway an A+ for all things fabulous. Carlos and I would both agree, as we have visited the area before to check out custom shoes for him and enjoy lunch at the Noodle House.
Which reminds me, this centre is not just for women’s shopping and neither was the showcase as the night before, Tuesday, December 17th, DIFC highlighted their menswear collections and featured brands of the financial district such as Mischief Fashions, which specializes in bespoke men’s clothing- de facto for the dapper man.
Speaking of the dapper man- how dashing was my handsome hubby.
I can’t wait to see when all the brands have built and opened their stores inside the Centre, what more could come to the DIFC. If luxury style is what you are looking for, then you should certainly make your way to the DIFC Runway.
This is my final post for the year 2019 and I really want to thank everyone who has followed my blog this year as well as my journey.
I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!
Stay tuned as you know there is always more to come!
Ho Ho Ho,