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.