Rivaling Fashion Week authorities such as Milan, Paris, London and New York, for its 10th edition as the premier fashion destination of the Middle East, Fashion Forward Dubai made its mark once again, expanding throughout the central quarter of Dubai Design District and growing its reach from invite-only to anyone and everyone who loves fashion.
The four-day affair, which is held bi-annually in April and October, featured talks, runway shows, presentations, pop-ups, exhibitions, shopping, music and film. The results churned out a creative mecca; supporting Middle Eastern talent, fostering industry discussion and professional development, and bringing together regional and global fashion communities. This season, they even opened their doors for international designers to take part, upping the ante and further exposing FFWD as a flourishing event on the international fashion calendar.
With runway shows and presentations at its core, 28 couture, ready-to-wear and accessories designers presented their latest collections, including the likes of home-grown talent Madiyah Al Sharqi, Lebanon-based Lara Khoury, London-based Eudon Choi and Ukraine-based Anna K.
Alongside showcases were a series of inspiring seminars and panel discussions led by global industry experts. ORDRE’s very own CEO Simon P. Lock hosted a talk about reaching buyers online, whilst fashion designer and print savant Mary Katrantzou interchanged ideas and perspectives with Ghizlan Guenez, CEO and founder of progressive fashion journal, The Modist.
In support of their 10th anniversary and in our dedicated pursuit to nurture emerging talent, ORDRE teamed up with Fashion Forward Dubai this season to offer some of the most enterprising designers the opportunity to showcase in our online wholesale showrooms.
MADIYAH AL SHARQI
Fujairah-based designer Madiyah Al Sharqi turned heads both locally and internationally, by serving up a collection spilling with beautiful fabrics and a delectable colour palette of powder rainbow hues. Designed in the UAE and made in Switzerland, the collection featured unique combinations of satin, silk, lace and metallic fabrics. Elegant silhouettes were presented as form-hugging trench coats, flowing flared trousers, ruffled midi skirts, sheer turtleneck blouses and feminine tunics, all expertly embellished and finished with dainty frills.
Hailing from Beirut, ORDRE designer Lara Khoury’s SS’18 collection held a sense of languid ease, as soft, flowing volumes and fluid shapes glided down the runway. Inspired by the Golden Ages of Beirut during the 50’s and 60’s, Khoury referenced elements from black and white vintage images lensed by Lebanese photographer Hashem el Madani. The collection was intended to capture the sheer beauty of Beirut whilst staying true to the brand’s signature essence of comfort, class and effortless beauty. Billowing maxi dresses transformed like clouds, with asymmetrical cuts and airy sarouel trousers adding a touch of modern edginess.
Korean-born and based in London, Eudon Choi is a designer with a flair for creating effortless wardrobe staples that have fresh and unexpected twists. This season, he was inspired by coastal towns of the French Riviera and the artful aesthetics of a villa built on the Côte d’Azur in 1929 by Modernist Architect Eileen Gray. Referencing kinetic furniture pieces that could convert into varying forms, Choi’s SS’18 collection boasted transformable suit jackets that could ingeniously turn into capes. Other standouts included laidback separates with a fine tailored finesse, pedal pushers, lounge trousers and off-the-shoulder combinations that all had an essence of je ne sais quoi about them. These were finished off with subtle elements of seaside charm; nautical pinstripes, sailor collars and straw sun hats fashioned into handbags.
A household name back home in Ukraine and a burgeoning ‘It’ label in the international fashion scene, 21-year-old Anna K. brought her trademark youthful girlishness to the Middle-Eastern landscape, though this season’s collection seemed revamped with a more grown-up feel. Keeping sheerness a core element of the collection, the designer played with flouncy tiered ruffles, gathered bell sleeve swing dresses, sweet peplum-style details and graceful frills. Unexpected edgier elements came in the form of sheer sports inspired drawstring hoodies, exoskeletal cage elements, peeking sportsbras and a whole lot of denim hand painted with bold graphic slogans.
Syrian-British designer Nabil Nayal is a force to be reckoned with. Winning the attention of Karl Lagerfeld while showing at Paris Fashion Week, he’s become renowned for his obsession with the Elizabethan period, weaving and reimagining historical silhouettes and motifs into highly sophisticated modern designs. His SS’18 collection saw a strict palette of stark black and crisp white, with Poplin and delicate silks chosen as hero fabrics. Puffed shakespearean sleeve shirts, sculptural ruffle and pleated necklines and exaggerated shirt dresses were designed so elegantly, keeping them instantly wearable and versatile. Pieces could be worn from office meetings to cocktail parties, holding a perfect balance between drama and sophisticated femininity.
Sid Neigum is an expert at transforming the female form into a statuesque work of art, designing clothing that fit and drape like a dream. With a mathematical approach to design, he is an avid believer in the beauty and power of the golden ratio, which he infuses into each creation, producing sculptural yet precisely constructed garments that always remain highly wearable. For his SS’18 collection, Neigum played with delicate, geometric silhouettes and simple fluctuating proportions, presenting waterfall tunics and column dresses, white poplin bell sleeve blouses and stunning fan inspired tops and dresses sculpted from pleats and gathers.