Arab Fashion Week in Dubai sets sail aboard Queen Elizabeth II


DUBAI: The world’s first floating fashion week got off to a stylish, if not very delayed, start on Wednesday night as industry insiders gathered aboard the newly inaugurated naval hotel, the Queen Elizabeth II, which is docked in Dubai.

The Arab Fashion Council’s sixth edition of Arab Fashion Week in Dubai is set to showcase runway shows by 18 international designers including homegrown brand Amato Couture, which kicked off the event with a catwalk show.

Launched in 2002 in the UAE, Amato Couture is the brainchild of Filipino-born designer Furne One, who has dressed the world’s most celebrated stars including supermodels Heidi Klum and Tyra Banks, as well as singing sensations such as Beyonce, Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez and Nicki Minaj.

The designer showcased some of his most delicate yet, with out-of-the-box, floaty lace and tulle ball gowns causing quite a stir in the well-heeled audience. The dresses were ideal for the modern bride, with their form-fitting cuts, beaded bodices and flowing, embellished white capes.

This season, designers from 13 different countries will take part including the UAE, Russia, UK, Venezuela, Lebanon, US, Saudi Arabia, China, Taiwan, Portugal, Italy, Armenia and Egypt. The fashion-forward event will also see the launch of an eco-friendly collection under the name of AFC Green Label — a major move towards fashion sustainability in the region.

For the most part, the designers will showcase their Resort or Cruise collections, which makes the choice of a cruise ship-cum-hotel as the location for this edition of Arab Fashion Week so fitting.

Cruise or “resort” shows — shown by only a handful of the world’s fashion houses — were originally conceived to target wealthy women who traveled on cruise ships in the winter. Nowadays, they are used as a lucrative means of re-stimulating fashions in the mid-season lull.

The world-famous cruise liner, with a history spanning five decades, will see models walk the plank to showcase the most innovative creations from international designers, in a stylish event set to run from May 9-12.

The ship has been restored to her former glory — maintaining interior design features such as period furniture, paintings and famous memorabilia. The original porthole windows add a maritime feel to the modernized guest rooms and many of the restaurants have retained the same names.