An intrepid explorateur, a savvy urbanite, a self-made woman… these were the sort of muses UAE-born designer Sabrina Mouhieddine of Lili Blanc spoke to with her spring summer 2023 ready-to-wear show. Named “Reflection”, the season’s teaser featured women in blazers and top hats wandering through nature, underscoring a journey towards self-awareness and empowerment. This continued on with a lineup of uptown leather ensembles, trenches, vests, and skin-embracing outfits that set the tone for the fifth day of Arab Fashion Week.
POCA & POCA
Frills, fringe, and feathers were the playful elements that made POCA & POCA’s spring summer “Joy” collection captivating in both spirit and design. Created by Karolina Gniewek-Lewicka and co-founder Wiktor Gniewek, the Polish-made brand infused the day-five roster with a palpable dose of levity with every ruffle. Largely inspired by 50s and 60s fashion, voluminous dresses, blouses with open backs, jumpsuits, and trousers reflected a contemporary, yet timeless new look for a girl who knows how to have fun.
One would have to look closely to spot the tattooed motifs embedded within the Yassmin Saleh collection. A form of wearable art, the hand-designed artwork reflecting key issues of our time, has become the hallmark of the sister-duo behind the label. At Arab Fashion Week, eco-conscious goddess looks like flowing bohemian dresses and floor-sweeping gowns adorned with organic prints conjured a sense of otherworldliness. Above all, the slow fashion brand showed the audience that their looks, made with leftover fabrics that are kept aside and repurposed, are the future of luxury.
Like a small Holi Festival of color, Vidhi Wadhwani’s summer 2023 resort collection was an homage to the brand’s artisans. In hyper color shades of intense grass green, fuchsia and canary yellow, this latest collection featured mesmerizingly intricate, almost folkloric embroidery techniques that can only be made with patient hands. Its summer resort 2023 collection is an ode to the earth and all its wonders, via botanical applique’ sewn onto party dresses, as well as embroidery and fabric manipulations fashioned into an array of white ensembles that offered a futuristic perspective as to what the bride of the future might look like in a globalized world.
Neat and polished in black and white, Tarek Abou Samra of Atelier Forger launched his second collection at Arab Fashion Week. Inspired by mid-century design, the Renaissance Collection spoke to a woman who reclaimed control over her own life and is unwavering in her pursuit of joy and beauty. Crafted with sustainable materials, Atelier Forger effortlessly conveyed a fresh twist on ready-to-wear, marking its foray into organically sourced bags. An uptown cast of contemporary 60s-inspired, sartorial designs were envisaged to flatter a variety of female forms.
With an underground vibe and under the strobing lights of a dark parking lot, The Giving Moment unfurled its FIFTYMADE© line. The sustainable athleisure wear debut demonstrated that streetwear can be ethical and edgy at the same time, amping up the close of the fifth day here with an Italy-designed exclusive range that borrowed from American basketball and varsity sports cultures. The lineup flowed into the night with an urban club vibe, culminating in sporty accessories including boxy totes, shiny hijabs for women and a sneak preview of the brand’s first-ever footwear collection — the Middle East’s first slides with bio-based sugarcane.
In an outdoor football field, BHYPE’s soccer-inspired lineup emblazoned with the FIFA flags of the world, ushered in the upcoming World Cup festivities. It’s really no wonder, as the celebrity concept brand, which specializes in vintage-street fashion is coveted by mega players like Neymar, Marcelo Vieira and Daniel Alves. Thanks to a rising legion of regional graffiti artists, BMXers and sneakerheads, this new group of high-end shoppers are fueling BHYPE’s path. Track suits, soccer shorts and knee-high socks for men and women ignited the runway with fan-fueled pride, which may have also been due to BHYPE’s growing global vibe.