Every guest at the party – from the traditional, to the polished, and from the risk taker to the blaze’ chic – was addressed by Mena Talal in her latest couture show dubbed “Gemstones”. The Iraqi designer known for her, engagement and wedding wear kicked off day four with couture looks illustrating how Arab culture is evolving and modernizing with every silhouette and accent. Modest were the evening wear blazers and the mod, high-neckline gowns fashioned with Nefertiti-eques crystal collars. More daring was the skin-tight, tank dresses fashioned with thigh-high slits.
Showing in Dubai marks a new chapter for Turkish label Nihan Peker to captivate the couture-loving market here. At Arab Fashion Week, her “Golden Age” collection shined a spotlight on the sort of high-end craftsmanship made possible by Turkish artisans and the Eurasian country’s rich heritage. Looks fit for the red carpets of Hollywood dazzled in hues of black and fuschia, enhanced by upscale collars and gilded hand embroidery conjuring images of Byzantine landmarks. Peker’s signature white shirts took center stage as a ready-to-wear piece interpreted into a demi-couture context, for an emboldened woman.
Volumes, density, and textures were the focus at Indonesian designer Lisa Ju’s couture runway show, where an enchanting butterfly took flight. Named “Farfalla”, Ju’s show-stopping designs conveyed a sense of lightness through layered fabric manipulations and handmade techniques. The accentuated female silhouettes and botanical anatomy of flowers came to life in a language told in notes of fabled colors and textiles. “This is a reflection and the spirit of how I can thrive in this fashion industry” she said.
One of Latin America’s most prominent designers, Erick Bendaña brought the majesty of the Nicaraguan rainforests to the Arabian shores. In a couture collection marked by meticulously placed flora and feather applique, as well as upbeat red carpet looks emblazoned with indigenous spirited motifs and his “Arte Pop” prints, his “Celestial” collection infused the catwalk with a sense of escapism. The collection culminated in a show-stopping couture ensemble in the shape of a heavenly bird awash in Celestial hues.
Couturier to the stars of Bollywood and the Arab world, Northern-Palestine-based designer Ihab Jiryis took on the challenging concept of “fashion and death” with his fall winter collection. “Just as fashion is timed and limited, so is the human body. When it is damaged, it becomes less desirable, oppressive, and loses its vitality and beauty,” the PhD scholar in fashion psychology said. His latest collection kicked off with an array of ‘angel of darkness” looks that were emboldened by shimmering gold trains and bodices that embraced the female figure like natural armor.
Rising like the mythical phoenix in the desert, Dubai-based couturier Michael Cinco unleashed a fall winter 2023 couture collection like no other. The Filipino designer who makes red-carpet dreams come true with every artisanal stitch and swathe of satin, once again proved that Dubai is a couture epicenter. Inspired by the ancient history and culture of Egypt, Cinco built looks that were deeply-rooted in the civilization’s architecture, aesthetic detail and ancient scriptures. Couture looks for both men and women were envisaged as architectural masterpieces, lavish in elements from the past. The show dropped the mic on the fourth day with a modern Cleopatra and Mark Antony in full Egyptian regalia made by artisan hands.