Fashion Weekly

Shaping up for the night

May 16 - 22, 2018

Gulf Weekly Shaping up for the night

Jalabiyas, kaftans and abayas have been revamped this Ramadan season with different colours, cuts and fabrics with many fashion designers encouraging women to trade in their traditional cloaks for pretty pastel styles and daring designs.

Many memorable modern interpretations were placed on display at a special show staged by Saks Fifth Avenue.

The store at City Centre Bahrain held a Ramadan Designer Fair last Thursday for a second year in a row with 20 designers from across the region showcasing their latest offerings for the holy month.

Marwa Ali, who created the Bahrain-based VOI abaya brand, captivated customers with her puffy-sleeves and ruffled robes which she says were inspired by a white snowflake flower called Leucojum.  She said: “VOI is ideal for women that like wearing fashionable attire and want to wear a statement abaya like a jacket as well.”

Her abayas range in colours such as lavender, grey, charcoal, navy and beige in fabrics such as thick corduroy and linen. Marwa’s looks are priced from BD70 to BD150.

Bahraini Moroccan Haya Al Fadhel also features lighter shades and fabrics with her brand of jalabiyas and dresses.

Nesma, the sister marque of her main brand Naseem AlAndalos, means ‘breeze’ in Arabic and she hopes her range will be a breath of fresh air for Ramadan 2018. Haya said: “This collection caters to a younger demographic and is for the fashion forward woman.

“I wanted this limited line to not only be worn throughout the month but also for any other occasion. I wanted to create comfortable, light pieces. I don’t like flashy things and that is why I kept things simple with touches of embellishments here-and-there such as Moroccan hand embroidery on trims and hems or tassels on belts.”

The stitch and embroidery work is based on her Moroccan heritage including Tursan and Steefa which are all created by hand using gold, silver and silk threads. Some of her dresses are left loose fitted but include built-in belts to allow women the choice of cinching the dresses around their waists if they wish. Her designs are priced from BD160 to BD380.

Sara AlBinMohamed, top right, puts the glamour into ghabgas with her Arabian Night-themed traditional wear and gowns which will surely impress during Eid. She founded Ballerina Couture in 2011, and exhibited its spring / summer 2018 line. “I was inspired by Ramadan’s fabulous evening gatherings and tent décors,” she said. “I love the lanterns, the lights, silks and gold embellishments.

“Women should look stylish for Ramadan. I also added the elegant couture clothing for women so that they can sort out their Eid looks and the dresses can also be worn for weddings of which many are traditionally held after Eid.”

Her kaftans and jalabiyas feature golden embroidery and mirrored elements throughout. They are priced from BD100 and a couture collection starts at BD180.

Women can accessorise these looks with shoes handmade in Italy and created by Hissa Haddad. The luxury footwear label is inspired by historical Islamic art and architecture infused with the love of fine jewellery.

Eman AlSarraf, founder of a public relations agency who manages Hissa, said: “She has combined both the Middle East’s rich heritage with today’s dazzling designs to create a functional and fashionable shoe.

“These shoes are like works-of-art draped and encrusted with the finest satins, leathers and encrusted with gems and jewels.

“In this part of the world, women do like their embellishments and when it comes to colours, they are deep jewelled tones which are perfect for Ramadan and for the every woman.”

Bags are also a Ramadan staple and Fahad and Shouq Al-Marzook, pictured below left, attended the fair and showcased their creative circular, crystalised bags and pretty clutches.  Fahad, the creative director of the brand, said: “We have been doing this for six seasons internationally and we sell our bags in more than 40 countries around the world.”

The accessories consist of exotic leather and skins, precious metals, Swarovski crystals and resins and draw inspiration from a rich mix of Eastern and Western cultures.

Their bags have been carried by numerous celebrities including actress Lupita Nyong’o and were featured at many runway shows such as designer Nicolas Jebran’s event in Lebanon. Shouq, the CEO, added: “I think the Saks customer is a savvy customer and they understand what they want. Circular bags are very ‘in’ this season and everyone wants something different and to stand out. We create art pieces. I think it’s the one of the most important accessories for women.”

Prices start from $900.

Others designers at the fair included AKS, Amal Al Raisi, La Morena, Runway, Tamashee, Ninousha. The items will be on show throughout the entire month.

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