Fashion Forward Frolics – Part 2

Essa Walla’s show was wonderfully outrageous and truly audacious!

Courtesy of Getty images

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Provocatively entitled “Blow,” his collection featured plenty of acid bright colours, statement prints, furs and plenty of interesting frou-frou details. I loved the ostrich feather embellishments mixed with beadwork that sparkled in the spotlight.

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The eclectic combination of textures were so unexpected and constantly kept us guessing.

Although it was a very daring and bold, there’s no doubt that there was a pinch of feminine romanticism (i.e the floor sweeping hemlines and hourglass-enhancing silhouettes) but it was unconventional femininity.

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Essa - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

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Oversized sunglasses, vintage 50’s shapes and trippy combinations – think Jackie O on LSD.

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Beautiful simplicity with a sporty, sleek twist is what sprung to my mind when describing Tahir Sultan’s collection.

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His experimental use of jersey created some very versatile draped pieces ranging from floaty maxi dresses to more structured, slick ensembles. I love the striped patterned fabrics, the “50 shades of grey” colour scheme and the simple pearl adornments for a touch of understated elegance.

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Sultan has successfully combined function with design by creating wearable pieces that are soft yet stylish – whoever said practicality has to be unsophisticated?

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Zareena’s collection was very regal with Eastern influences. The embroideries and embellishments were multi layered, ornate and refined and the silhouettes ranged from graceful and flowing to sculptural and dramatic.

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Paired with the most strikingly theatrical hairstyles, a few of her gorgeous outfits almost looked like they were from a different time and would make wonderful costumes for a fantasy film of some sort.

Having said that, quite a few pieces offered alot of coverage so they were very modest and could even be worn over the abaya just like designer herself had demonstrated.

Regionally appropriate and frankly, quite marvellous.

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Zareena - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

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To attend Amato’s show, one needs to be strong and merciless. This is because the queue for his sensational shows can get SO overwhelming. In fact, people START lining up for his show forty minutes in advance. With the huddles of people pushing and shoving, it’s like fighting a herd of aggressively bossy and highly determined sheep.

It’s survival of the fittest.

A full house crowd at the Amato show

A full house crowd at the Amato show

But just like all things in life, if the bitter ain’t bitter, the sweet ain’t as sweet.

And I assure you, it his shows are ALWAYS pretty “sweet.”

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This season was no exception. The designer was inspired by the conquests of Alexander the Great and his travels in Persia, India and Egypt.

The collection was exotic, rich and bejewelled and he enticed us all with the combination of sumptuous colours – ruby reds, emeralds and sapphire blues.

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The outfits were made from French lace and tulle, all embellished in sequins, swarovski crystals and plenty of flowers.

I loved the amazing gold tribal jewellery he used to cover the models’ faces, lending an element of Eastern mystery as they strutted grandiosely down the runway.

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Amato By Furne One - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

Amato By Furne One - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

See, I told you! Good things come to those who wait.

I assure you, this is worth the wait.

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Fashion Forward Frolics – Part 1

Fashion is the art
Designers are the gods
Models play the part of angels in the dark
Which one of you would ever dare to go against
That beauty is a trade and everyone is paid

Season 3 of Fashion Forward finally kicked off today at Madinat Jumeirah for press and public.

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Outfit of the day - Dee by Dalia skirt paired with a Versace belt and quirky telephone bag

Outfit of the day – Dee by Dalia skirt paired with a Versace belt and quirky telephone bag

It was all very rock n’ roll chic at the Kage show with wild teased hair, dark lips, Bardot necklines and the odd flash of metallic. It definitely had a young, vibrant and vivacious feel.

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Intriguingly, the collection took inspiration from a specific time and event – New Years Eve, 1983 to be exact! What I really loved was the general grungy-ness broken up with baby blues, gorgeous geometric details and metallic accents.

My favorite were these two outfits. I just love the rich, opulent, oriental print and how the fabric is repeated in the peter pan collars – great sense of continuity! I like how they are edgy yet pulled together!

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The Emperor 1688 featured a tasteful and sophisticated collection. I loved their interpretation of classic English tailoring and contemporary take on Scottish tweed, wool and tartan.

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I was particularly captivated by the fur capes and the belted trench coats in this unique, rich buttery shade.

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I also liked the idea of leather harnesses over floaty ethereal dresses. It’s the perfect balance of androgynous yet feminine.

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The combination of prim bow ties, textures and their very British/Burberry-esque aesthetic – it kind of had a sexy Sherlock Holmes vibe goin’ on! Don’t you agree?

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Fictional ice queen Miranda Priestly was famously quoted for her bitchy dig in “Devils Wears Prada” where she says sarcastically says “Florals? For Spring? Groundbreaking (!)”

Well, I’m certain Jean Louis Sabaji’s innovative treatment of florals would make even Miranda Priestly sit up and take notice, for their collection proved that flowers CAN be inventive as well as fresh.

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Bursting with skill, handcrafted techniques were used to mimic foilage, organic textures and petals in bloom.

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Very magical. Very mythical. Very “Midsummer Nights Dream.”

I liked the ombre effects on the gowns in particular and the voluminous blush-pink rose gown was definitely a favorite of mine.

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Finally, day one closed with the Ezra Couture show. His designs are known for their buoyant, diaphanous and exquisite edge. The designer is even getting popular in Hollywood, with celebrities frequently wearing his stunning designs on the red carpet.

Starting off with soft alluring pastel hues, his collection gradually got bolder, featuring shades of sapphire with statement armour inspired pieces that sparkled in the light.

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The chiffon had such an amazing drape and the fabric was so light and airy that it almost seemed to DANCE behind the models mischievously and seductively like the flicker of a flame.

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Everyone was totally spellbound, enjoying the show – and JUST when we thought it couldn’t get any more spectacular …

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It snowed.

It was SO magnificent and the bridal wear looked so poetic and pure. We found ourselves in a winter wonderland in the middle of April.

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I watched, amazed and astounded … like a dreamer in a dream.

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Harvey Nichols vs Bloomingdales – Battle of the Boutiques

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After Valentine’s day, many people feel a bit of a slump and experience a withdrawal in festivities.

After all, the glow of Christmas has passed, as has New Years and NOW all the romance of Valentine’s day has gone too. What IS there to look forward to now?

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Catwalk shows, that’s what!!!!!

The Harvey Nichols and Bloomingdales show just couldn’t have been timed better. Both scheduled at an otherwise rather uneventful tail end of February.

First up was Harvey Nichols, which was on the 17th and held at Medinat Jumeirah. The theme intrigued me as it was called “Light Up the Runway.”

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I wondered what this meant…for isn’t a runway always lit up? I was curious about it, until I saw their gorgeous concept come to life.

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Rather than the models just walking up and down a traditional runway, it was set up like just like a square and the models would walk from corner to corner and pose at different parts of the square– It looked like some kind of chic chessboard game that had come to life.

Then came the lights.

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Light bulbs on invisible wire were slowly lowered down on the catwalk and the lights dimmed on and off throughout the show, giving the stage an ethereal otherworldly glow.

What I liked was how the lights always GRADUALLY dimmed and all at different times –it reminded me of the dancing lights of Aurora Borealis. Truly magical.

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Check out the amazing couture and see for yourself!!!!

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After the show, the staff cleared the stage, added tables and voila!!!! The catwalk had transformed into a party there! Within seconds, butlers were circulating the area passing around canapés and other delectable treats.

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The Bloomingdales show was held on the 25th at DIFC, Gate Village.

It was held outdoors, making use of Dubai’s gloriously breezy weather we are having right now. As soon as we arrived, we noticed a red carpet and a photographer was eagerly papping away. Needless to say, we didn’t mind this one bit and channelled out inner Paris Hiltons!

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What I really loved about this show was the way it had been cleverly set up!

Instead of having rows arranged traditionally, the whole catwalk was set up in a large circle around the iconic Gate monument, which was in the middle acting as a centerpiece. This made it one huuuuge circular catwalk and therefore only ONE row …making EVERYONE a front row guest!!! I really liked this idea! It was totally genius and very unique!

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The clothes ranged from smart/casual ensembles, to quirky prints to gowns fit for Queen Rania.

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I really enjoyed the after-party, too! It was honestly one of the BEST I have been to!

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Partyin' with fellow art blogger Danna, of dannawrites.com

Partyin’ with fellow art blogger Danna, of dannawrites.com

And here’s a couple of illustrations I did of the Harvey Nichols and Bloomingdales show.

Bloomingdales illustration

Bloomingdales illustration

Harvey Nichols show

Harvey Nichols show

Both shows fare extremely well.. I loved the stage, atmosphere and overall set up of Harvey Nichols, and the outfits and after party of Bloomingdales.

H&M Spring/Summer Launch at Meydan Beach Club

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Granted it’s never COLD here in Dubai per se … but it does get pretty chilly in Winter!

But now those days are over, as the balmy days of Spring are creeping around the corner … and it’s time to trade in your blazers for some floatier bohemian-style maxis! H&M have just the right collection to ensure you are lookin’ hot in the humidity!

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On February 5th, I visited the gorgeous Meydan Beach Club to investigate the new H&M Spring/Summer launch. (Yes, that’s right..I said investigate…because I’m a fashion detective.)

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Although this collection is clearly bohemian, it’s by no means predictable as the tone is full of variation and therefore difficult to define in one word.

It’s tough yet playful, androgynous but adorable and contemporary yet still very feminine with its ruffles, patchwork, embroidery and dreamy vintage voile dresses. I felt like Alice in Wonderland as I browsed through the racks. Curiouser and curiouser ….

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A hotchpotch of fascinating fabrics which include suede, leather, fake fur, cotton and broken up with tough metallic leather. My favorite feature about this collection was the definitely sense of mystical elements such as the oversized chunky jewelry and the belts along with the graphic-print dresses covered in fortune teller motifs. That’s something unique that I’ve not seen before and I really liked that magical theme continued throughout!

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The colour palette is interesting too, because it’s quite neutral and wearable with colours like mocha and cream mixed with edgy metallics and eye-catching prints to break it up. The oversized tassels were another feature which I quite liked. I feel like that combined with the suede fabric, flashes of animal print and crafty little touches like fringing and patchwork reminded me a bit of Navajo design that has been transformed into something contemporary and slick.

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The room was completely flooded by light from the beach. A perfect venue. Check out the photos!

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My outfit was a complete contrast to all this floaty dreamyness – I was kind of inspired by Diane Keaton in Annie Hall; I wore an oversized rust coloured androgynous blazer with nautical stripes completed with black brogues with gold fleur de lis motifs on them.

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Here are some of the looks illustrated by me!

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After the launch, I enjoyed soaking up the afternoon rays on the beach at JBR.

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Who says you can’t combine business with pleasure? 😉

Rami Kadi’s new collection – Le gala des mysteres

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I did a double take. My pulse quickened. I felt giddy. No joke, that was exactly my sequence of emotions when I saw the new Rami Kadi collection entitled Le Gala des Mysteres. The Lebanese designer has been one of my favorites for quite some time and I was both enchanted and spellbound with his new collection – absolutely breathtaking.

I instantly felt an ATTACK of inspiration and just HAD to draw it immediately because it inspired me so! The collection has such a wonderful dark fairytale element just seething with drama and flair. A tiny bit gothic too, with the baroque-style details and dark bejewelled tones. P.S – just look at those gorgeous fine details on the back – Mamma mia!

What I like about it is the immaculate sense of taste executed throughout. I find alot of Arab designers go OTT on the bling and crystal work, but this is a perfect example of how to layer and use a tonne of embellishment in the right way and knowing when to stop. This results in gowns that glisten irresistibly, like a seductive wink from a mysterious beautiful woman leaving you wanting more.

It’s sophisticated, beautiful with a brothers Grimm appeal and truly the stuff dreams are made of. Bravo!

Check out my illustrations and some photos of the collection.

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Isabel Marant for H&M

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When tie dye comes to mind I tend to recall 90’s psychedelic flourescent monstrosities and I find myself shuddering thinking of my childhood faux-pas flashbacks. (Ew.) I truly thought I was so over tie die….that is, until I saw Parisian fashion designer Isabel Marant’s limited edition collection for H&M. Her collection was a game changer for me and her cool tribal monochrome pieces set my heart a-flutter!!! She has done the impossible – her interpretation made tie dye (dare I say it) cool again, and I found myself wondering ..”SHOULD I? Could I?!!”

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I had the pleasure of attending H&M’s collaboration preview on the 30th of October at the Address Hotel in Dubai Mall. I was charmed, smitten and full of ooh’s and aah’s by the designer’s unexpected, eclectic, easy breezy pieces. I really liked the mish mash of interesting textures – from chic tailored trousers and draped tops made from copper lamé, to chunky heavy Kate Moss style knits (ones that completely swamp your frame and cuddle you in a sea of chic effortless coziness). There was also a pretty awesome pair of mermaid style scaly sequined leggings I had my eye on too, very mythical in iridescent mother-of-pearl hues!

Mermaid-esque leggings!

Mermaid-esque leggings!

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Full of arty eccentric statement pieces, nothing in this collection was predictable! Infact, I found it somewhat of an enigma. On the one hand, the metallic draped/embellished pieces are elegant, timeless and very wearable and I could see myself strolling around in a gallery in them.

Love these! Imagine with a plain chiffon khaki top, statement bronze necklace and nude heels!

Love these! Imagine with a plain chiffon khaki top, statement bronze necklace and nude heels!

On the flip side, however, it’s still very youthful, rebellious and unconventional with its rock band groupie grungy/chunky knits, heavy boots, mannish silhouettes and overall tribal edge. In conclusion, there’s something for everyone – whether you are a prim and proper Miss Moneypenny or a sparkly eyed wild child. Below is my illustrated interpretation of the collection along with some images of the launch. Enjoy!

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Fashion Forward Illustrations

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Only in Dubai can you wear electric blue pleated trousers to a casual trip to the mall and feel somewhat underdressed.

It’s what I love about the city. Others may whine that it’s superficial, flamboyant and OTT, but as a small town girl from Scotland who loved to play dress up and never quite fit in, I say over here La vie en Rose!

I love jumping into all the events this city has to offer with a hungry sense of fervour and gusto. My absolute favorite event being Fashion Forward. If you haven’t heard of Fashion Forward, you must be living under a rock. In a cave. In the desert. Across the sea.
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Although it’s a relatively new event (the first Season started in April this year) the popularity of Fashion Forward has grown to epidemic proportions attracting glamazons from near and far like bees to honey. Not only are there sensational shows during the 4 day event, but extremely educational panel discussions and seminars from successful experts in the design and fashion industry.

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The event is held at Medinat Jumeirah twice a year, and aside from the shows, seminars and snacks – it’s a great opportunity to take out that special little dress bashfully hiding in the corner of the wardrobe just waiting for just the right occasion to come out and play.

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This year I have illustrated some outfits from my favorite collections and a brief summary of each.

The Dima Ayad show featured a striking Indian Summer colour palette mixed with monochrome aztec-like motifs. Rich shades of fuchsia, saffron and cerulean dominated the runway resulting in some gorgeous pieces including billowing silk trousers, and high low ruffled skirts. Wearable, eye-catching and bold – certainly not for wall flowers!
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Pakistani designer Amira Haroon showed exemplary craftsmanship in her stunning collection. She used coloured lace innovatively with peekaboo cut-out design features, fringed detail and just the right about of crystal work paired with bejewelled sumptuous colours. I noticed her collection had a 20’s Gatsby-esque feel to it with the little feather details and make up and hair. Love!
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The House of Fattam was another elegant collection, using rich shades with velvet and beautiful embroidery – particularly on the trousers (I’m totally coveting those and need to get a pair!)It was clear that the designers have drawn inspiration from Eastern culture judging by their attention to detail on the embroidery but fused the western design aesthetic in a wonderfully wearable, contemporary and creative way. The models were styled with interesting tribal like hairstyles and the overall look was ethereal yet exotic.
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Ezra’s mesmerizing show included both the dramatically voluminous and the sleek and statuesque. Floor sweeping gowns in solid brights peppered with pearlescent accents sashayed the runway. Other top picks include figure hugging metallic dresses which gave the appearance of being carved straight from blocks of bronze and innovatively designed sculptural outfits made from a foam like material. All in all it was an amazing show with a gob smacking bridal piece de resistance.

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Essa’s show had a Victorian feel to it with tea stained lace, brooches, bows and ruffles paired with diaphanous chiffon and textured floral embellishments. The collection started off in gothic dark tones like charcoal and black and later on moved into the most beautiful delicate colourful (painted?) printed dresses. It was classy, indulgent and just the right amount of bling!

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Dina JSR’s collection had some great pieces that were interesting and some of the draped silhouettes almost had an origami delicate paper-thin feel to it. Her barely there muted coloured outfits in particular were stunning. I love the really subtle feather motif embroidery layered with delicate fabric. Very pretty and feminine!

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Lastly, official title of “rock star of the fashion scene in Dubai” goes to Amato.

First of all, the que for his show got almost VIOLENT with pushing and shoving by eager and pushy fashion victims up to forty minutes prior to the show.

Hot and bothered, I settled down in my seat – huffy from my “traumatic” ordeal. What followed was nothing short of spectacular (and that’s an understatement). It was a unique twist of Marie Antoinette meets Memoirs of a Geisha with all the drama of Cirque du Soleil. The show was sensationally choreographed and felt more like performance art. The outfits were not only exciting and theatrical, but they were exquisitely beautiful too and successfully accomplishing both qualities can be very challenging, so kudos to the designer.

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I could clearly see the origami-like structures juxtaposed with delicate tulle piled high high high in yards of volume. I was curious about the teddy bears attached to the back of each outfit which offered a kitsch-like element. Perhaps it symbolised childhood or purity?

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The models did not just strut ..they performed…and in the most artistic entertaining and delightful way leading to a climactic showstopping finale. The excited appreciative murmurs from the audience said it all. As they say in Mortal Kombat…Flawless victory.

I couldn’t resist posting a little cheeky “look of the day” thing. Here’s photos of my sister and I enjoying the show.

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And that concludes my article for Fashion Forward. I am now experiencing withdrawl symptoms and do not know what to do with my life now that it’s bereft from the from the exciting razzle dazzle of Fashion Forward. If you need me I shall be in the fetal position in my room rocking back and forth and dreaming of lace, crystal and tulle. *sob*

Fashion Week 2013 – My top choices illustrated!

Ahhhh! My favorite time of year! Where my newsfeed is bombarded by a smogasbord of delectable and delightful couture imagery from fashion week all over the world. If Spring is thought to be the season of love, Fall is surely reserved solely for the LOVE… of fashion!!! I’m convinved Cupid is pointing his arrow at me from all directions as I am in LOVE with everything I’m seeing! From Valentino’s regal collection to Mary Katranzou’s digital prints, I am spoilt for choice about what to illustrate!

Let’s start with Anna Sui’s stunning collection inspired by Pre-Raphaelites from NYFW. I love the contrast of beautiful textures. From heavy crochet and velvet to lighter printed chiffons, it’s oozing with variation and interest. I particularly like the rich splashes of teal and emerald juxtaposed with sandy nudes and neutrals. The hippie headpieces give it an very bohemian and youthful touch!

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Chanel’s ready to wear collection featured its signature tweeds we all know and love, but with a new twist. It has been said that Karl Lagerfield was inspired by art this season, particularly Jeff Koons and the Art Basel. All the ensembles had a very raw, artistic appearence. I love these outfits – the zing of bright florescent pinks and the make up and hair is almost doll-like and kawaii mixed with a kind of cyber element to it – particularly the rainbow theatrical eye make up.

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Speaking of cyber, this is also what came into my mind when I saw these BREATHTAKING pieces by Peter Pilotto at LFW. His use of gorgeous washes of coloured brights with structured, oragami-like, stiff silhouettes and floral applique were both beautiful and futuristic. In fashion, so many collections take inspiration from the past. We’ve seen it all with 40’s Film Noir, the Gatsby Era and 70’s flower power reoccuring over and over so it’s very refreshing to see a completley new and innovative interpretation which is both wearable and ahead of it’s time. It’s like something Judy Jetson would wear to the prom!

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Now, I love me a nice jumpsuit and Matthew Williamson’s collection featured a plethora of uber cool ones…and then some. The graphic floral print on this one is laid back with a Farah-Fawcett vibe. The whole collection was a mixture of feminine vs buisiness-like, with diaphanous fabrics and floral prints, mixed with sharp cool-as-ice contemporary tailoring.

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I adore this look from Burberry Prorsum. The clash of prints and the striking red and black! The model is really working it!

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I like to save the best for last! Elie Saab which I always rave about!!! In this collection from Paris fashion Week, I loved the beautiful floral prints on chiffon. Very oriental and reminded me a bit of Japanese silk painting. Timeless, pure, simple and elegant.

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That concludes my favorite looks from fashion week! Hope you enjoyed it and stay tuned because I will be illustrating my favorite looks from Harper’s Bazaar Arabia soon, followed by Fashion Forward to give you an idea of what’s going on from OUR side!

London Fashion Week illustration

There’s nothing I like better than illustrating fashion week! If you are an avid follower of my blog you already know that it’s one of my favorite things to draw. The fabrics, the colours, the prints..Mon dieu!!! After Fashion Week is over, I fully intend to paint my shortlisted favorite looks this year as well as some runway looks from Dubai Fashion Forward/Harper’s Bazaar Fashion Week but for now here is a cheeky little arty teaser of what’s to come.

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Stay fashionable! xoxo

Harper’s Bazaar World of Fashion

From the 3rd to the 16th of October, Harper’s Bazaar hosted their annual Fashion Fortnight at Mall of Emirates. This year there were a variety of designers showcasing their new collections, from Locally based designers such as Etoile Boutique and DAS, to international designers like Tommy Hilfiger, Kate Spade and DKNY.

Here are a few illustrations of my favorite pieces from some of the collections on the catwalk this year.

Kate Spade was a particularly important show as the new york based designer has just opened up stores in Dubai Mall and Mall of the Emirates recently. Their collection had retained that famous signature polka dotted look, playing around with the sizes of the polka dots and mixing the prints together to create a collection that was fun, wearable and with youthful a joi de vivre look to it.

Juicy Couture had some very unique pieces. My favorite being a tailored fuschia pink blazer with black piping – which also came in a gorgeous navy and cream variation. Juicy Coutures collection featured alot of citrus brights teamed up with animal prints, fake fur jackets and stoles and coloured skinny jeans.

I love the way they teamed the smart corporate tailored grey jacket with a black and white striped polo neck and that unexpected peek of bright yellow stripes just at the cuffs.

Floaty printed Kaftans, flowing fabrics and swirling prints were prominent in the Etoile collection this year. My favorite was this beautiful tweed monochrome textured jacket. Very Parisian chic!