Interview with couture designer Rami Kadi

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Continuing from my last blog post, here is my exclusive interview with Lebanese couture designer Rami Kadi.

How would you describe your aesthetic?

The woman I design for is a woman living a normal life in today’s world, but who stands out with her elegance and grace. She has something about her that turns head wherever she goes, leaving a trail of seduction and mystery behind. she’s a woman who blows life into the garment she is wearing.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

What are your favorite fabrics to work with and where are they sourced from?

My choice of materials/fabrics depends on both the trend and my mood, and is not specifically limited to one type of material.


The silhouettes of your couture pieces are to be marveled at. Are the constructions of such a great challenge?

Of course it is a challenge. If I don’t challenge myself I will never evolve. In fact, it is essential for my pieces to have great cuts, it is a part of my signature.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

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How do you decide on your theme for each collection? Do they all have a story to tell?

In terms of creativity and inspiration, the world around me has always been a rich source of inspiration; it provides me with flashes of creativity all day long, from the moment I wake until I go to bed, and sometimes even in my dreams.

Anything can be inspiring, the music I listen to while I’m driving, interaction with people, when I’m relaxing at the beach, or reading magazines, watching other designers fashion shows, etc.

Another major source of inspiration is obtained while traveling, visiting new countries and getting acquainted with new cultures and fashion salons…

Inspiration is not only limited to my day-to-day activities, it can also be found in my dreams! I always dream about dresses or shapes and I wake up in the middle of night to draw them, and go back to sleep.
Each of my collection has a specific story and it is from that story that emerges the whole collection.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

As an example my latest collection tells the story of a sleeping beauty who wakes up from an ever long sleep and finds her self within the confines of a sumptuous castle. It is with mixed feelings of surprise, and astonishment that the gracious princess walks through the aisles of the palace, and discovers a place glowing with royal opulence and yet holding an air of modernity.

How are your feelings towards exhibiting at Dubai’s Fashion Forward this year?

I am really excited to present my new collection there, especially that it is taking place in the big hall that seats about 1000 people. It is always an accomplishment when I get to the point of the runway show.

Your collections often have some very strong fairytale elements to it. What intrigues you about fairytales in particular?

I have always loved fairytales. They leave so much place for imagination and creativity. There are so many fabrics that can be used around the theme to express the romance, the magic and most of all the royal feel.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

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Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

If you could choose any historical figure, factual or legend, from the likes of Cleopatra to Lady Godiva, to be the face of your new collection who would it be and why?

I would go for The queen of Burlesque, Dita Von Teese, an artist who masters the art of seduction and whose fashionism and attitude captivated me long ago. There’s something about Dita that glows with elegance and captivates everyone around her. She is the kind of women who turns heads wherever she goes.

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Rami Kadi - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

Rami Kadi - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

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My fashion illustration Collaboration with Rami Kadi

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

As soon as I laid eyes on the “Le Gala Des Mysteres” collection last year, I developed a deep “designer crush” on Rami Kadi and his DIVINE ball gowns. The tulle, the embroidery, the beadwork – it’s honestly what dreams are MADE of.

Imagine my sheer delight when I got a call a few weeks ago from Rami Kadi Couture in Lebanon to say that they would be interested in doing an artistic collaboration with me for Fashion Forward this year!!

I was elated and couldn’t wait to get started!

I couldn’t share any information about the upcoming collection until it was over so it was QUITE a challenge keeping it schtum.

His theme for the show this year was fairy tales and his collection had strong French Rococo elements and took inspiration from the set design of the film Marie Antoinette. It consisted of beautiful Laduree inspired colours, opulence, indulgent fabrics, decadence and femininity.

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To set the tone for his show, his idea was to print out actual illustrated mini story books which would be placed on all the seats at the runway. (800 to be exact!)

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In addition to this, those same illustrations were going to be projected onto the screen of the catwalk show before it started and the story was to be narrated live in front of an audience.

Here’s how my final illustrations turned out!!

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His catwalk show finally took place last night and it was such an exhilarating experience to see my illustrations projected onto the screen. I’m still totally buzzed from the show!

As for the collection itself, it was absolutely breathtaking. The models all wore these magnificent peony headpieces which really complemented the outfits and made it look even more theatrical and dramatic.

The embroidery was so ornate and the fabrics were plush and lavish especially the embossed damask motifs. I really liked the shade of gold he used in the collection. It wasn’t highly glossy or metallic – just a very pale subtle sheen which was far more flattering and sophisticated than straight up gold; especially combined with pale blue.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Although the colour scheme was mainly soft pastels, brighter sorbet shades were also included which broke up the collection, keeping it from being predictable and giving it a sense of bold freshness.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Even though the silhouettes were extravagant, they were all incredibly tasteful and well executed. I loved how luxurious and heavy the fabric looked, the way it trailed behind on the runway and how the fabric was draped. My favorite gowns were these two.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

I cannot wait to draw them!!!

There’s MORE – I’ll be publishing an exclusive interview with the designer himself in the VERY next post to find out more about his design process and inspirations.

More information will be up on the blog in a jiffy!!! 🙂

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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Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Kage - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

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!

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

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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.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

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

The Emperor 1688 - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

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

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

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?

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

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.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

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

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

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Courtesy of Getty Images

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.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

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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.

Courtesy of Getty images

Courtesy of Getty images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty images

Courtesy of Getty images

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.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Middle East Film & Comic Con 2014

#ootd - "Alice through the looking glass"   Costume rented from Dark Horse Event Management

#ootd – “Alice through the looking glass”
Costume rented from Dark Horse Event Management

I can’t explain how extraordinarily bizarre it is to have a gorilla wearing a shell-bikini tap you on the shoulder and politely ask if he may take a photo with you.

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It’s MAD. Absolutely mad.

But as Cheshire Cat quite rightly says “We’re ALL mad, here.”

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I think this statement sums up Middle East Film & Comic Con perfectly! A bit like “The Muppet show,” it’s weird, it’s wonderful and above all … it’s unpredictable – absolutely ANYTHING can happen.

One minute you are having a delightful conversation with The Grim Reaper about the weather.

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The next – you are interrupted by a collection of monsters dancing to Gangam Style!

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It’s a place where you can enjoy catching up with old friends ….

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and make a few new ones!!!!!

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I finally found white rabbit ...

I finally found white rabbit …

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Meanwhile, in the corner … an Arab looking Mario and Luigi getting up to all sorts of tomfoolery.

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Yep!!! It’s just a normal day here! Totes legit.

Mind you, I was no better … don’t you LOVE my new bazooka?!

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As well as the costumes, it’s a great place to browse through the creme de la creme of limited edition comic books, rare anime and manga memorabilia. You can spend all day here oohing and aahing over the impressive array of graphic collectibles.

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You can even mosey around casually donning a cape (and no, I don’t mean an Anna Wintour style “cape” coat, I mean, a CAPE cape). Duh.

If you’re lucky you might even spot a celeb or two from your favorite TV series. (LUCKY being the key word…I was GUTTED I missed Seth Green!)

FINALLY! You can leave the stressful world outside and let your cheeky neon streaked hair down to come out and play by getting your “game” on (literally).

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No Judgement. Just games.

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My FAVORITE part of the day was seeing the cute little kiddies in their adorable costumes. I always wanted to run away and be a disney princess at Orlando. Now I know what it feels like to be one …

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I urge you to join us at the next comic con. Loosen up that tie and fall down the rabbit hole ….

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You won’t be sorry.

Playing Dress up at Dark Horse Event Management

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This Saturday afternoon, I plan to venture where NO fashion blogger has EVER gone before ….

The Middle East Film and Comic Con, that’s where!!!!

For three days, the world trade center is transformed into a wonderfully weird and and magical land full of limited edition comics, anime, manga and gaming!

Although we often jest that Comic Con is solely for geeks, I have to say – I beg to differ.

I went last year, and I found it really creative – ESPECIALLY the outfits! I think it’s wonderful how everyone makes such a huge effort with costumes. Last year, I looked wistfully and enviously at everyone else’s amazing ensembles. They ranged from classic superman get-ups to retro super-nes characters…I even spotted a few Japanese lolita cosplay outfits! It was AMAZING.

Alas!! It would be a waste for me to purchase an outfit that flamboyant just for this occasion. After all, I don’t go to conventions like this very often (shocking I know!)

What I NEEDED was a costume “fairy godmother” …

Well, I found one …. In the form Dark Horse Event Management…

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They are the largest creative production & entertainment house in the Middle East and they organise various events, PR and marketing activities for brands and clients, as well as providing a unique brand of entertainment.

As well as this, they also offer costume rentals for fabulous prices!!!

SORTED!

When I found out about this, I dared by art blogger BFF Danna from dannawrites.com to come join me to play dress up!!! Being the gutsy woman that she is, she accepted my challenge (much to my delight!) Even though comic con is predominantly about comics…as far as costumes go, anything goes …

Let the games begin!

We started off innocently enough, just trying on a few hats. Something subtle to warm us up …

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That Danna! Honestly, I don’t know why she insists on ruffling feathers …

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Here she is again, looking like an extra from The Lion King.

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This…Is….SPARTA.

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I experimented with the Mad Hatter look, whilst Danna opted for the “sexy zebra” (The actual description..which really intrigued us)

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Let them eat cake.

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If Marie Antoinette was a Dubai blogger, this is would be her #ootd pose.

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We then felt the urge to partake in a dance.

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Here’s Dana as a regal White Queen.

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It all got a bit stressful for her, so she took a few minutes to do some serious reflecting …

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OFF with YOUR head.

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That about wraps up our bizarre-yet-brilliant fashion show. If you are ever in a dire need for costumes, I’d highly recommend to pay Dark Horse a visit. As you can plainly see, their handmade costumes are highly unique with their gorgeous little details and they obviously have a huuuuuuge variety, as we’ve demonstrated!

Can you guess what I will be dressed up as?

Hint! I will be chasing a little white rabbit …

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What do you know? I guess blondes DO have more fun!

What to Wear to Comic Con

Part II of a fun creative collaboration between bloggers Sara Japanwalla (me!) and Danna Lorch!

When we were little it was perfectly normal to play dress up and loose ourselves in the Once Upon A Time world of make believe. Cartoons and Comic book heroes were as real to us as the neighbourhood kids we played with after school. Fast forward to The Land of Grownup where it’s depressingly inappropriate to rock a super hero cape to the office (except maybe on Halloween if your boss is cool like that). Middle East Film and Comic Con changes all the rules. We live for the three days each year when it’s completely normal to rock up to Dubai’s Trade Centre in full costume. This coming weekend (3-5 April), we’re excited to people watch, splurge on comic books and graphic novels, and screen animated films like crazy.

News Flash: You can still dress up even after Comic Con ends! Here are four looks inspired by Comic Con characters which we’ve put together using Spring/Summer 2014 collections. Everything we chose is available in the UAE and many of the pieces are from regional designers. The looks are subtle reinterpretations, but wear one to the office or an event and you’ll be secretly smiling to yourself all day:

Jem

Jem

Jem: We’ve gone retro! We’re children of the 80’s and remember sitting on our couches drinking Capri Sun punch, watching Jem and the Holigrams performing it up on stage, cooler than life. The girl could really sing, her mom let her pierce her ears, and she had pink hair that fit right in with her all-girl punk band. We can’t lie—we still kind of want to be Jem. We gave her look a regional spin by changing out her star studs for an Azza Bijou necklace inspired by the star pattern found so often in Islamic geometry. Are you brave enough to add a streak or two of pink to your hair?

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Superman: It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a casually heroic look you could actually get away with for brunch with friends. You don’t have to change in the phone booth to be Clark Kent—In fact, we wonder where Superman does change these days? We haven’t spied a phone booth in years! The Superman inspired tee was designed by local pop artist Mubarik Jafery, who sees a lot of super heroes saving the day in the Arab world and created a line called BRAVE to remind us of that.

Superman!

Superman!

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The Hulk: Anger management issues? Just kidding! The Hulk might be known for his horrible temper and bulging neck veins, but he’s actually downright trendy this season! According to Vogue, Green is the color for Spring. It’s possible to draw inspiration from the strongest comic book character around. This Ralph Lauren bag is the perfect statement piece but also adds a playful comic book element in Hulkish green.

The Hulk

The Hulk

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Snow White: Even though we’re independent princesses, we have a soft spot for damsel in distress Snow White. This hi-lo frock by Dubai designer Dima Ayad makes us feel like the fairest of them all. Everyone from RED Valentino to Charlotte Olympia is drawing inspiration from the Disney heroine this season. Channel your inner princess for a dinner date or gallery opening.

Snow White

Snow White

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Stockist Deets Featuring a Number of Our Favorite Designers and Boutiques:

Our Jem inspired mood board

Our Jem inspired look

Our Superman inspired mood board

Our Superman inspired look

Our Hulk inspired look

Our Hulk inspired look

Our Snow White inspired look

Our Snow White inspired look

Good Ideas: We hope to see you (in costume) at Comic Con! Check out the event’s website for tickets and other info.

http://www.mefcc.com

Illustrations: Sara Japanwalla

Text: Danna Lorch from Danna Writes – A fellow art blogger, writer and poet!!!

http://www.dannawrites.com

Choix Project and Live Painting

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Personally, I love Paris.

Like the song says – both in the springtime, when it sizzles AND in the winter when it drizzles. Aside from being the city of l’amour, what I like about it is how unashamedly chic the fashion is. It’s the kind of style that never goes out of fashion. It’s timeless.

In the era of baggy boyfriend jeans, slouchy blazers, and shaggy Alexa Chung coifs, I admire the femininity and the classic details that make Parisian women in a style league of their own. This is why In a heartbeat, I’d choose haute couture Paris fashion week first over any others.

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Katch PR approached me one fine day and explained that they needed an illustration project for the their advertising campaign which was was all about bringing the aura of Paris to Dubai. The STYLE of the quintessential “fille a paris.” This meant, stripes, ballerina flats, oversized buns, bardot necklines and full skirts.

They were speaking MY language.

They proceeded to explain that world famous French chef, Pierre Gagnaire, owner of the eponymous Pierre Gagnaire restaurant in Paris was opening up a new luxury patisserie at Intercontinental Dubai Festival City.

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What they needed from me were a couple of contemporary, clean illustrations depicting glamorous stylish women next to the Dubai skyline using the Choix colour scheme and showing the monogrammed shopping bags.

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This is how the final ones turned out. I wanted to show how multi cultured the city of Dubai is, so for one illustration we opted for a glamorous lady in an abaya and for the other, more European inspired attire. I used soft but vibrant watercolours bleeding into each other with a muted slate blue/lilac background.

The abaya illustration was used in ads in Time Out Dubai, OK magazine and many more publications for announcing the launch party.

For the actual launch, we decided that it would be a great idea to paint the second illustration live at the venue since no one had seen it yet so it would be a nice surprise. After that, Choix would proceed to use both illustrations in their advertising campaign.

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the finished illustration

the finished illustration

The event was a lavish and sophisticated affair and the lucky guests were served an array of exquisite and unique dishes such as beef tenderloin and onion marmalade, comte cheese and baby spinach as well as camel milk panna cotta and saffron cake and dates – some very innovative, regionally inspired treats!!!

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Needless to say, there were plenty of their signature pastel macaroons around!

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I should know. I had some. They were marvelous.

The mood was further enhanced by a talented pianist playing in the background, which really made you feel like you were transported back to a deco style 1940’s lounge in New York.

Here’s some more photos of the event and of Choix.

Stunning view outside

Stunning view outside

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It truly was “une nuit magnifique!”

Bisous!!!!

Harvey Nichols presents Monique Lhuillier fashion show

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Coral is my new colour crush.

Since I have an absolute revulsion to peach (I think it’s namby-pamby, overwhelming and sickly) I always thought of coral as its relative and so I always dismissed and disregarded it.

How wrong I was!!! I’ve come to realise that coral is glorious.

For starters, it’s cheerful and bold yet feminine. It’s a lot more modern and sophisticated than hot pink which can appear juvenile. Moreover, it works SO well with tanned Arab/Spanish like skin tones.

Yessiree!!!! Whether it’s in the form of matte lipsticks or layered chiffon tulle dresses, I’m LOVING coral these days.

So you can imagine how delighted I was by the sweet coral/sorbet colour palette Monique Lhuillier presented at her exclusive fashion show held at the Kempinski hotel, Palm Jumeirah. The event was held by Harvey Nichols Dubai.

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I arrived at the hotel and was guided to a lovely garden with foilage archways crammed with orange roses – Such a pretty picture! I felt like I just stepped into the Queen of Heart’s garden, from Alice in Wonderland.

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There, amongst the fairytale greenery, a seated runway was set up. The venue was filled with simple chic rose arrangements in square glass vases which were against neat, pristine white outdoor furniture.

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Featuring plenty of soft coral complemented with sharper tangerine, crimson, purples, fuschias and understated nude, the colours just seemed to sing – especially against the lush green garden venue.

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The collection featured some stunning silhouettes – tonnes of billowing floral chiffon and dreamy ethereal sheer dresses.

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I loved the painted and dyed ombre effects on the fabric. There was also delicate , intricate, cut-out applique that resembled glistening beaded “webs” laid on top of the gowns.

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The way the light made all the embellishments shimmer in the sun was just all kinds of awesome.

After the show the statuesque models, dressed in all their finery, joined us for tea and looked divine sauntering around casually on the lawn in their beautiful gowns which floated in the breeze.

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After that, it was time for tea.

We had some of this …

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followed by a bit of that …

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Here’s some of the models in all their glory.

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And lastly, the designer herself!!!

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Christie’s n’ Cartier. Ice Ice baby.

Lights, camera…diamond.

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That was pretty much my sequence of actions as I excitedly browsed through the much anticipated “Important Watches” exhibition at Christies in Emirates Tower Hotel.

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The exhibition showcased designs by Chopard, Cartier, Harry Winston, Patek Philippe, and Roger Dubuis to name a few.

I don’t know a girl who doesn’t gush and get giddy over the thought of diamonds. I am no exception.

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As I walked around admiring the the flawless glimmer of the jewels set in vintage limited edition pieces, I learnt a bit more about the rare materials available.

Featuring enamel, emeralds and plenty of intricately cut baguette diamonds .. these encrusted watches oozed top notch finery, decadence and indulgence. Here’s a few photos of what I saw that day …

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This rare 18K gold bangle watch incorporates a panther’s head in the design, complete with emerald set eyes. Priced between 15,000 – 25,000 USD.

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This design by Roger Dubuis has 28 jewels, a mother of pearl dial, aperture for date complete with a stainless steel Roger Dubuis deployant clasp and case. Valued between 28,000 – 40,000 USD

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This impressive watch is set with 32 baguette cut diamonds, weighing at 6.04 carats and has 1047 brilliant cut diamonds weighing at 15.23 carats. That’s a whole lotta bling!!!!

Priced at around 100,000 – 150,000 USD.

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vintage art deco diamond watches circa 1930

Can’t you just imagine the Crawley sisters from Downton Abbey wearing these?

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A stunning piece by Bovet valued at 70,000 – 90,000 USD

This Patek Philippe watch is probably the most sought after piece at the exhibition. It is double sealed to protect it and has a cloisonne enamel dial.

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Making dials such as these is highly complex and requires great skill from dedicated artisans. A rare treasure, this model is now discontinued and no longer listed in the Patek Philippe catalogue.

Price between 120,000 – 160, 000 USD

Here are some other jewellery sets that dazzle and seduce!! Although not part of the exhibition, they certainly deserve some time in the spotlight too ….

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Over at Art Dubai, The FondationCartier pour l’art contemporain & Cartier presents two imaginary cities contrasted with beauty and global diversity which depicts “L’Odyssée de Cartier” collection

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Created by the artist in 2000, following his first exhibition at the FondationCartier pour l’art
contemporain in 1995, this colourful model-like megacity architectural piece is the product of the
African artist’s inexhaustible imagination, made of salvage, cardboard and fragile materials, where
he builds a large number of buildings which he arranges into cities, thus creating a totally imaginary
urban space.

I loved the way the space was decorated. It’s so pristine and pure with the all white colour scheme and using famous buildings representing to each continent. Take a look …

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For this new show, Cartier and the FondationCartier pour l’art contemporain strived to find the
perfect balance of opposites, with Bodys Isek Kingelez’s extrême maquette (extreme model)
“Maman Isek Mabo Bendele” a colourful and imaginary city, juxtaposed with the white city created by Cartier, enfolding the world of “L’Odyssée de Cartier” Collection.

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L’Odyssée de Cartier, Parcours d’un style (journey of style) Collection, is a voyage through a world in perpetual motion offering an unexpected trip of discovery.

Art Dubai 2014

Mark Twain once said “Thousands of geniuses live and die undiscovered – either by themselves or by others.”

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Rather grim, but there is some truth in that quote. Many artists work their whole lives to get the recognition and exposure that their work deserves but SO many remain unsuccessful in this quest in spite of it all.

This is where fairs like Art Dubai come into the picture!

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With over 500 participating, it allows artists from all over the world (emerging and established) some well-earned time in the sun. (literally!!!)

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With a strong focus on the Middle East, artists from the region gain global exposure and therefore, so much awareness is created. Art Dubai has an extensive, well-rounded programme which is filled to the brim with numerous tours, forums, discussions and workshops while attracting many prestigious art collectors from all around the world.

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From competitions like the Abraaj Group Art Prize, to workshops like the Sheikha Manal little artist programme, there truly is something for EVERYONE to see!

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Now in it’s 8th year, the fair continues to flourish …

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For opening night, I decided to channel my inner Betty Draper and so I opted for this gorgeous emerald-green full skirt from a local boutique called Dee by Dalia. Her chic vintage pieces set my heart aflutter. Check her website out here –

http://www.deebydalia.com/

Although artistic, Art Dubai is certainly one of the chic events where you can really go really fun and eccentric with fashion.

As I loitered around outside, I spotted many well dressed ladies. They wafted around in their wide pleated trousers, quirky turbans, neon accessories, bright kaftans and oversized sunnies! I dug it!

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Image courtesy Savoir Flair Magazine

Image courtesy Savoir Flair Magazine

Now, I’m not one for planning. I immediately set about aimlessly traipsing through the grand halls, enjoying getting “lost” and immersed in the artwork.

There’s such a huge amount of galleries, workshops and activities going on at Art Dubai. For this specific post, I have decided to focus more on the galleries and briefly describe some pieces that really attracted me.

Without further ado, here’s my round-up!

At Green Art Gallery, Kamrooz Aram’s piece “Tempered composition with three points” has a hazy and dreamlike quality.

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He is known to constantly layer his work, and then he scrapes it off to re work it. This results in a distinguishable multi dimensional quality. He exposes faint tracings in certain areas of the canvas and has used a simplified, child like floral motif. This shows that the use of florals can be sophisticated and prove more than just an adornment.

This statue “ Flesh of the Shadow Spirits” is created by Kendell Geers from Galerie Rodolphe Janssen and it is made from resin. A conceptual artist from South Africa, his work often has heavy political elements, typically concerning civil rights.

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I did a double take when I saw these beautifully crafted knives by Zoulikha Bouabdellah at Gallery Isabelle Van Den Eynde. I found it really interesting how she has taken an instrument that usually has connotations of violence or aggression, and given them a new lease of life with her intricate, arabesque inspired shapes.

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:mentalKLINIK created this quirky piece cleverly called “French Kiss. Two forces are linked together in perfect symmetry, giving a romantic sense of personification.

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The Breeder – a gallery based in Athens, featured Zoi Gaitanidou’s very tactile pieces. She uses embroidery to create elaborate tapestries that combine primitive figures and abstract patterns. She is influenced by tribal art.

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Mumbai based gallery Chatterjee and Lal presented a solo booth by one of my favorite Pakistani artists, Rashid Rana.

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For these pieces, Rana has re interpreted famous paintings such as “The Rape of the Daughters of Leucippus” by Peter Paul Rubens, and “The Oath of Horatii” by Jacques Louis David and has chopped them up into smaller fragments and scrambled them up – just like the surface of a Rubik’s cube.

He has selected these particular paintings specifically for their connotations on carnal violence, and perhaps misogynistic undertones which is something he feels he can resonate with regarding the political state of Pakistan/rise of islamic fundamentalism.

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It’s interesting how Imran Qureshi’s work deals with a similar theme too but he has an extremely different approach to it.

I find works by these two artists always seem to pull an emotional chord with me.

Another rather emotional piece is by Sydney based couple Sean Cordeiro and Claire Healy. Entitled “T+85_red&blue_diptych”, it is part of a collection of pixel-art images of space shuttle explosions which are created from pieces of Lego.

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This piece is dedicated to highlight a certain shuttle that exploded. The use of material is interesting as the Lego is not only to depict the tragedy itself, but it also seemed fitting as one of the women who died on the shuttle explosion was a teacher, therefore the Lego reminds us of children and the loss of innocence.

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This was shown at Gallery Wendi Norris which is based in San Francisco.

There were a few artists at the fair with really strong environmental themes in their work.

Take this very narrative piece of art by Indonesian artist, Prilla Tania from dgallerie.

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It is made from cut paper of various types and upon close inspection, it actually tells a whole story about deforestation in Indonesia.

There’s a primal and primitive element about it that I like. It reminds me of ancient art – the way her artwork “talks” just like hieroglyphics or cave paintings would. Fascinating!

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Also focusing on the environment, Nnenna Okore’s installations are made from discarded yet reusable materials such as magazines, newspapers string and plastic bags.

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Okore’s works brings a focus on consumerism, excessive wastefulness. She is represented by Omenka gallery, Nigeria.

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I loved this beautiful glimmering golden sculpture by Elmgreen and Dragset, from Victoria Miro Gallery in London. It is made from 24 carat gold-plated bronze.

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Frank Bowling from Hales Gallery combines an emotive use of colour stain and sprayed motifs combined with textural elements.

Frank Bowling, Ashton's Plunge, 2011, acrylic on canvas, 302.5 x 165 cm

This artist, originally from Guyana is actually 80 years old!

There are also some tactile qualities as stitching is sometimes incorporated in his work as an homage to his mother, who was a seamstress.

Frank Bowling, Ponsonby Welch, Overlooking Fryish Maze, 2012, acrylic paint on canvas, 304.8 x 188 cm [lowres]

His paintings relate to Abstract expressionism, Color Field painting and Lyrical Abstraction.

Mark Dion’s curious dark room in InSitu Gallery, contains various glow in the dark items and encourages us to reflect age-old philosophical questions regarding spirituality, science and art.

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Plus…it’s pretty groovy.

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I know it was a SUPER long post, but this was honestly just scratching the surface.

Hopefully with more initiatives like Art Dubai, an abundance of geniuses will continue to be discovered.

They, too will get their chance to tell their stories to the world …

"Forever These Words Unsteadily Will Live" by Fred Eerdekens

“Forever These Words Unsteadily Will Live” by Fred Eerdekens