Chanel Cruise Show Illustrations

Just incase you have been living under a rock and hadn’t heard – the Chanel Cruise Fall show took place in Dubai recently.

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It was held on an exclusive luxurious island just off the coast which was made JUST for the occasion.

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If my tone appears to read tinged with an ever-so-slight tone of bitterness, it’s because I AM still rather sore I did not attend. (super exclusive invite only!)

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(sniff)

Oh well! I’m over it!! All is fair in love and fashion 🙂

Now that I’ve got my emotional trauma behind me (!) Let’s talk about the collection …

The level of luxury and opulence at this show reminded me a lot of Karl Lagerfeld’s interpretation of India is his pre fall 2012 collection. (One of my favorites!)

Similarly, this one was also very lavish and plush but with a very sophisticated 1001-Nights/ Arabesque twang to it.

I liked the contemporary tailoring contrasted with the fluid billowing shapes such as the harem pants and elegant flowing tunics with ethnic shoes. Tres Aladdin!

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The signature tweed textures made cameos, both in light variations and more stronger monochrome tones. I was particularly enchanted by the folksier prints in sheer chiffon kaftans. I also loved the tribal embroidered fabric (Bedouin inspired, perhaps?)

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It wasn’t all soft and demure, though. For instance, I appreciated the odd lamé metallic trouser thrown into the mix; unexpected and added edge!

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MOST of ALL I loved those AWESOME bejewelled moons.

They added such a wonderful ethereal, exotic touch, especially paired with the models’ smouldering, sultry eye make up!

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The gorgeous fabrics and textures stirred up some creativity inside me. Here are some fashion illustrations I created of the show.

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Alright Mr Demille, I’m ready for my close up.

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I’d just like to say that in terms of being camera shy … I was awkward wayyy before Kirsten Stewart made it cool.

I know you may be skeptical as it may not seem that way with the abundance of photos I take!! It’s different when taking a photo with a camera – I’m totally cool with that! Basically – when in doubt, the secret is to adopt a “Liz Hurley Stance”. You know the drill – your weight on one leg, which comes forward. Hand on hip. Coy, close lipped smile and bada bing, bada boom!!! You just can’t go wrong with that!

Being interviewed, however, is trickier but I found it an amazing experience all the same!

Last week I was approached by Abu Dhabi TV to be featured on their fashion programme, @Fashion.

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They were filming a special episode on the art of fashion and wanted to interview me about my fashion illustrations and talk about my art blog and live drawing. I was so thrilled to oblige and the best part was illustrating live in front of a camera which they would turn into a speed painting for the programme.

One part of the experience I really took to immediately was having my make up and hair done. There’s nothing better than bouncy hair and curled lashes!!! I’m quite picky with make up, but my make up artist did an amazing job creating a slightly more dramatic yet polished look. He used Bassam Fattouh cosmetics to get the desired look. I haven’t ever used these products, but I definitely am hooked and will go back for more! I was particularly impressed with the awesome eyebrow pencil which is the perfect shade of soft brown!!!!

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The interview took place at trendy and spacious A4 Space, situated in Al Serkal Avenue. I just love how open and sophisticated it is, and I particularly adore the inspirational messages on the walls.

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I always thought on TV, the crew do quite a few takes before deciding on the final cut. The surprising thing about this interview was it was done in only one take! The producer, Georges Estephan, wanted a really natural and spontaneous dialogue with the gorgeous TV presenter, Rulan Omari. It was completely unrehearsed, candid and really nice and raw!!!

The interview itself was really breezy, but I had to do a brief solo introduction so if I seem terrified, that is because…er…I WAS!!! haha!!!

A truly wonderful day and I am really looking forward to watching it live on Abu Dhabi TV in approximately one week!!! I can’t wait to see how the final segment turned out all put together with all the other artists/designers. Yayy!! 🙂 Here’s some photos from that day!

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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

Courtesy of Getty Images

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.

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

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!!! 🙂

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:

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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.

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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.

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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

Design Days 2014

Art Dubai opening night is TOMORROW night.

Right now, I feel like one of those vintage toys you wind up with a key RIGHT before placing on the floor … literally RARING to go !!!

BUT having said that …there are so many OTHER interesting fairs and exhibitions to check out during Art Season, such as Art Nights, Sikka, Christie’s and of course Design Days Dubai. Since I’m rather greedy, I want to see it ALL…I can relate to Aerosmith’s song…I (really) DONT wanna miss a THING!!!

So I set off bright and early (ish) to investigate Design Days first, followed by a quick browse at Christies to see the watch exhibition.

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A heads up for newbies – Design Days Dubai is the leading fair in the Middle East and South Asia dedicated to collectible and limited edition furniture and design objects. The fair presents design from leading international designers and galleries alongside up and coming design from across the world.

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I started with The Carpenter’s Gallery, which is from Paris.

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This amazingly innovative lighting installation is made from REAL dandelions and the lightbulbs are inside…creating a beautiful fuzzy soft glow! I’ve taken a close up so you can see it clearly!

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The designers, Ralph Nauta and Lonneke Gordijin have used a combination of dandelion seeds, phosphorus bronze, LEDs, perspex and concrete to create it.

Now, I need to talk a little bit about this clock called The Grandfather Clock by Maarten Baas as it’s unbelievable. At first glance, I just thought it was a rather plain ordinary clock but after a few minutes …what appeared like a MAN from INSIDE the clock came from out of nowhere …erased out the minute handle and drew a new one..right before my eyes!!! It was so trippy that I actually felt startled!! After all…this kind of behavior is NOT something one expects from a clock! I’m glad a have a photo ..because I sound insane when describing it. As if I’ve had too much of grandma’s cough medicine.

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The gallerist explained to me that this has been achieved with a video. The designer had filmed someone drawing the handles on from behind glass. The clock plays this video on loop as time goes on and apparently, the character rings a bell and does other things like has a cup of tea, too. I really love the way the designer has succeeded in animating the inanimate! Very creative!

Here are some other pieces by Carpenter!

"Chartres" Studio Job

“Chartres” Studio Job

"Monkey Business" Studio Job

“Monkey Business” Studio Job

Miracle Chips is an installation by Micheal Anastassiades which was presented by Carwan Gallery. The designer has achieved the impossible – making a heavy material such as marble appear paper thin and flexible. Anastassiades was inspired by red fortune telling cellophane fish you get at Christmas crackers, and wanted his pieces to retain the appearance of marble but appear to curl up and appear featherlight.

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Next Level Gallery in Paris, featured some stunning and unique limited edition light installations by Phileppe Malouin. I love the way the light appears to breaks and filter through the delicate brass maze creating scattered lighting effects.

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As well as this, I also loved this cleverly designed wall piece which can also be used to sit on. Designed by fashion and furniture designer Jose Levy, he created this set of 2 pieces after his visit to Kyoto where he got inspired by his oriental surroundings. He has used a material traditionally used as mats that are normally completely flat and has somehow moulded it into these statement sculptures.

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Creating imagery and visual effects through shadow and reflection, this installation was commissioned by Giles Miler Studio and presented by Capsule Arts. I love how the pieces spin and the optical illusion it creates. It constantly switches from exposing negative spaces to “closing up” into tighter compressed pieces.

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The next piece is from The Fabrik Lab, Hong Kong which is an installation by designer, Elaine Ng Yan Ling. She brings together textiles and electronics in a wonderfully creative way. Centered around biomimicry, she’s inspired by a certain resilient desert plant that constantly expands and changes according to the moisture in the air.

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Her organic and magical approach has been described as creating designs that move and grow like trees – but faster. It’s true, for it appeared as though her intricate wooden designs were morphing, curling and spinning before our eyes..literally coming alive. It is made from layers of smart veneer. I had the good fortune of speaking to the designer and she is so full of eloquence and passion. Here’s a photo of her in her “garden.”

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Like Ng Yan Ling, it seems that Paula Rodriguez from Nakkash gallery was ALSO inspired by biomimicry, when she created this chic nautilus shell-shaped storage and divider unit. I love the way it creates nooks for showing off your stuff as well as an artwork in itself. This sculptural piece is constructed with a wood frame and veneered in natural-finished bamboo.

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Another very patriotic and regionally inspired piece that caught my eye were these victory chairs designed by Omar Nakkesh. These quirky chairs incorporate the distinguishable salute invented by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

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There’s even an ascot “dressed” chair. Once again, adding animation to the inanimate and lending so much character!!

I would love to write more about ALL the furniture, but there is just TOO much to cover…so here are more photos of some other unmissable items at the fair, followed by some shots I took of some GORGEOUS jewelry from the Van Cleef and Arpel exhibition.

Enjoy!!!

Clear Edition Gallery

Clear Edition Gallery

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Art Factum Gallery

Art Factum Gallery

Art Factum Gallery

Art Factum Gallery

Tashkeel Gallery - rug made out of camel leather

Tashkeel Gallery – rug made out of camel leather

Carpenter Gallery

Carpenter Gallery

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PP Trees installation by Tom Price at Design Days Dubai! Made entirely from polypropylene pipes and cable ties

PP Trees installation by Tom Price at Design Days Dubai! Made entirely from polypropylene pipes and cable ties

Official opening of Noon Art Boutique Hotel Apartments

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It’s no secret that I love art. I try to attend as many gallery openings, launches, auctions and exhibitions as I can here in Dubai.

Tough life, eh?! 😉

What I really love though, is the many uses and facets of art. I’m intrigued when it merges together with design and function because that is when it transforms into something much deeper than aesthetics – more than just a painting adorning a wall.

In short, I love when the beauty of art is used in more practical unconventional ways.

How cool IS this elevator?!

How cool IS this elevator?!

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When I found out about the concept of Noon art boutique, I was beyond fascinated. Located in Al Barsha, Noon Art Boutique virtually uses art in every nook and cranny of the hotel!

Some of these exquisite features include …… (deep breath so I can list them all!!!)

The enamel clocks in the lobby, copious wallpaper designs, ornate rugs, intricate engravings on the wood of the cabinets, etched designs on the frosted glass doors of the showers NOT forgetting the impressive assortment of paintings enhancing the hallways and rooms! (Whew!!! What an impressive list!)

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The hotel apartments boasts 45 beautifully appointed luxury suites arranged across 12 immaculately designed floors.

The interesting thing about this hotel is that it has been designed by three UAE artists who had each been given a certain number of floors to use as their very own blank canvases.

Although the rooms all look similar in terms of colour schemes and materials, if you look a bit closer you will notice that they vary a great deal in design. For instance – inspired by spirituality, Khalid Bin Slimane incorporates God’s name seamlessly into the design of his rooms.

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Ali Hassan opts for tasteful interlocked Arab calligraphy made from dark and light wood carved into the furniture such as headboads the tables and even the lights above!

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Finally, renowned Emirati artist, Dr Najat Makki uses figurative work – a famous trademark of her artistic style.

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All attendees were treated to live musical entertainment, canapés, refreshments, and three on-site artists – Anita Jane Scott, Fiona Mackenzie and Thaer Mahdi – who wowed those present with their live artistic creations. There was also a guided tour of the suites which started on the first floor of the building – and a showcase of impressive local art and culture.

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Feelin arty in my patterned trousers!

Feelin arty in my patterned trousers!

Now, I often hear common criticisms of this city from a few expats living here. We’ve all heard them. They drone “Dubai is so commercial. Dubai is so materialistic. There’s no soul.”

People like to repeat comments like this often in a mantra-like fashion.

Well, this impeccably designed hotel proves that times are changing and Noon Art Boutique is FAR from just another sell out hotel apartment, it’s indeed a cut above the rest. With its bespoke artistry, unique craftsmanship and deep attention to detail, it’s ANYTHING but commercial.

It’s class all the way!

Live drawing for Dune London event at Meydan Beach

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Shoes and the beach. My two most favorite things! Any event that combines these is good in my book. And that’s precisely what Apparel Group did on the 28th of Jan, when they hosted an exclusive launch event for Dune shoes London at the luxurious Meydan Beach in JBR. Just look at all those gorgeous shoes and handbags! Mon Dieu!!! C’est magnifique, n’est pas?

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I was there to do some live sketching of all the guests’ sophisticated and colourful outfits. The weather was glorious with the sunlight flooding the room through the large glass windows. Check out that splendid view of the beach!

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You’d think it would make sense to dress in something breezy and summery … but you know how I abhor being predictable! 🙂 Since I was feeling quite Mary Quant that day, I went for a Missoni-esque print minidress in mossy, rusted Autumn hues and some high-heeled boots to finish off that 60s leggy Twiggy vibe I was trying to channel!

Gettin Twiggy with it. Na-na-na-na-na-nana

Gettin Twiggy with it. Na-na-na-na-na-nana

Time was not my friend that day. I only had a couple of precious minutes to paint out each outfit and there were close to fifty guests in total! Fortunately though, I had the figures photocopied in advance which were bare and bald, so I could just concentrate on the outfits and hair on the day itself. Pretty organized eh?! Just like Neil Buchanan’s trademark phrase from Art Attack – “Here’s something I made earlier!”

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Surprisingly, it was not as stressful as I thought it would be. The weather and beachy air was so relaxing so it really put me in a great mood as I sketched away busily in the corner!

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Here are some happy customers!

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One lady had a cute idea of wanting an illustration with her baby. This is how it turned out!

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Apparel Group also wanted a souvenir of the whole team in a group illustration.

TA DAH!

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On a separate note, today is Valentine’s day! Now, SOME people complain that Valentine’s day is commercial. Riiiight. As if the rest of the holidays like Christmas and Easter are COMPLETELY commercial free, consumer free AND 100% authentic (?) hmm…*skeptical eyebrow raise*

This may be a very controversial statement to make but – In my opinion and in my experience… guys who complain about V-day are often the “Cheap Charlies” who are reluctant to splurge for their love ones!!! So, cmon fellas. Show your lady what you are made of!!!! Give into it.

As for those ladies who single … then it’s even MORE important to celebrate it! You can either choose to wallow in self-pity by watching Jerry Maguire’s “you complete me” scene for the umpteenth time with your cats and Ben and Jerrys, or you can round up your other single girls and drive to Jabel Hafeet for a spa weekend. As an empowered single girl myself, guess which option I will be doing? 😉

Single or taken, here’s wishing everyone a very blissful, happy and magical Valentine’s day!

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‘Tis the season to be arty, Falalalala lalalala ….

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Not only is February the official month of love, but it’s also proving to be quite a glorious time for art aficionados like myself.

There are tonnes of interesting art events and exhibitions going on right now. I’ve been keeping busy doing my usual gallery hopping and last week I went to see two great shows with extremely different tones.

My friend Deama had invited me to come to an exhibition called Fakie #3 which she was participating in.

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Opening night of Fake#3 at FN Designs

Opening night of Fake#3 at FN Designs

Fakie #3 was held at FN designs at Al Serkhal Avenue. Every artist participating at this show had been given a blank skateboard to use as their canvas and they were to illustrate their signature style on it.

The end results were so amazing as there was so much variation in subject matter in the collection. For instance, some artists went for patterns, others opted for sketching animals. A few skateboards had been adorned with beautiful, romantic, art nouveau style illustrations with flowing hair and exaggerated manga-esque eyes.

Liz Ramos

Liz Ramos

Joseph Manata

Joseph Manata

Azim Al Ghussein

Azim Al Ghussein

H.H. Sheikha Wafa Hasher Al Maktoum

H.H. Sheikha Wafa Hasher Al Maktoum

The mood for the evening was chilled out, vibrant and fun. In keeping with the theme, they even had a skateboard ramp built outside to get your “skillz on”

Oh, and the canapes!!! Sushi, salmon and shawermas…Oh my!!!!!

I certainly enjoyed noshing on those while browsing through the “totally bodacious boards!!!”

(That last phrase has to be read in a voice like Michelangelo the ninja turtle, please.)

group shot of participating artists

group shot of participating artists

Almost a Dream opening night

Almost a Dream opening night

Moving along, another exhibition I was very eager to see was Safwan Dahoul’s solo show “Almost a Dream” held at Ayyam gallery in DIFC.

The critically acclaimed Syrian painter has created a soulful and poignant series of paintings in muted monochrome shades.

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Inspired by his colour palette, I dressed in monochrome just for the occasion!

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There’s elements in his work which are inspired ancient Pharaonic art. An example of this is how he incorporates a distinctive almond shaped Eye of Horus symbol shown repeatedly in his pieces. He uses reoccurring figures such as angels and a soft female form to narrate his ideas.

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The themes he deals with in his work have a melancholy tone as he generally centers around war, tragedy and the inhumane conditions civilians have to go through in his home country in Syria.

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Dahoul attempts to bring out the in the viewer the same feeling of pain that is experienced in his own being. His evocative work is open to interpretation and hence, very engaging and personal to the viewer. So much so that I found some of his paintings really did trigger an emotional chord with me.

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“Almost a Dream” is on display at DIFC until the 13th of March.