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.




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!)

Screen shot 2014-04-14 at 2.21.25 AM

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!!








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.



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.


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

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

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

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

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

Courtesy of Getty Images

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


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.


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


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.


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

Courtesy of Getty Images

Courtesy of Getty Images

Playing Dress up at Dark Horse Event Management


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…


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!!!


When I found out about this, I dared by art blogger BFF Danna from 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 …


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




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




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




Let them eat cake.




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


We then felt the urge to partake in a dance.


Here’s Dana as a regal White Queen.



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


OFF with YOUR head.



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 …


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: 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?


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.




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


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

Snow White

Snow White

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.

Illustrations: Sara Japanwalla

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

Choix Project and Live Painting


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.


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.



Choix 6

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.



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.




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!!!

Screen shot 2014-03-30 at 7.16.28 PM

Screen shot 2014-03-30 at 7.16.35 PM

Choix 4

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


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



Screen shot 2014-03-30 at 7.16.10 PM



It truly was “une nuit magnifique!”


Harvey Nichols presents Monique Lhuillier fashion show


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.


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.



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.




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.





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




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.



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.




After that, it was time for tea.

We had some of this …


followed by a bit of that …


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



And lastly, the designer herself!!!



Art Dubai 2014

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


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!



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


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.




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!



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



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 –

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!


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.


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.


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.


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


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.



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


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.


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.


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.


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.


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!

cropped close up of work

cropped close up of work

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



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

close up

close up

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.

Powerless Structures, Fig. 101

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.


Plus…it’s pretty groovy.


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

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.


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.


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


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!


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.

Grandfather Clock View 1

Grandfather Clock View 2

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.


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.


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.


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.



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.


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.”


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.


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.


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.


Clear Edition Gallery

Clear Edition Gallery


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





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

DIFC Art Night March 2014


So here we are … on the BRINK of Art Week 2014. Can’t you just FEEL the energy in the air?!

Once again, Al Serkal and DIFC decided to have their art nights on the same night!!! Curses!!!

Can I just take a moment to rant …

WHY do you DO this to us?! WHY do you make us choose?
Al Serkal …you are so spacious, trendy, relaxing, sophisticated, clean and classic.

And as for YOU, DIFC…you are no less with your chaotic energy, your glamazons, canapés, live art, music and yuppie handsome men (ofcourse I had my eyes firmly focused on the art but .. c’mon It’s hard NOT to notice them) 😉

So basically … If I had to sum up the aura of these two important hubs, I would say that Al Serkal is Jackie O and DIFC is Marilyn Monroe.


It was a toughie but this time I decided to go with DIFC, even though (just like the actresses) they are both awesome – each with their own charm.

As expected, DIFC Art Nights was PACKED. A live band played in the background, lending an air of joviality.


You know me … I’m a major canapé cruncher and so of course I made a beeline towards the food, which was prepared by the Ritz Carlton. I had warm beef potato fritters with a dusting of truffle on the top.


Uh-oh… I’m in truffle now…. (Geddit???)

I dunno if a  spoonful of goat's cheese helps the medicine go down..but it IS certainly is delightful.

I dunno if a spoonful of goat’s cheese helps the medicine go down..but it IS certainly is delightful.

Dessert was as yummy as it looked.


Now for the art – although I arrived late, there was still some interesting live art going on including a 3D pavement chalk drawing and graffiti art. Amazing stuff!


Further up on the right side corner, there were various artists and photographers exhibiting and selling their artwork.



Close by …there were some beautiful, regionally inspired jewellery designs for sale. Being the magpie that I am, I had to have a little nosey. Those are some mighty pretty baubles!




Here are some of my favorite pieces from Opera Gallery.




And over at Cuadro gallery, a very informative presentation caught my eye entitled “Crash” by Manal Al Dowayan about the alarming rising numbers of Saudi women that are critically injured or die in car crashes due to the combination of low pay, the driving ban and unsafe roads in Saudi Arabia. Al Dowayan has collected clippings, photographs and statistics and the artist asks us “How do you mourn if the suffering has no face and no name?”


Sheena’s choices for the evening were these beautiful, saturated, calligraphy pieces by critically acclaimed Emirati artist Abdul Qader Al Rais.


I had to agree with her taste. Just look at his stunning use of colour. These paintings are unlike any calligraphy painting I’ve ever seen, and you can spot his style from a mile off!



Meanwhile in Art Sawa – an extremely upbeat and cheerful solo show by Robert Hammond who combines materials like painted stainless steel and acrylic. His exhibition was aptly entitled “Happy Lucky.” In the cynical world that we live in, at first I thought the artist was being satirical or ironic …but it turns out …his tone really IS happy. A refreshing change! Love his work!



Some images from Abdulnasser Gharem’s solo show “The Awakening” at Ayyam Gallery.



Over here we have Khaled Zaki’s beautiful spiritual looking sculptures at Art Space. Artefacts from Ancient Egypt inspire the artist and I find that his pieces appear so placid and serene. I love their expressions captured in bronze and marble. The large dervish in particular is mesmerising.




Last but not least, Cube Arts gallery highlights a cubist inspired style born in Saudi Arabia since the 1950’s. They showcase how the various artists matured and developed as well as how the cubist movement spread as time went on within the region.



What a LONG post!!!! But then again, there was SO much to cover. It’s now 3 am and I shall retreat to my bed, to wake up bright eyed and bushy tailed for Art Dubai!

Sheena and I

Sheena and I


Peter Pan Show – YAK Events

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There’s something about watching a musical live that makes me so feel so elated. The costumes, the lighting … the way everyone just spontaneously burst into a synchronised dance. (I wish life could be like that!!!)

I’m a huuuuge theatre buff so every time I go to London, I make it a point to see atleast one play. You name it I’ve seen it. Grease, Jersey Boys, Top Hat, Singing in the Rain, Joseph and his Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Oliver Twist, Sister Act… (and that’s just the tip of he iceberg!)

Regarding theatre/musicals, this is something I always felt Dubai lacks to a certain extent, and it’s a shame because when there IS a show on, it does so well over here and is frequently fully booked! I went to see Chicago years ago in Dubai and although it was good, personally I felt like it just didn’t do it for me. It did not have that spark .. that “je ne sais quoi” compared to the West End.

I had resigned myself to the idea that musicals in Dubai just are never going to be up to scratch … UNTIL I saw Peter Pan at Trade Center a couple of weeks ago. That show was a game changer for me.


For starters, the special effects were INCREDIBLE and the show was visually stunning. Unlike traditional musical sets, this stage had a state of the art digitally projected backdrop that the actors would be against. This screen was constantly animated and in moments, it would transform from an atmospheric wintery London scene to pirate ship sailing choppy seas. As well as this, there were 3D elements to add even more realism, like a big grand chandelier, or a ship sailing across the sky, or a menacing 3D crocodile creeping from the corner.


It was also very innovative how they gave the illusion of Peter Pan flying, using an I-Fly like apparatus and suspended invisible wires against a “starlit” stage. The actors were not only skilled at singing and dancing, but with their constant seemingly effortless flips, cartwheels and somersaults they proved to be incredibly agile acrobats too!


Tinkerbell was portrayed very creatively using a mixture of glow lights and a couple of spontaneous cleverly aimed fireworks. Genius! I only wish I could have seen superstar Myriam Fares play the role, but she was only performing for one show. For those unfamiliar with her, she’s kind of like … the Lebanese equivalent of Taylor Swift.


The music was very enjoyable, and the songs were all familiar as they were all world famous songs. Such a variety too – from Moulin Rouge’s “One Day I’ll Fly Away” to Rasmus’ “In the Shadows”. The actors all had superb voices. I was particularly impressed with Peter and Wendy’s duet, and Hook’s aria. He sung “Nessun Dorma” with such character. As far as villans go, I found him quite likeable.





My favorite part of the play was the way they portrayed the mermaid – she was sooo MYTHICAL with her cascades of long waves and long sequin encrusted tail glimmering in the dark. Absolutely breathtaking costumes. Some of the BEST I’ve EVER seen.

Lastly, the “I believe in fairies” scene made the children feel like they were participating in the play and as a result they were completely engaged. I really liked how this scene made the audience interact, rather than just feel like spectators.

Peter Pan really was truly successful in bringing childlike magic back to Dubai. Best play of the year for sure!