What To Wear To Art Dubai: When Art Inspires Fashion

This post is the result of a creative collaboration with fellow art blogger and poet Danna Lorch of Dannawrites.com Check out her fb page. (Link below).


We’ve been exploring the intersection of fashion and art and having a marvelous time of it!

The 8th edition of Art Dubai will be here this month (19-22 March), presenting everything from a Eurasian tea salon to a brand new section focused on modern Middle Eastern Art. Galleries visiting from all over the world will show a wide range of artists from legendary polka dot painter Yayoi Kusama to the adventurous Indian sculptor Anish Kapoor and Dubai-based street artist Ruben Sanchez. Museum directors, socialites, collectors, and gallerists will converge on opening night and the following three days to take it all in, network, and see and be seen.

Intimidated much? Don’t be! Art Dubai is for everyone and your choice in art is as personal a decision as your taste in fashion, so own it. There’s no need to be a wallflower and dress in all black like everyone else (gallerists believe that black clothing blends in with the crowd and keeps the art front and center). This year, find a piece of art that moves you and channel it into a fashion statement.

We’ve put together four looks inspired by actual works of art that will be showcased by some of our favorite Dubai galleries at this year’s edition of Art Dubai:

Everything Would Appear to Man as it is, Infinite, Michael John Whelan (2014), Ink Jet on Hahnemuhle photo rag.

Everything Would Appear to Man as it is, Infinite, Michael John Whelan (2014), Ink Jet on Hahnemuhle photo rag.

Look #1

Look #1

Berlin-based Michael John Whelan uses art to address humanity’s struggle to understand the universe. Everything Would Appear to Man as it is, Infinite can be pondered at the Grey Noise booth in Art Dubai’s Contemporary section. This edgy motorcycle jacket, full skirt from local designer Dee by Dalia, and gem clutch by Rauwolf are as complex and multi-faceted as the work.

Untitled, Nabil Nahas (1978), Acrylic on canvas

Untitled, Nabil Nahas (1978), Acrylic on canvas

Look #2

Look #2

Nabil Nahas is popular for pulling inspiration from patterns and textures evident in nature and Islamic art. Lawrie Shabibi is showing the Lebanese artist’s early works from the 70’s in Art Dubai Modern and it’s kind of amazing how up to the minute his use of shapes and lines are today. This Roksanda Illincic dress and Georgina Skalidi asymmetric clutch rock the unexpected color combos and angles of the painting.

Takheel II, Samia Halaby (2013)

Takheel II, Samia Halaby (2013)

Look #3

Look #3

Samia Halaby is a Palestinian painter who was one of the first artists to bring contemporary abstraction to the Arab world. Her paintings can be found at the Ayyam Gallery booth and in a major retrospective at Ayyam’s gallery on Alserkal Avenue. The mustard yellow trousers, base of black peplum, and quirky statement necklace from Sophie’s Closet echo the embroidered bursts of color in Takheel II.

Untitled (Angelus Novus), Kamrooz Aram (2013), Oil, charcoal and oil crayon on canvas

Untitled (Angelus Novus), Kamrooz Aram (2013), Oil, charcoal and oil crayon on canvas

Look #4

Look #4

Kamrooz Aram often takes floral motifs from Persian carpets and plants them in dark geometric beds of paint. His work is about reconfiguring and rebuilding history and can be found at the Abraaj Group Art Prize section of Art Dubai and in an unusual solo show at Green Art Gallery. The Kage dress gives the hard chain mail feel of Untitled (Angelus Novus), the Natalie Trad clutch adds an interesting sense of Arab geometry, and the Nadine Kanso earrings and Tory Burch cuff soften the look with a floral mood.

Designer Deets featuring a number of our favorite local fashion houses and boutiques:





Illustrations: Sara Japanwalla
Text: Danna Lorch
Images of Art: Courtesy of the artists, galleries and Art Dubai

Abu Dhabi Art Fair

What a dilemma I had this weekend! On Saturday I had the choice of either going to Abu Dhabi for the last day of the art fair OR attending Al Quoz for QuozHappens. They were both happening on the same day! (Curses!!)

‘Twas a tough decision which I mulled over for quite some time. In the end I decided to see the Abu Dhabi Art Fair simply because I had never seen it before and quite frankly, I was extremely curious!

So after a loooong and perplexing drive I finally made it to Saadiyat Island. Luckily, I had just missed the brief spell of rain and as a result the weather was so pleasant with a cool, post-drizzle breeze. As soon as I entered I whipped out my phone and got rather snap happy and I just had to take a photo of this very interesting looking chair installation.


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This installation was at the near the reception just as you enter.

Now, there was an abundance of incredible artwork at the fair but I’m just skimming through and giving a very brief overview of what really stood out to me, what I personally noticed and my favorite highlights.

Abu Dhabi Art Fair has an impressive and extensive range of curated shows, workshops talks and activities available every day of the fair. To name a few there is the Modern contemporary design galleries, Signature, Beyond, Bidaya and Artist’s Waves. My first instinct was to have a browse around outdoors where there were a number of small pavilions, from solo shows to magazine kiosks. I was intrigued by this exhibition taking place with an assortment of beautiful African inspired cultural line illustrations. I spoke to the curator to get a bit more information about this and the idea was so raise awareness and funds for women in Africa suffering from childbirth complications due to poor medical resources and equipment.


Ayyam Gallery had some gorgeous new work by Syrian artist Safwan Dahoul. I really am a huge fan of his paintings and his Surrealistic/Pharaonic style. His pieces are both haunting and melancholy. Maybe it’s just me, but sometimes I think his work reminds me of the legendary Pakistani painter Sadequain.



I loved this artwork by Firat Neziroglu made from hand woven tapestry on a loom entitled “Mamma’s Girl.”


A very beautiful painting with a kaleidoscope quality by Mahmoud Obaidi named Morpheus and the Red Poppy.


This creatively designed pattern by Moataz Nasr was made entirely using different colours of matches.


“Happy Lucky 4” by Lebanese English Robert Hammond explores contemporary allegories through the mechanics of modern interfaces and the modern visual realm. Elementary shapes, symbols and smiling faces are combined to obtain whimsical harmonies and resonances – isolating our perception to patterns, surfaces, textures and reflection and their relations. This is made from coloured steel and glass 10 cm deep.

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I adored the sense of craftsmanship in this artwork by Korean artist Kim Duck-Yong entitled “Jawoonyoung.” Just look at the iridescent surface texture with that mother-of-pearl like finish. Anyone who knows me is aware that I’m a stickler for art that is more traditional – be it renaissance, Ancient Egyptian sculptures, japanese silk painting. I found this simply beautiful! I’ve included a close up for you to see the surface.



Being completely obsessed with the sea, mermaids and sirens, I found I was drawn to this piece by Lebanese artist Nabil Nahas. As well as being inspired by the repetitive geometric designs of Islamic art, his work frequently has a coral-reef like quality to it with his favorite motif being a starfish. Believe it or not, this painting is made entirely from Acrylic paint! I love how pigmented and vibrant his colours are.

photo-52 copy

Last but not least is an amazing sculpture by Mondogo called “I’d settle for being able to sleep.” I love love LOVE Mondogo’s work and I have seen some of their epic pieces at Art Sawa in DIFC. I love the innovative manipulation of their materials and their beautiful use of colour and texture and how they use mixed media. They frequently incorporate the barrios of their own native Argentina making their works very atmospheric.


A famous quote by Mark Twain is to “Write what you know” in order to be a successful writer. It seems that Montogo definitely took Twain’s advice and follows this rule perfectly as they successfully draw from their own personal cultural influences thus making their artwork relatable, informative and create a more engaging dialogue.

Absolutely wonderful fair and I look forward to seeing it next year!