Saturday, October 8, 2016


Apart from the high-profile armed robbery that everyone has now heard about, the latest Paris Fashion Week mostly escaped the circus-like ambiance of former seasons.

This quieter atmosphere enabled a greater spotlight on notable showroom events, such as Fashion Forward Dubai (FFWD), a Middle Eastern platform that made its debut in Paris this year, running from Sept. 30 to Oct 5 and attracting fashion buyers and prospective fans.

Design by Zena Presley (photo: Coste)
Held in the popular Marais district, the presentation showcased a “carefully curated selection” of apparel and accessory designers who included Amira Haroon, Bedouin, Bil Arabi, Hâshé, Kage, Madiso, Maram, NS By Noof, Orkalia, Rula Galayini, Salta and Zena Presley.

Their designs comprised clothing, jewelry, handbags and other accessories, most of which stood out for the exceptional fabrics and other materials used.

Syrian-born, Dubai-based designer Presley, for instance, displayed delicate dresses with tailored cuts for her spring / summer 2017 collection.

Meanwhile, Bil Arabi's Nadine Kanso – who was born in Lebanon and is also based in Dubai – showed her unique rings, earrings and bracelets, which she said are based on her handwriting. This was her second show in Paris.

Ava Hashemi, the creative director of Hâshé, said that the region has a new generation of designers who are forging new directions in fashion, drawing upon their multi-cultural heritage for their singular creations.

Originally from Iran, Hashem was raised in the United Arab Emirates, and her work is “fueled by Middle Eastern culture, architecture, art and environment,” according to the company. Her ready-to-wear line blends a modern flair with traditional elegance.

Jewelry from  Bil Arabi (photo: Coste)
The FFWD, launched three years ago, has now showcased seven events, twice per year, gaining recognition in the style world. It will enter its eighth season on Oct. 20 in Dubai, presenting ready-to-wear, couture and accessory designers in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region over four days.

Endorsed by the Dubai Design and Fashion Council (DDFC) and supported by strategic partner Dubai Design District (d3), the platform in August 2016 launched an empowerment program called EPIC (Empowerment Program through Industry Collaboration).

This is sponsored by the company Samsung Electronics Mena, and it aims to provide business development opportunities to regional fashion talent through a series of initiatives, a spokesperson stated. - Tasshon