November , 2017, Dubai, UAE: Nine designers presented their Ready Couture Spring/Summer 2018 collections on the second and third day of Arab Fashion Week. As world’s only bi-annual Ready Couture Fashion Week, the AFW has established itself in the fashion world for showcasing creative and technical brilliance of both local and international labels.
The evening started with the Indian designer Nitin Kartikeya, presenting his eponymous label Kartikeya. Using contemporary silhouettes and forms as the canvases to showcase the rich and intricate Baroque patterns and embroidery, the collection celebrates the grandeur of the bygone times by presenting them as ultra-contemporary pieces. Kartikeya described his collection as “If pop-icon Madonna was to be envisioned by William Shakespeare, then my collection is what she would wear”.
French designer Christophe Guillarmé presented the second collection of the evening. The set is Christophe’s contemporary vision of Hollywood’s Golden Age. Flowing gowns and cocktail dresses, halter and boat necks, shimmer and chiffon effortlessly come together to create glamorous red carpet moments, reminiscent of the great stars of the yesteryears, and their great sense of style. The designer said, “My style is noticeable at first sight. I’m a real keeper of traditional creative approaches and exquisite finishing: my gowns are a mix between Glam Rock and Couture. My ultra-feminine style shows the contemporary way of creating glamorous icons”.
The evening’s final showcase was from Viola Ambree, the Swiss luxury fashion house. Clean and precise linear forms accentuated by handcrafted detailing were the highlights of this chic urban collection. The theme upholds every cosmopolitan fashionista’s requirement to be exquisitely dressed whilst doing everyday things. The predominantly white and pastel collection comprises of gowns, dresses, pant-suits and quilted jackets. Viola Ambree commented, “This Ready Couture collection was created to make every day and every occasion in a woman’s life memorable”.
Featuring six designers, the evening commenced with Phuong My, the Vietnamese designer. Her Spring/Summer 2018 Ready Couture is themed as “Daffodils”. The delicate flower is the essence of her 30 piece collection where soft pastels intermix with cool and warm tones exude the retro style of the 50s. Delicately embroidered or appliquéd, and set with Swarovski crystals, feathers and fine beads, the daffodil detailing are accentuated with pink, purple, green, yellow, black and white hues of the fabrics. A formal collection that epitomizes elegance, the gowns and dresses are a play of soft feminine colours with strong silhouettes. The pure silk collection carries her signature silhouette – the hourglass cocoon shaped bottom-half that showcases the feminine shape at its best. Phuong My commented about the inspiration she acquired from daffodils, “This is the flower of spring and summer and its delicate look and exquisite structure reminds me of the beauty of Asian women”.
The second designer of the evening was David Tlale from South Africa. The Spring Summer 2018 Ready Couture collection showcased retro glamour and stayed true to his signature showmanship. Elaborately structured cocktail dresses and statement piece gowns in vivid colours offset with elements of black created stunning visuals. David said, “My inspiration is always pop culture and glamour, into which I introduce the warmth and colour of Africa which is globally popular in fashion.”
Tamam Humariff from Russia followed, with her exquisite collection of formal evening wear and bridal wear that is the epitome of elegance and femininity at its finest. Intricate detailing and shimmering fabrics are used to create the beautiful cocktail dresses and full-skirted gowns. Magnificent in their structure and detailing, the full-length hoop skirted bridal wear with cinched waists and fitted upper-halves showed off the designer’s brilliance of technique and design. Tamam described the collection as an acknowledgement to the host city, “Dubai’s love for beautiful and gorgeous things was my inspiration. My collection celebrates the grandeur and magnificence that the city symbolises”.
The fourth designer of the evening was the pop-icon Mua Mua Dolls from Italy, renowned for its range of Mua Mua Dolls that became an instant rage with fashionistas across the world. The Spring/Summer 2018 collection continues the label’s celebration of pop-culture, taking every day names and turning them into ultra-chic urban fashion. Knitted tops and scarves teamed with full length silk skirts, fitted and sequined long dresses and kimonos emblazoned with graphics, and accessorised with the signature Mua Mua dolls, bags and sunglasses, brings out the fun and informality of fashion. Ludoviga Virga, the designer behind the label said, “Fashion is best done with lots of fun”.
Minaz from Malaysia presented the evening’s modest fashion collection. The sophisticated and elegant Spring/Summer 2018 Ready Couture showcased Minaz’s understanding and mastery over colour, form and detailing. From pant-suits to gowns, the entire collection was created with pastels and chiffon, with a hint of vibrant colours that gently contrasted with the overall subtlety. Minaz said, “My inspiration is summer and the practicality that is required for the season. Elegance is the key for every woman that wears modest fashion and every piece is not only practical but also elegantly brings out the feminine side”.
The evening ended with the second designer from Italy, Renato Balestra. Classic Italian style that was immortalized through Italian films and theatre of the 50s and 60s was the inspiration for this Spring/Summer Ready Couture collection. Full-on glamour and chic reigned supreme, with fitted cocktail dresses with capes, structured jacket and full-skirt ensembles and red carpet gowns with side-panels in black, gold and jewel tones. Each piece a stunning creation, the entire collection had all the elements of being show-stoppers.
The Arab Fashion Week at Dubai’s City Walk is taking place between November 15 and 19 and showcases Spring/Summer 2018 and Pre-fall/Winter 2019 Ready Couture.