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Arab Fashion Week closes with Warhol-inspired designs


11 Oct 2016


French-Lebanese designer Ingie Chalhoub has closed a busy Arab Fashion Week with a collection inspired by American pop art icon Andy Warhol.

Her models strutted down the catwalk in pleated skirts and blouses and disco-style dresses and jackets, all in a mix of bright red, fuchsia, blue and black. "My design is all about the Parisian chic woman who is travelling all over the world," Chalhoub told AFP after the show late Monday at a luxurious Dubai hotel.

This "woman is very feminine and glamorous," said the blonde designer, wearing a long black-and-blue skirt with a black top. "This collection was mostly inspired by an exhibition I saw in Paris from Andy Warhol and as I'm very fond of him I wanted to take back his drawings and his paintings and to make out of them some fabrics and some designs," she said. Chalhoub says she designs the prints she wants on her fabrics "very carefully". "I play a lot with the fabrics and I play also on the print," she said, adding that among her favourite combinations is matte crepe with the contrasting brilliance of satin.

Palestinian designer Jamal Taslaq's show preceded the closing act, featuring gowns in traditional Palestinian patterns as models walked out to the music of Lebanese composer and oud player Marcel Khalife. Italian designer Giada Curti also presented a colourful Spring-Summer 2017 collection with floral prints and stripes.

In its third edition, the fashion week presented more than 20 collections from more than 10 countries. The show shed light on designs by Gulf women, such as Lamya Abedin from the United Arab Emirates, Alanoud Al-Attiya from Qatar who refused to appear on stage or camera, and Jeans Couture by a Saudi mother and daughter duo. It also presented the first ever Emirati model, Rafeea al-Hajsi.

Very different

Organised by the Arab Fashion Council, which represents the 22 countries of the Arab League, the week aims to attract fashion-conscious women from the Gulf, as well as luxury buyers from Russia and China.

Alina Cocci, who came from Milan to attend the week, told AFP after Chalhoub's show that she found the Arab designers "amazing". "They're very particular. They have this oriental touch that we Europeans don't have, so this is something interesting," said the Italian, who works in the fashion industry.

She did however criticise the "organisation" of the event, with shows being delayed for at least an hour-and-a-half every day, adding that unlike in Paris and Milan, Arab Fashion Week has attracted a limited audience. Russian artist and fashion illustrator Alena Ogden said that "it's very different from other countries," with more evening gowns on display. Designers showcasing their pieces at the Dubai show "know their clients very well, the Arab women, so that's why it's all... gowns (that are) so bright, shiny, and extravagant but not much street fashion."

Asked if she had Arab customers in mind when designing her collection, Chalhoub insisted that "today there is no such fashion that is only for the Middle East or only for Paris." "With the internet... fashion is becoming more and more global." (AFP)

Images: Arab Fashion Week facebook

Arab Fashion Week