Arabian girls just wanna have fun
Abeer Al Suwaidi: In a week that started off with average designers of traditional wear, Abeer Al Suwaidi's was unmistakably the best show of the week, with not one seat empty for her fast-paced, all-dancing presentation.
As the show started, a projection of a robotic woman speaking in a whispering tone ("You are not anyone" and "You don't give a damn") guaranteed the audience that the abayas would be exquisite and trend setting as ever — a perfect fit for Dubai's contemporary lifestyle with cuts and forms like the city's architecture. The creations were modelled alongside a dance crew shuffling their way to the centre of the runway to LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem.
Whether walking to the song She's A Monster by Ne-Yo in gold and silver face masks, or marching to Run The World (Girls) in bulletproof armoured and studded abayas (right), Abeer brought a new standard to fashion week. The need to ask whether female empowerment was her inspiration was redundant by the time the models with Wonder Woman style headbands came out. Other bold looks included high neck, African-style beaded designs, feathers and chains.
I overheard a Western lady saying she had never had the courage to wear an abaya but now she was going to buy one of Abeer's creations.
Buzzkill: The show was missing Hessa's touch. The label's previous shows were much better but unfortunately the two partners, Hessa Al Falasi and Hind Al Mutawa, have split because of personal issues, according to Hind, who is still selling at the Jumeirah branch. The 23-year-old, who started the label three years ago, chose fresh and tangy spring colours like peach, cream and olive. The high-waisted abayas were simple and elegant, with a geisha-meets Greek goddess feel. "It's inspired by nature," said Hind, who recently designed an abaya for Kim Kardashian. "I used half moon and laser cut-flower as our signature."
Wafa Al Katheri: Abu Dhabi designer Wafa's show brought little that was new for jalabiyas. With way too many outfits and a confusing circus of colour, her focus and theme were too broad, with designs reminiscent of Aladdin and Pocahontas as well as leopard and zebra prints. "My inspiration comes from travelling," Wafa said.
Mehwish Afzal: Looking for your UAE National Day outfit? Mehwish Afzal has the answer with a special jelabiya. But apart from that there was little that was new, just models in the same kaftans in different colours. The most obvious element was peacock feather headbands. With no pattern drafting in her visual dictionary, the looks were all high-necked, long-sleeved and crystallised.
By Roda Al Tayer