Burberry and the Burka: Hints to tweak this Fall's fashion for the Arab street
Syria is SO last season - we like our military on the catwalk, not in the form of airstrikes.
Forget politics - it's in the Middle Eastern fashion world where things get really heated and frought, knotted and browed! Delving into the latest looks in designer wardrobes, how can our racy region actually rock the season’s must-haves in the Middle East where modest equals hottest?
Many hot, young and trendy rich Arabs are self-confessed fashion freaks. You wouldn’t enter their homes without spying a copy of Vogue, Elle or Cosmopolitan lying on their Hermès table or Versace sofa.
Think Louis Vuitton, think Dior, think Chanel, think FASHION! The latest trends are polka-dotted around the Middle East and with all that loose Gulfi change lying about, the region is well represented in fashion weeks all over the world.
The fashion cafe is no stranger to Arab designers - Lebanese artistes Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad (masters of the formal dress) have dominated the red carpet and are favorites of A list celebs such as Beyonce, Taylor Swift and the queen of twerking, Miley Cyrus. Any Arab should be proud to have a piece of that wrecking ball!
Despite the Arab passion for staying a la mode from wardrobe to salon, it's perhaps ironic that not all of the hot trends can culturally translate onto the streets of the Middle East. What’s for Miley isn’t for the Middle East’s fashion aficionados...Between all the leather, chains and skin on show, the majority of the wacky looks sported on the runway would earn you some filthy looks in return.
Looking at the Beirut high-street, you’d never know that “culturally-appropriate” is a thing. But don’t be deceived by those scandalous Beirutis - they push the boat when it comes to clothing and what goes in the corniche is not okay elsewhere in the Levant. Having to cover up and adhere to cultural norms doesn’t mean the interest in fashion has to fade alongside your dreams of donning a slinky LBD. The number of Arab female fashion bloggers and designers has seen unprecedented growth in the last few years - the spread of globalisation also means the spread of Gucci. With Iran, famous for its Islamic conservatism, having a stylistic 'second coming', the bounds of newfangled fashion seem to have no limits in the Middle East.
The dominance of Islam in the Middle East and the Quran's guidelines on how women should dress modestly don't always go hand in hand with what's being strutted on the Paris catwalk. Perhaps ultimately making the more creative in their search for their own style, Arab fashionistas can't simply slip on what's on the hanger - they have to keep in mind what’s culturally-appropriate for the sensitive and sometimes scathing masses. Sporting those daisy dukes and cowboy boots might be the summer’s hottest trend, but if you’re in Amman or even Dubai then you’d be advised to only go as far as staring at them in that copy of Harper’s Bazaar.
Keep it Arab street
In honor of London and New York Fashion weeks, we've compiled a handy guide of this season's latest trends and will break down which ones work and which ones don't (what’s hot and what’s not) in the tricky fashion climate of the Middle East.
So forget converting religions, we're all about converting this season's Fall fashions into appropriate Arab attire. From the catwalk through the corniche and into Cairo's cafes, here's what you can wear in the Middle East without getting cast out for going too far out! Without further ado, sneak a peak at our 2013 seasonal style guide and learn how to translate the most avant garde looks into acceptable Araby street style.