Designers from the Middle East took Paris, the last stop on the official fashion calendar, by storm. Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad, two firm fixtures on the Paris Fashion Week schedule, spun their usual magic. The world-renowned Lebanese designers, who are constantly dressing A-list stars for the red carpet, presented their latest creations with all the usual sophisticate aplomb. However, we also saw two Dubai-based brands make their impressive debuts in the French capital. Kristina Fidelskaya and December Nineteen are great examples of why the region’s fashion industry is on the up and up.
While we say au revoir to Paris, here are the highlights of their collections.
Wild Things At Elie Saab
With jungle foliage décor in the background, Elie Saab presented tropical looks that took you straight to the lush Amazon while sitting in the chic Grand Palais. Whether it was all those python prints, embroidered foliage, leaf shapes, tropical botanical prints, frond patterns or the vivid green, Cerulean blue and bird-of-paradise hues, Saab once again proved why he’s a Paris Fashion Week favourite.
A 70s theme permeated much of the collection. We saw jackets with great cuts as well as slouchy, safari and bomber jackets, fringed skirts, long princess or sheer dresses and weekend separates including embroidered T-shirts. There were also several long silk pieces, including kaftans that are perfect for pool lounging. For eveningwear, Saab’s forte, he went for embroidered and beaded evening gowns with car-wash skirts and revealing lace jumpsuits with lingerie-like details.
Ancient Promises At Zuhair Murad
Once again Zuhair Murad, who only unveiled part of his collection, showed us why he reigns when it comes to understanding the female body, mind-blowing tailoring and elegance with just the right amount of drama. For his latest Paris offering, the designer had two sources of inspiration, and both will have you making a grand entrance next season. With ancient Greece in mind, there were looks fit for a warrior princess, as well as those that are perfect for women in a mood for some romance and sprite-like magic.
As well as studded jackets and beautiful trouser and jacquard suits, we were treated to an array of belted and long gowns (some with a deep ocean motif), fringed pieces, Murad’s renowned beautiful jumpsuits and tight-fitting leather. Knitwear was also aplenty, including dresses with accordion pleats and crystals. Black, white and gold studs helped put a stamp on the powerful and sensual looks, while feathery embroidery, embellishments, pastels, some macramé and lace were spotted on the dreamier ones.
Romantic Drama At Kristina Fidelskaya
For her Paris Fashion Week debut and ninth collection, Kristina Fidelskaya was inspired by the romantic drama “W.E.” The women in the movie are determined yet graceful, and Fidelskaya’s spring/summer 2018 collection is an overall appreciation of this balance.
The Dubai-based designer’s ‘Anima’ show focused on sculptured volume inspired by Brutalist architecture, pure lines from 30s architecture and romantic art deco in America. The stronger looks incorporated muted, earthy tones like mercury, rose quartz and dry tobacco with delicate materials like silk twill, linen toile and organza. Fidelskaya, the Creative Director who spearheads the eponymous prêt-à-porter brand, included a notable jacket dress, structured figure-empowering shapes, as well as floating and loose fitting styles and perfectly cut and shaped two- piece looks. As always the looks were feminine, effortlessly chic and simple with silhouette-embracing styles.
Inconspicuous Confidence At December Nineteen
December Nineteen is another UAE-based brand to make its first appearance at Paris Fashion Week while launching its debut collection, with the help of The Time Tomorrow showroom. Originally from Denmark, but living in Dubai, it’s not a surprise the Founder and Creative Director, Linda Bruun Lacin, looked to Scandinavian and Middle Eastern aesthetics for inspiration. She loves to meld the rough, cosy feel of old Middle Eastern traditions, sometimes looking at Bedouin culture, with cool Scandinavian minimalism.
The sophisticated spring/summer 2018 collection, aptly called “The Introduction," is the epitome of everything modern, timeless and pure. With neutral colours rather than bright hues at the forefront, the separates are simple and sleek. In fact, they’re so simple you won’t see any embroidery, embellishments or stones at all. The December Nineteen woman seems confident enough without any lavish trimmings. The shapes are structured, with that relaxed and loose air you can find all over Scandinavia.
Justly, the collection stays true to the reason why Lacin started the brand. The former stylist believed there was a need for good quality understated pieces in the Middle Eastern market. The SS18 collection will be available in stores across the region from December 19, 2017.