Back In Vogue
When you think of Fashion Week, you think of the usual four locations; New York, London, Milan and Paris. Never Dubai. Dubai Fashion Week is sadly a location that has been overlooked and forgotten for many years, with collections that fail to live up to the impeccably high expectations of the fashion world. But with any luck, and a lot of help from new Creative Director Simon P Lock this is all set to change. “I am aware that Dubai Fashion Week — up till this point — has been fairly disappointing. And the new owners sort of recognised that and believed that they need to bring in people who have experience in establishing fashion weeks. That’s where I come in.” Simon has over 30 years experience in the industry, and having created and launched Australian Fashion Week back in 1996 plus currently holding the position of Senior Vice President for IMG models it looks like Dubai is finally in safe hands.
The opening ceremony last Wednesday was a clear indication of just how far DFW has already come. Set amidst its newly designed venue at World Trade Center, the collection show room was filled with 12 tons of sand creating impressive sand dunes that lined the sides (and centre) of the runway. A model dressed in a hot coral pink sheer catsuit by Mirela Stelea rode out onto the center of the stage upon a white Arabian horse to open the start of the nights performances, proving this would be a spectacular moment for the Dubai fashion industry.
As the week progressed we were pleasantly surprised that a few other designers than the traditionally favoured Furne One & Amber Feroz managed to create collections that were not only visually pleasing, but more importantly commercially viable. Jelin George enticed us with a collection inspired by the eccentrically dressed Mexican Painter Frida Kahlo. Jelin’s training under London based designer Roksanda Ilincic was clearly evident, shown through a collection of brightly coloured ensembles that clearly played with the dimensions of the female form. Long strands of thread were sewn over seams on the hips and bust to create tassels that swayed as the body moved. Likewise provocative golden leather corsets clung to the busts of dresses, exaggerating what lay beneath. Australian based designers Lydia Pearson and Pamela Easton of label Easton Pearson produced an eclectic collection based heavily on bold vivid prints in standout shades. Their clever silhouettes catered both to the eastern and western markets alike from pleated sleeveless day dresses, to oversized silken caftans. Our favourite? A bottle green and cobolt blue pair of printed cropped trousers worn with a matching sleeveless tunic top. Think Club Tropicana. Each look was accessorised with stunning sequin collars that stood out against the loud prints, glistening under the spotlights. Those are definitely on our wish list for next season!
Dreamy gowns flowed at Cartas, while Furne One’s collection enchanted us with its mix of rich textures and luxurious details inspired by romantic Shakespearean tales. Amber Feroz gave us his most compelling collection yet with an array of awe-inspiring couture pieces and exquisite panelled gowns that cemented his status as one of the region’s most gifted stars.
Impressively, more than 30 local and international designers were confirmed to showcase their collections during the week long event. However more are still needed if DFW is to become a go-to destination on the fashion map. The current two hour gaps in between shows are simply too long to create the buzz, the rush and the excitement needed to fill those empty seats that often line the front row. Ultimately this will stop those all important media members and buyers leaving the venue before the next show starts, as currently some don’t return at all. Simon Lock is not worried, “To be honest, getting it right is going to take time, such things generally do. But what I am going to do is to apply my 30 years of experience in building fashion weeks around the world and create something exciting out of nothing.”