Paris is always a good idea, or so the many artfully and tastefully memes suggest. We can’t deny it for a second. Being our third season on the ground amidst the buzz and fashion hubbub of the industry greats, you could say we’re more in tune with what to expect now more than ever.
It started off on a rainy and dreary note – far from the Paris we knew from previous seasons where the soleil shone so bright it added an extra twinkle to the Eiffel Tower. Based in the 8th arrondisement (that’s neighborhood to the untaught) we are in the thick of things.
After stripping off the last of the ‘airplane’ on us, it was to the first of many showrooms for the Autumn-Winter 2016 collections. By now we are revisiting and getting to know these designers more and more and seeing their brands evolve with time.
A strong trio of European designers to begin with, Plakinger, Julyen Carcy and Victoria Scandale (new to the force) presented statement pieces and beautiful cuts. We particularly loved the rabbit furred socks by Victoria – call it controversial but they looked and felt exquisite. As for Plakinger, the stand out dress was the royal blue number with the exaggerated bow (can be used in multiple ways) which we thought would be PERFECT for an evening outfit during the Holy Month of Ramadan – it has the right level of showiness and keptness too.
Julyen Carcy continues to find his path and now has conjured up a collection free of constraints and pretense – not that his previous collections were those things, mind, but he himself claims he is “finding myself and going towards what I really believe in”. His 70s inspired boho numbers with purposefully ragged stitching aims to ‘live and let live’ so to speak.
When it comes to regional designers of the Middle East, season upon season, it always amazes us what talent is emerging. As part of the Faux Consulting Showroom, Madiyah Al Sharqi, the ardent Marie Antoinette enthusiast, whose previous collections could easily put you in a regal mood, has still kept her fanciful pieces but has breathed different life into her collection. We particularly loved the botanical, statuesque dress with its mini train. Among the cohort of Middle Eastern marvels, is Dima Ayad, a first for us. Her shimmer and shine body con piece could stop traffic, quite literally. Marina Qureshi, a designer we’ve come to know through using her AW15 lookbook for our print edition of Ohlala Abu Dhabi, Bahrain and Qatar, has a breathtaking, floaty piece in her collection which has a mind of its own. Perfect.
But the complete 180 on her previous neon coloured collections (she had the most auspicious debut we’d ever seen), is Arwa Al Banawi’s Saudi Arabia desert themed AW16. The Bedouin chic and more camel, muted colours is very strong in aesthetic and truly honours the region’s historic beauty. The lookbook is one to indulge in too.
And in a quintessentially Parisian apartment (5th floor, painfully twee furnishings, natural light, coffee table reads, catalogue ready lampshades, urgh, can we move in now?) off Rue De Rivoli, we got acquainted with Reemami, who has possibly the most innovative take on simple clean lines with added Rock N’ Roll motifs.
The graphic designer by trade and at heart has incorporated majorly cool and off beat (quite literally, there are sound board prints etched into the pieces) takes on classic wear – like the beloved white blouse. How amazing is her art attack version? Without giving away too many spoilers, we saw Bouegessa’s latest collection. There’s a bigger event surrounding the eponymous designer, just wait for it.
When it comes to accessories, L’Afshar and Nathalie Trad continue to produce knock out clutches. The materials used are always interestingly sourced and put together in unique. Basically, we want one of everything, please?