Our favorite designers did it again!
The one thing we love to see is Arab talent – both emerging and established – make their mark on the international fashion scene. While most have become fixtures on the Paris Couture Week calendar, watching Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, and others unveil their collections is always a moment of immense joy and pride for the Arab diaspora in the region and beyond. As the week comes to an end, here is a recap of all the Arab designers that elevated couture to an art form this season.
Saudi designer, Mohammed Ashi of Ashi Studio, showcased yet another collection as a part of Paris Couture Week. As international media and friends of the brand took up front-row seats at the Palais Tokyo, the Saudi label brought the desert to Paris to unveil its Spring/Summer 2023 Haute Couture collection, titled 'Moonlight and Dust.' Presented on a runway made up entirely from black sand, the Ashi Studio Spring/Summer 2023 Couture collection – as always – demonstrated the designer's imaginative take on volume, structure, and eye-catching trims.
For his Spring/Summer 2023 Couture collection, Elie Saab did what Elie Saab does best: through his extravagant designs, he treated the audience to an indulgent escape from the ordinary into a glamorous realm of momentous festivity. A beacon of Arab talent on the Parisian runways, the Couturier was inspired by the culture and nature of Thailand. Saab presented a magnificent collection of elegant capes and coats, asymmetrical bodices, and plunging necklines adorned with the label's signature intricate embroideries and embellishments.
The Georges Chakra Spring/Summer 2023 Couture Collection was an expression of femininity and extravagance, featuring dramatic volumes in striking colors. The collection served a fresh, audacious color palette of neon yellow, coral, emerald, and bright mint hues, adorned with decadent embellishments of crystals, sequins, and stones. A testimony to the label’s design supremacy and craftsmanship, the collection – a celebration of the designer’s love for silk gazar – saw exaggerated volumes and tailored silhouettes working in symbiosis. The opulent garments were complemented by equally bold accessories like extra-long earrings and stunning cuffs, among others. For the finale, the Maison presented a magnificent bridal gown – a remarkable first for the designer – in striped blue and hand-painted rose pastel silk Mikado.
The Georges Hobeika Spring/Summer 2023 Couture collection celebrated relationships, emphasizing the significance of the people who, through good and especially bad times, stand as our unbreakable pillars of strength. To highlight the theme of love and togetherness, the show's casting included real-life friends of the Maison that walked down the runway in pairs, creating an unforgettable moment for the brand. Dressed in ornate designs, famous faces like Leonie Hanne, Cynthia Samuel and Adam Bakri, Ameni Esseibi, Diala Makki, and the Twins Hadban took over the runway.
Maison Rabih Kayrouz
After a hiatus of three years, Maison Rabih Kayrouz made a much-anticipated comeback on the Parisian runways with an intimate Couture show for a select list of invitees. Inspired by the very women who wear his clothes, Kayrouz draws parallels between his return to the Couture runway and that of a woman returning home after a long yet beautiful day filled with love and joy. Inspired by this idea, the Lebanese designer sent deceptively simple-looking designs down the runway, which — upon closer inspection — revealed the complexity of their construction.
Rami Al Ali
For his Spring/Summer 2023 Couture Collection, Dubai-based Syrian designer Rami Al Ali narrated a sartorial tale inspired by one of Greek mythology's oldest fables, Golden Fleece. An ardent admirer of exemplary craftmanship and meticulous execution, the breathtaking 30-piece collection flaunted both sculptural and flowy designs. Washed in delicate pastel hues, the collection comes alive in the softest shades of sky blue, mist green, lavender, champagne beige, and blush pink, adorned with sparkling silver and gold embellishments. The excellent craftsmanship of the Maison, the rich materials, and the complexity of the embellishments is a testimony to the house's savoir-faire.
Titled 'Stardust Voyage,' the Tony Ward Spring/Summer 2023 Couture collection is an emotional tribute to the designer's father, Elie Ward, who passed away in October 2022. The collection symbolized the end of an era and the beginning of a new one as models dressed in ethereal designs, oversized capelines, and intricate embroideries illuminated the runway in memory of the late Couturier, who established the family's couture house in 1952. From dramatic voluminous silhouettes and cascading sculptures to glittering embroideries, the Tony Ward Spring/Summer 2023 Couture collection – showcased in the Palais de Tokyo – brought the mystical stardust down to the runway.
Zuhair Murad's Spring/Summer 2023 Couture collection took us on a whimsical journey back in time to the French Riviera. Drawing inspiration from the carefree spirit of La Belle Époque, the Lebanese designer imagined the life and wardrobe of young heiresses of the bygone era. The collection embodied the architectural details of the time in the form of embroidery patterns.
Luxurious fabrics, dyed in a vibrant color palette in shades of pink, orange, blue, and green, were adorned with the brand's signature intricate embroidery. The collection also incorporated elements of the Roaring Twenties, including fringes, gathered waists, and crystals reminiscent of the joyous era, expressing a longing to resume life as it was before the pandemic and other global crises.