Best Of: Fashion Forward Spring 2017

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The Fashion Forward Spring 2017 collections showcased at d3, Dubai

showcased catwalk shows and presentations from 31 emerging designer brands hailing from across the Arab world. Vogue Arabia selects the standout looks from the Spring 2017 ready-to-wear and couture regional showcase.

AMATO

A model walks the runway during the Amato show at Fashion Forward Spring/Summer 2017 held at the Dubai Design District on October 23, 2016 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Amato Spring 2017 Couture. Photos by Getty, courtesy of Fashion Forward

Designer Furne One of Amato creates a Spring 2017 couture collection that juxtaposes Eastern exotic with Western arid landscapes. The hybrid “desert virgin” is feminine in lace and linen, but also edgy as demonstrated with bustiers, cutout yokes, and sheer dresses. Some couture pieces feature urban accents—cue a sheer embroidered jacket with bomber trim. However, a firm highlight is the frothy couture tulle—whether tiered or rippling—it keeps eyes fixated and moving.

Video: Watch the Amato Spring 2017 Couture show here.

ARWA AL BANAWI

Arwa Al Banawi, Spring 2017 RTW. Photos by Getty, courtesy of Fashion Forward

During a recent meeting with the inimitable Azzedine Alaïa, I asked for his discerning thoughts on the trend of young Arab designers sourcing ancient references from their homelands. “C’est grave,” he stated. (Loose translation: “It’s a serious problem.”) In Alaïa’s opinion, young designers must drive the creation of new cultural codes through fashion that pushes design into the future—not the past.

This season, Saudi designer Arwa Al Banawi did just that. She resurrected her original “suitable woman” brand identity to feature a slew of tailored pantsuits with beautiful linings. Prints—Al Banawi’s fun forte—also returned with cat spots, hand-drawn popsicles, geometric motifs, and exotic flowers in an electric palette.

Video: Watch the Arwa Al Banawi Spring 2017 RTW presentation here.

BOUGUESSA

Bouguessa - Presentation - Dubai FFWD Spring/Summer 2017

Bouguessa Spring 2017 RTW. Photos by Getty, courtesy of Fashion Forward

French-Algerian designer Faiza Bouguessa’s Fashion Forward presentations are always a highlight. Her fine attention to detail stretches from each stitch to her show and it’s not uncommon that people leave with a number of pieces checked as ready-to-order. This Spring 2017 collection has a French Riviera vibe (the designer cites tunes by French songwriter Sebastian Tellier as an influence), while the white pieces in silk, cotton, and tweed with chic piping are the highlights.

Video: Watch the Bouguessa Spring 2017 presentation here and see the full lookbook here.

EZRA

Ezra Spring 2017 Couture. Photos by Getty, courtesy of Fashion Forward

Couturier Ezra Santos sources the Philippines’ Banig weaving technique for his Spring 2017 couture collection. Created with dried palm and sea grass leaves, the woven mats offer a textured look, which Santos showcases throughout his collection dedicated to the artisans who have worked alongside him for the past 12 years. The strongest looks from the acclaimed show (that saw Farida Khelfa front row) come in underexaggerated silhouettes and monochrome colors.

Video: Watch the Ezra Spring 2017 Couture collection here.

HOUSE OF NOMAD

House of Nomad - Presentation - Dubai FFWD Spring/Summer 2017

House of Nomad Spring 2017 RTW. Photos by Getty, courtesy of Fashion Forward

House of Nomad designers Ahmed El Sayed and Saleh Al Banna return to their sports-luxe aesthetic with men’s and womenswear separates in matte satin, cotton, and mesh in a vibrant palette. Skirts are short, pants are loose and long, and menswear, in particular, feature attractive graphics. The collection feels uplifting and fresh and makes for a welcome return to El Sayed’s and Al Banna’s roots.

Video: Watch the House of Nomad Spring 2017 RTW presentation here.

HUSSEIN BAZAZA

Hussein Bazaza Spring 2017 RTW. Photos by Getty, courtesy of Fashion Forward

The 2015 Fashion Prize winner, Hussein Bazaza, returns to the Fashion Forward catwalk with a collection inspired by beauty revived from a failed romance. Bazaza, whose signature is a menagerie of textures and cuts, features a dark Spring 2017 collection rife with menswear codes. Striped shirts and suit fabrics are cut, deconstructed, and resurrected in a dramatic storm of textual hyperbole.

Video: Watch the Hussein Bazaza Spring 2017 RTW show here.

MADIYAH AL SHARQI

Madiyah Al Sharqi Spring 2017 RTW. Photos by Getty, courtesy of Fashion Forward

“I love how this fanny pack is in lace, just like the dress,” remarked Vogue Arabia Editor-in-Chief, Deena Aljuhani Abdulaziz. Al Sharqi has maintained her signature of blending shapes and textures for years now—and this season’s collection features crepe, lace, and jacquard in a desert-hued palette punctuated with metallics. The brand, that hails from Fujairah, quickly sells out in stores like Fivestory New York for its fresh take on asymmetrical cuts and textural alchemy; but in this case, it’s a streamlined look that captures the eye.

Video: Watch the Madiyah Al Sharqi Spring 2017 RTW show here.

MIRA HAYEK

Madiyah Al Sharqi Spring 2017 RTW. Photos by Getty, courtesy of Fashion Forward

Mira Hayek Spring 2017 RTW. Photos by Getty, courtesy of Fashion Forward

Lebanese designer Mira Hayek’s Spring 2017 collection is aptly named La femme bonbon(The Candy Woman). Rippled accents recall ribbon sweets and punchy colors beckon the eye like a bowl of sugar. Hayek’s soft volumes are created with knit, mesh, popeline, and silk cotton. The 2016 Fashion Prize finalist, who boasts a loyal following in her hometown of Beirut, gives sportswear a feminine jolt with this collection that can appeal to a woman of any age—if at heart, she is a kid for life.

Video: Watch the Mira Hayek Spring 2017 RTW presentation here.

SAID MAHROUF

Said Mahrouf Spring 2017 RTW. Photos by Getty, courtesy of Fashion Forward

Using various silks, Amsterdam-based designer Said Mahrouf unveils a 16-piece collection that emphasizes his preference for draping and paneling. Dresses showcase redefined silhouettes—and the result is hit and miss. If at times the wide stripe silks came across as jarring, this glittering gold dress makes a sophisticated statement that appeales for its streamlined drape.

Video: Watch the Said Mahrouf Spring 2017 RTW presentation here.

SALTA

Salta Spring 2017 RTW. Photos by Getty, courtesy of Fashion Forward

Dubai-based designer Saltanat Baimukhamedova, who hails from Kazakhstan, continues her serene signature with bohemian pieces in loose silhouettes. The palette of mainly black, white, and blush features large tribal prints that inspires a zen-like peace. For the show, M.A.C’s Vimi Joshi created arresting moon makeup, meant to reference “a moment frozen in time.” These are clothes meant to be worn; that moment is one that represents freedom.

Video: Watch the Salta Spring 2017 RTW show here.

ZAREENA

A model walks the runway during the Zareena show at Fashion Forward Spring/Summer 2017 held at the Dubai Design District on October 22, 2016 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

Zareena Spring 2017 RTW. Photos by Getty, courtesy of Fashion Forward

This season, Zareena showcases a collection rife with natural chiffons and georgettes embellished with hand embroidery. With this “fairytale” collection, the designer literally wishes to remind her woman to “be a princess.” Women in the region searching for a special occasion dress in a soft palette will gravitate to these gowns for their flattering silhouettes.

Video: Watch the Zareena Spring 2017 show here.