Arab Fashion Week: The Full Recap

Couture Spring-Summer 2022

Ready-To-Wear Autumn-Winter 2022/23

The Women’s Arab Fashion Week Couture SS22 & RTW AW22/23 coordinated by the Arab Fashion Council and presented by its strategic partner Dubai Design District (d3) has featured over five days, 27 international and regional designers from across America, Asia, Europe, and Africa. Arab Fashion Week is supported by a prestigious lineup of some of the biggest multinational giants such as Meta, Microsoft, Windows, GoDaddy, Aramex, KIKO Milano, Schwarzkopf Professional, and Waldorf Astoria DIFC.

This year the Arab Fashion Council divided the official Calendar into three programs; Couture SS22 Calendar, Ready-to-Wear AW22/23 Calendar, and the Events Calendar, which included retail pop-ups around d3, holistic art experience, Meta Takes Fashion luncheon and parties around the city.

Inclusivity and diversity were at the central stage with the Tunisian-Dubai Born model, Ameni Esseibi, named the Council’s first curvy Ambassador during an intimate dinner at Waldorf Astoria DIFC on 23 March 2022.

This season’s Calendar has witnessed a record of the highest number of Arab designers’ participation from North African Arab countries, Levant, and GCC. In addition to a higher number of Arab models walking the runway, in particular from UAE, Lebanon, Tunisia, and Sudan.

Fashion Week Highlights

Day One

The Egyptian designer, Maram Borhan, opened the Couture Calendar Spring Summer 2022 at this season’s Women’s Arab Fashion Week, showcasing a collection with a clean aesthetic. Maram Borhan’s collection featured classical silhouettes with contemporary textiles. Her collection was a breathtaking display of delectable fantasy.  

The show continued with The Dominican/ Lebanese designer, Giannina Azar, who showcased for the first time in the region. Giannina started the show by showcasing Passarellas by Giannina Azar, which is just one of the shining examples of her artistry. Then, she followed the mainline collection ‘Mirrors’ that focused on reflective details and embellishments on the most delicate high-quality textiles.  

Palestinian designer Ihab Jiryis closed the first day with a Royal Spring/Summer 2022 collection. The opening of his show was energetic, with a model wearing her golden headdress and gown, liken to a sun goddess. The theme carried throughout the show, featuring long sleeveless structured-bodice dresses with flowing gowns and side slits.

Day Two

The social media giant, Meta, hosted an exclusive “Meta Takes Fashion” lunch at Gohan to connect the Fashion Industry creators and Fashion designers. 

The second day’s shows kicked off with the renowned Indonesian label Hian Tjen. As expected, Hian Tjen has triumphed in creating Haute Couture; and allowing a peek into the world from which his ideas come. Again, culture was heavily represented with significant impact, from the complex and intricately designed beading to the conversational prints. Hian also had Asian-inspired patterns on light quilted fabrics and blazers in traditional and non-traditional silhouettes. 

Russian label Humariff touched on virtually every perception of spring: soft pastels and beautiful blooms or solid earth-inspired elements; that helped spawn those lovely flowers. It was a brilliant and beautiful collection.

British label LuLu Liu brought a unique perspective to Haute Couture this Spring/Summer 2022. Gathered ruffles with feathered details and sparkling elements were expressed delicately throughout the collection. Patterns were also not the average flower-inspired print but likened to paint splashed.   

Polish label Dorota Goldpoint was versatile and first-class. The collection featured a sophisticated and lavish conservative look where gold colors dominated the looks. Following her successful debut at the Arab Fashion Week, the Polish label has established her regional presence by opening her showroom in Dubai Design District, which is in line with the Arab Fashion Council’s vision to attract international designers to set up their business in Dubai.

Day Two came to an end with the Dubai-based designer Michael Cinco. As usual, Cinco’s presentation was not only a showcase of the new collection but also a show of emotions that continuously mesmerized the audience. The audience experienced 20 minutes of breathtaking scenography and lived storytelling of eternal peace. The Impalpable Dream of Peace narrated the tree of life that emphasized how glorious one can be at any age and shape. It started when the renowned Caroline Labouchere walked on the clouds like a powerful matriarch, followed by the well-known first Curvy Ambassador of Arab Fashion Council Ameni Esseibi. Cinco collaborated with the luxury swiss label Ferronato featuring exclusive handbags on the runway known for their patented metalized fabric that protects users’ privacy by blocking signal interferences with any device.

Day Three

The third day of Women’s Arab Fashion Week, RTW AW22/23, kicked off with the renowned Dubai-based French/Algerian label Bouguessa. Bouguessa’s AW22/23 collection translated the trend of oversized volumes effects in the most flattering way. Talking about Bouguessa’s menswear, her pieces are sleek and relaxing, more in tune with the demands of now. She styled men in lighter shades of pink and rich hunter green. 

The show was followed by the Lebanese designer Aboud Jammal, whose vision for Fall-Winter 2022/23 is striking. The movement was a consistent theme for the season, and Aboud’s tasseled monochromatic pieces were a great example. His AW22/23 collection featured beautiful versatility with energetic vibrant colors.

Lebanese label, LiLi Blanc’s collection featured nothing but the must-have for businesswomen with a few exaggerated collars on her red-colored pieces. Still, aside from that, every detail was conservatively uniform. Black and white was also a prominent color theme in her collection.

Presented by the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, the French body coordinating Paris Fashion Week, Weinsanto’s collection, titled “Murdered in Paris,” was magnificent, bold, and Avant-Garde. Faces transformed into hypnotic patterns were printed all over the two-piece sets, the jumpsuits, and various blouses in the collection. The quilted fabric theme was also present in this collection.

Emirati designers Hessa and Fatma Ali Aljoker showcased Pearla’s AW22/23 collection dominated by luminous color and adorably modest feminine silhouettes. The color palette for the collection was very uplifting for the season. The pieces were more so multicolored and glowing.

Day three ended with the British-Jordanian label Mada’En by Farah Bseisso on a high note that brought energy to the runway. Bold, bright colors and asymmetrical flounced fabric details were gorgeously present in the collection composed of bodysuits. Each piece presented was styled with other looks of alluring silhouettes.

Day Four

Lebanese, Saudi and North African Arab designers took the central stage on the fourth day of fashion week.

The Lebanese sustainable brand Emergency Room, known for its upcycling, opened the day with a wholly urban-cool and trendy collection dominated by upcycled tapestry and patchwork-inspired, upbeat, and fresh designs.

Algerian label Ilyes Ouali was very imaginative in his approach to the various popular silhouettes. The fabrics were very lightweight, accentuating that body contouring looks. Ilyes Ouali’s AW22/23 collection was high-end yet approachable, with an ultra-cool modern aesthetic.

The essence of the US retail label American Rag collection embraced the youth culture. The manipulation of tank hemlines and sleeve cuffs gave looks a bit of ‘sassy’ appeal. Prints were also featured in the collection. American Rag had something for everyone, the classic vintage fashionista or the youthful hip culture of today.

The Saudi label Sara Altwaim’s approach this season is vintage flare. “Bloom” is the AW22/23 collection inspired by the 18th-century artist Walter Crane’s art. Even the colors were inspired by the 18th century period, blending nude with spring colors. Altwaim remarked on the occasion by making her first-ever public appearance.

German label, ALL’S AW22/23 collection was resilient with sturdy, breathable textiles and free-flowing designs. As a whole, the collection remarked on the subtle extravagant sophistication of conservative ready-to-wear. Instantly one can see the neutral color palettes on modest styles. They also made use of the fully vibrant color schemes anticipated for Fall. They created bodysuits, cinched waist rompers with flounce details, and flowing asymmetrical floor-sweeping gowns.

Polish designer Gosia Baczynska dressed highly influential women, such as Kate Middleton presented an AW22/23 collection inspired by the artistic renditions of French battles circa the mid-1400s. The padded shoulder catsuit is effortlessly chic; so was the cropped leather jacket, outfitted with the lush fur sash. The delicately constructed and deconstructed lace could symbolize chain mail worn in battle. Dresses with exaggerated puff shoulders exuded confidence and pride.

Haunting yet enchanting is how to describe the brand; Born in Exile. The first-ever Libyan label to showcase on Calendar. So naturally, the brand brought a fierce and rogue vibe to Arab Fashion week. Denim was used graciously as indigo blue made an appearance. The white embroidery was genuinely artistic. Red design prints on outerwear had a cultural reference and denoted Libyan culture.

Day Five

The fifth day of Women’s Arab Fashion Week, RTW AW22/23 kicked off with the Polish brand Poca & Poca. The talented duo of Poca & Poca consists of sibling stars Karolina, and Wiktor Gniewek. Karoline and Wiktor’s understanding of women’s everyday life was evident in this collection, where all the styles can be worn from work to play. The color palette was also subtle and could easily fit into many formal events.  Milan Fashion Week label Francesca Liberatore, known for its sensitive approach to sustainability, showcased a very ‘my fair lady’ vibe collection. The utilization of the lace was impressive. The patterns were distinct and gave each model a very ethereal appeal. Francesca’s color coordination was on-point. Cinched waists were also peppered throughout the collection and gave a nice color or pattern accent to the given look.  US-based, South African label Nouvelle Silk presented a conventional, breezy, bright, and bold collection composed wholly of innovative stretchable silk. As a result, every look was smooth and graceful. Sara Al-Saud, the Saudi fashion designer behind the LA-based label Death by Dolls, known for dressing major stars like Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Camila Coelho, Kylie Jenner, Loren Grey, Britney Spears, Doja Cat, and Saweetie, presented an electric collection that was the talk of the Arab Fashion Week. The 80’s inspired pieces hit the runway with monumental effect thanks to their bold and daring looks dominated by glittering and translucent statement showstoppers.  The renowned Egyptian designer Abeer Al Otaiba presented SemSem AW22/23 collection featuring metallic fabrics and bold, saturated green shades inspired by the Egyptian civilization. Layered designs made mainly of Plissé Silk and conservative flare is what every woman will adore from SemSem. Closing Women’s Arab Fashion Week RTW AW22/23 is the Dubai-based label Amato launched its first Ready-to-Wear line in an entire white monochrome collection. Theatrical and moving was the flow as each model walked the runway. There was undoubtedly a marriage in style for the collection, which Furne One dared to style white wholly white New Balance trainers.