Nora and Noor spotted at New York Fashion Week

The Longchamp Fashion show at NYFW 2019. (AFP)
Updated 12 February 2019
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Nora and Noor spotted at New York Fashion Week

DUBAI: British-Moroccan model Nora Attal and Libyan-American journalist Noor Tagouri were spotted on catwalks around the city at New York Fashion Week — and it’s being lauded as a step in the right direction for diversity on the runway.

Attal walked the runway for Brandon Maxwell, whose collection ranged from pantsuits with plunging necklines and caped sleeves to full-bodied skirts that sweep to the ground and cinch at the waist. He designed in black and white and monochrome for some looks, the Associated Press reported.



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A black sports bra with a keyhole was worn under a sleek black blazer trimmed with satin. There were cinched white coats worn over white skirts barely visible from underneath. Maxwell also showed black-and-white leopard print dresses with a subtle “B” hidden in the pattern.

US-Palestinian model Bella Hadid also walked in the show, appearing in a satin white dress that zipped in the front to reveal a white turtleneck. Of the 35 looks, only six were in color.

Hadid also took to the runway for Prabal Rana Gurung, who now has 10 years in the business behind him and looked home for inspiration to Nepal, where he recently spent some time.

The result was a joyful, bright ready-to-wear collection — a theme he had introduced last season after several years of more sober designs, AFP reported.

He played with sari draping, especially in ikat and mandala-inspired prints.

No monochromatics or tone-on-tone ensembles here — purple or mustard yellow and turquoise, red and pink — women should use their imagination in Gurung’s world.
The designer said in his notes that he hoped to create a “multi-faceted, colorful and optimistic place where integrity, purpose, levity and love are our most celebrated virtues.”

As more and more American designers flee New York for London, Paris or Milan, foreign fashion houses are flocking to the Big Apple to take advantage of the style vacuum.

Case in point: venerable French label Longchamp, which is looking to develop its stateside presence and staged its second New York show at the weekend. Attal walked the runway for the brand, which is known for leather goods, handbags and riding gear.

For next fall, designer Sophie Delafontaine kept it classy but sensual — embracing pleated short skirts, black studded leather and lots of looks in black and white.

For her part, journalist Noor Tagouri walked the runway for US brand Rebecca Minkoff as part of the label’s push to highlight inspiring women on the catwalk.

“Storyteller @noor went out of her comfort zone today when she hit our catwalk this morning. She was one of many inspiring women who walked our runway today,” the brand posted on Instagram.


The MENA fashion designers dressing up social causes

Updated 24 August 2019
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The MENA fashion designers dressing up social causes

  • How designers in the MENA region are making a different kind of fashion statement
  • The ethical fashion movement is spreading to the Middle East and North Africa

CAIRO: Fashion is about far more than just trendy outfits. The growing demand for ethical clothing is one example of how designers are seeking to leave a legacy beyond the runway.

The ethical fashion movement is spreading to the Middle East and North Africa. Recent initiatives include Talahum by UAE-based designer Aiisha Ramadan, who created coats that transform into sleeping bags for disadvantaged and refugee communities living without proper shelter.

In 2016, Cairo hosted ICanSurvive, an event to commemorate World Cancer Day. As part of the project, 32 cancer survivors were paired with fashion designers to help them create the outfit of
a lifetime.

“I consider this to be one of my biggest achievements,” said Egyptian couturier Ahmed Nabil, 28, one of the volunteers at ICanSurvive. “I still can’t let go of the moment I saw her crying from happiness when she got to wear her outfit at the event.”

Though a transformational experience for Nabil, this was not his first attempt at thought-provoking designs. He was only 23 when he launched his company, Nob Designs, in 2014 to begin a journey of exploration by designing clothes for unconventional causes and experimental concepts.

The company sells a diverse set of fashion pieces with designs that aim to inspire conversation. Nabil’s creations are much like art pieces at a gallery, but instead of being displayed on canvas, they are exhibited on t-shirts, tops, dresses and abayas.

His latest collection combines street fashion inspired by underground culture with Arabic calligraphy. The Halal Project endeavors to blur the lines between conservative and edgy to demonstrate that fashion designs can be accessible to anyone.

“It’s all about the idea of accepting one another regardless of differences,” Nabil said. “My main aim for this project is a call for all people to peacefully coexist.”

Nabil added that the shift towards tolerance is not something that just the general public needs to work on. Fashion designers themselves are sometimes biased in their perceptions.

Many millennial designers, particularly in Egypt, remain wary of exploring modest fashion, despite the trend’s rising popularity. Sometimes it is because they want to avoid defining themselves as conservative instead of being considered modern and trendy.

Fellow Egyptian designer Sara Elemary, who has been running her Sara Elemary Designs label for nearly a decade, agrees.

“Modesty is a big thing in Egypt. I can’t understand why they are neglecting it,” she said. “A woman doesn’t have to be in a headscarf to wear modest clothing. There are so many famous designers for whom modesty plays a big role in
their work.”

Meanwhile, events such as Dubai Modest Fashion Week have been promoting the concept and encouraging budding designers in the region to consider this trending domain.

“I believe that there’s a problem with modest fashion, but over the past two years, that issue has started to diminish as designers have incorporated more modest designs in their collections,” Nabil said.

The next step for him is getting into the couture domain with his long-awaited project, Nob Couture. The look of the new collection is still a mystery, but he seems determined to continue sending messages and starting discussions through his designs, which he said are inspired by his life experiences.

As for designers in the region, the time is ripe for them to start supporting the causes they believe in through their work. Whatever topic or fashion style they decide to pursue, they need to be fearless in triggering conversation in the Arab world with their creations.