Last night I attended Kuwait’s equivalent to London fashion week. Fourteen local and International haute couture designers displayed their work in the flamboyant style one might not necessarily associate with Arabic fashionistas. I was invited by my good friend, Tunisian fashion designer, Mr. Safi Rabah, who was taking part that evening, and so I took the opportunity, whilst exploring the world of Arabic haute couture to also expand my creative network.
The venue itself was impressive, an expansive ballroom located within the 5 star Hilton resort in Kuwait where upon entry I was greeted with floral tributes, complimentary gifts and an abundance of printed brochures advertising each of the designers participating in the forthcoming shows. This was a ladies only event, as are most such occasions in Kuwait, and I entered the Arabesque ballroom to view a sea of black burqas and abayas; it was surprisingly a very conservative crowd. Surprising, in that, the designs on show were far from conservative even, one might say, ostentatious.
Safi’s show was 9th of the 14 for the evening and it was worth the wait. Admittedly, I am slightly biased, but the creations I was presented with from Safi were far more bold, daring and flamboyant than those that preceded them. The runway parade began with a stunning piece, characteristic of a queen of the ancient Nile, the dramatic music specifically chosen to create a statement entrance. This was followed by an array of gleaming, bejeweled gowns all modeled by Amazonian tall models and each receiving applause from an ever more curious audience. But it was the final piece that really stole the show; reminiscent of Jean Paul Gautier or Alexander McQueen, a beautiful, if somewhat over-the-top be-winged, angelic, bride cavorted down the runway in true extravagant, haute couture style.
I have never attended a fashion show of this caliber in Kuwait, or even back in the UK, so I have little to compare it with but suffice to say I was impressed with the professionally organised event and the high level of creativity. Whilst not related directly to my research project, simply being surrounded by fellow creatives presented networking opportunities and I was kindly introduced to a number of other designers who I am now in contact with. Coupled with the inspirational, opulent surroundings I feel this was a worthwhile visit and one which rejuvenated my outlook to my own research and to my creative social circle.
All images above 1-7 were taken by Lisa Winstanley
Lisa Winstanley, Safi Rabah Haute Couture. 18 March 2015