Designers who recently showcased their work at the 6th Edition of the Ladies a La Mode Fashion Show held January 30 and 31, 2019 didn’t come to play — they were there to slay.
Held at the enchanting halls of Al Bustan Palace, Oman’s elites and fashion icons and observers were kept on their toes as piece after piece walked the runway generating a series of ohhhs and ahhhs mustered under bated breath.
If the two-day event is to be summarised, one would say that 2019 is the season of reinvention and re-imagination as the pieces not only tapped into culture and tradition but also played well with femininity, embellishments and embraced boldness and modernity.
The well-attended event was presented by Maserati and brought together local top designers and international trendsetters in the fashion industry with Axis Events working hand in hand with Al Roya Magazine to make the event possible and an affair to remember.
While international designers came armed with international expertise and fashion insider information, local designers brought along their mastery of the craft with their pieces speaking loudly of where they want to take Oman fashion.
Shaimaa al Wahibi without a doubt played to her strength breathing new life to traditional clothing making them relevant and relatable especially to the millennials whose appetite for fashion is growing year by year.
She successfully bridged the gap between modern and tradition keeping at heart the conventional and modest way of dressing of ladies in the Middle East.
“When I saw the maroon, orange and gold pieces comprised of a knee-length dress over a trouser and accompanied by the colour coordinated headdress, it was impossible not to associate them right away with Oman’s women national dress,” fashion observer and enthusiast Vianney Antonio shared.
“The trousers usually called sirwal and the lihaf or headdress, when you browse through fashion photos of women in the Sultanate over the years, you would notice their transition. And in her collection, Shaimaa is trying to tell women that there is something to be truly proud of their heritage and culture,” she added.
Over the years, critical conversations had been happening on social media with many young Omani women noticing that the only time traditional clothing is worn is on special occasions, weddings, Eids or important parties.
Several young women pointed out that there are challenges to wearing traditional clothes primary of which is convenience and the escalating temperature of the Sultanate, especially during the summer.
There have been yearnings to make them more modern, accessible, and fashion-forward yet practical and still appropriate to wear at any time.
“She really knows her strength and this is proof that either through experience or by listening that she is able to address this clamour from the young generation of fashionistas who are very proud of their image and culture,” Antonio said.
Soumia al Shairje also has several pieces that showcased her own interpretation of a modern Omani traditional clothing. Using the favoured pink, green and some gold embellishments, she created a hynoptising pieces reminiscent of a classical painting that stops you on your way. You can’t help but take a second look.
“Soumia’s pieces are quite eclectic. The pieces she sent on the runway, no two are the same,” one fashion observer noted.
“There are several pieces in her collection that I really like. She has several of them that looked oversized but were really complimenting the women’s body very well. They are all very feminine and intricate. Personally, I would love to have the flowy white and blue ‘Grecian’ cut dress which photographed really well. Anyone would love to have that,” Antonio said.
Designers Aishsh Abedelaziz, Saimah al-Monje and Nourah Karim also received rave reviews for their collection. They provided the needed diversity that made the fashion a real treat to everyone who attended.
Meanwhile, Lebanese designer Antoine Salameh has brought along with him intricate and daring pieces’ worthy of celebration.
“Salameh knows what he is doing. All I can say is that almost all of his pieces took my breath away,” Antonio shared.
“He knows how to embellish a dress, that’s for sure. He makes what I used to think were boring colours and make them alive and very interesting. Looking at the pieces in his collection, there was nothing there that I can’t imagine I don’t want to wear. These are global products worthy of true appreciation,” she added.
YERU EBUEN & TITASH CHAKRABORTY