Even if you have just a sprinkling of fashion flair، you are likely to be familiar with the bigwigs of Middle Eastern fashion that have become go-to names on the global style radar. Elie Saab led the way، and was in fact the first Middle Eastern designer to dress an Oscar winner، Halle Berry back in 2002، and was joined by fellow Lebanese designers، Zuhair Murad، Reem Acra، Georges Hobeika، Georges Chakra and most recently Dubai’s Syrian designer Rami Al Ali، Filipino born Furne One of Amato Haute Couture and French-raised Algerian Yacine Aouadi، all of whom have become world famous for their red-carpet-ready couture.
House of Hashé
The Emirati Fashion Pack
The UAE’s latest batch of fashion talent is certainly giving the rest of the world a run for its design dollars. Dubai-based designer Madiyah Al Sharqi، daughter of the Ruler of Fujairah، U.A.E، HH Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi، is now in her third season and as well as her elegant statement pieces and sleek modern silhouettes being stocked in New York and Paris، has also won ‘Best Fashion Designer’ at the Arab Woman Awards. Also striking a very elegant note، and a must for Céline-ites، is UAE-raised Persian Ava Hashemi who launched House of Hâshé in 2013. For something a little more upbeat and quirky، Zayan Ghandour’s designs for Zayan The Label، the cool and contemporary wares of Bint Thani by Khulood Thani and Reema Al Banna’s fun and flamboyant creations for Reemami are all seriously covetable.
The Lebanese style leaders
Lebanon and couture have long enjoyed an A-list pairing، and relative newcomers Jean Louis Sabaji and his Alexander McQueen-esque dark appeal and Rami Kadi’s fairytale gowns are capturing contemporary couture hearts. But it is the country’s latest batch of ready-to-wear fashion exports that are catching the attention of global style gurus. Look out for Sandra Mansour and her utterly wearable contemporary aesthetic، which is now hitting shelves not only in the Middle East، but also in Europe and the rest of the world thanks to a recent trunk show with Moda Operandi. Rula Galayini whose standout bags have been included in Vogue UK’s best 100 bags and Hussein Bazaza whose classic and feminine yet edgy modern creations won him the 2015 Style.com/Arabia Fashion Prize.
Related: Luxury Shopping in Abu Dhabi
The Middle East’s Other Rising Stars
There is fashion talent emerging from every corner of the Middle East. English-Jordanian designer Hasan Hejazi’s luxury and bespoke eveningwear catapulted him into the London limelight when his first collection was stocked in Harrods in 2010 and has since attracted a celebrity following including Kylie Minogue and Eva Longoria، while Bahrain-based design duo Noon by Noor’s modern، effortless and understated luxury has been snapped up by style stars including Olivia Palermo and Alexa Chung، following their spring 2013 debut as the first ever GCC brand to showcase at New York Fashion Week. Fellow Bahrain designer Hala Kaiksow، winner of the British Fashion Council’s International Fashion Showcase، looks set to follow in their footsteps. Flying the flag for Kuwait is Kuwaiti-Indian Tahir Sultan، who was the first Kuwaiti designer to show at London Fashion Week back in 2012. Although born in the States and raised in Britain، Lamia Asudari is of Saudi heritage، and was touted by Vogue Italia as one of the eight emerging talents of 2014، thanks to her transcultural collections، focusing on bold colour and prints. Also beautifully fusing east with west is Qatari sister trio The Kayys.