Oct 31, 2010

TREND ALERT! Off-White Hues

With all the melancholy blacks and greys which are typical of winter fashion, it was only right that designers break up their A/W 2010 shows with some snowy winter whites! And I'm not talking just your plain white-whites, I also mean your off whites and whites with tinges of blue, grey and creams too.

Karl Lagerfeld nailed winter whites perfectly for his A/W 2010 collection at Chanel. And as you can see from the pics below, there were no barriers to fabrics or textures.

Chanel wasn't the only big fashion house to showcase its pearly whites...so did Calvin Klein, Marc Jacobs, Gucci, Rodarte and Hermes.

The celebs have also been rocking some unique white pieces - my fav so far has been the gorgeous Kim Kardashian (when has Kim ever put a fashion foot wrong?)

Your inspirations? Think the Snow Queen, or Tilda Swinton as the Chronicles of Narnia's Ice Queen, or Alice in Wonderland's White Queen!

Getting your whites right

Head-to-toe white isn't easy...and if you don't choose your pieces carefully you can end up looking tacky rather than icy cool. That's why you should make like Chanel and mix white pieces with different fabrics and textures.

Also break up the white with pieces in the lightest of greys and accessorize in grey, silver and metallic shades. An all-white dress, top or shoe with silver or gold embellishment is the perfect choice.

It's official - every girl is now required to own a LWD - little white dress - in addition to the LBD.

Looking for winter-inspired jewelry? Go for white and grey pearls, white, grey and clear crystals, and small baubles.

My Picks

Sheikha Moza and Those Shoes!

These are the shoes causing a fashion frenzy as fashion and style bloggers and journalists around the world acknowledge what we girls in Doha knew all along...Sheikha Moza is the world's most fashionable first lady and the world's current style queen.

She wore these fur trimmed, icycle-heeled Chanel fantasy fur boots while on her state visit to the UK last week.

Take a look at this post on the Huffington Post to see what else Sheikha Moza wore on the trip!

And look out for my feature on Sheikha Moza's impeccable sense of style in the Nov/Dec issue of Isola magazine!

Oct 25, 2010

Vintage Boho...A Trend Inspired by Ralph Lauren!

It was love at first sight when I saw the vintage-bohemian prints on Edwardian-style maxi dresses and maxi skirts at Ralph Lauren's A/W 2010 show. And Ralph Lauren wasn't the only one to go a little old-school folky in their A/W collections...Kenzo did too, all though at Kenzo the vintage-bohemian prints were a nod to the Seventies, and at Peter Som, vintage-bohemian prints were combined with chunky knits and scarves for a look which was a little Nineties grunge. High street stores like H&M, Miss Selfridge, Monsoon and Dorothy Perkins are chock-a-bloc with floaty vintage-boho designs this season. This is the perfect trend to wear under your abaya.

Secrets to the vintage-boho look:

  1. The vintage-boho trend is a little different to your typical bohemian/peasant/gypsy look...this look is a little darker, sort of Little House on the Prairie meets a Gothic Little Red Riding Hood.
  2. You can nail two trends-in-one by mixing faux fur pieces with your vintage-boho dresses and skirts...i.e. a faux fur scarf, boots or bag.
  3. Accessorize with layers of long delicate beaded necklaces or opt for one jewel-encrusted statement bib necklace. Pile on the cocktail rings and adorn your wrists in metal cuffs. Opt for delicate vintage-style chandelier earrings. Anything which looks vintage is perfect...You'll find just what you're looking for at Lucky Brand/Lucky Brand Jeans stores.
  4. Stuck over what shoes/bag should go with your outfit? Look for classic leather and suede satchels which look a little slouchy and worn, and tan leather and suede boots, wedges and sandals. Brown or black leather lace-up boots with a chunky heel are perfect under a vintage-boho maxi dress/maxi skirt.
  5. Makeup? Keep it natural, or opt for either a smokey eye and nude lip or a bold dark lip (with the rest of the face bare).

More inspiration:

Elle Russia Nov 2010

Elle Russia Nov 2010

My Picks!

Oct 19, 2010

Trend Alert! The Minimalist Look

In strict contrast to the opulent pieces which have been edging their way back into the fashion world post-recession (look at my previous posts), this season has also been about minimalist clothing.

We're talking about simple, clean cut shapes and tailoring in muted shades of whites, creams, greys, beiges, navys and blacks, where less is definitely more. Going minimalist does not mean going plain and boring; this season's minimalist look may mean pared down fashion, but with a luxurious twist.

Minimalism ruled supreme in the A/W 2010 shows for Stella McCartney, Dries van Noten, Celine, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Elie Saab, Calvin Klein and Miu Miu.

The minimal trend is by far the most suited look for work wear as the sharp lines and super tailoring look smart, powerful and commanding...and there is no reason why you shouldn't wear this trend under your abaya...yes, no one will see that you are doing minimalist style unless the flares from your high waisted trousers peek out at the bottom from beneath your abaya, alongside with your high heeled boots or court shoes, but you will still exude smartness and confidence even by going minimal under the abaya.

How to go minimal

  • Minimalist fashion does not mean you have to stick to strictly plain clothing...it's all about pieces with little details here and there which draw the eye...for example, a bow, a ruffle, or an area of ruching strategically placed to the side of a blouse or dress.
  • Look for pencil and A-line skirts and round necked, collar-less tops and dresses.
  • Try to keep accessories as minimal as possible...even dare to go accessory-free!
  • Opt for body hugging jersey and wool knit structured dresses worn over opaque tights, teamed with high heels and a classic oversized clutch for a look which oozes minimalist sophistication (under your abaya).
  • Mix textures in your clothing.
  •  Over-the-top makeup is a no-no for this trend...enhance your natural beauty with pared down makeup, which is also right on trend this season.
  • Stick to monochrome white and black, greys, navys and nude colours.
  • Nail two trends in one by opting for a leather pencil skirt or a round necked, collar-less leather top or shift dress (best worn in winter to avoid unnecessary sweating in the Doha sun!)
  • Want to jazz up the look? Add an animal print bag or animal print shoes to your outfit (but not both!)

My Picks

Oct 13, 2010

I dream of an abaya from DAS!

Remember abayas ten years ago? They were practically dripping in sequins and crystals! To say that they were OTT would be an understatement!

That's why it is refreshing to find in the past year that abaya designers are incorporating directional fashion and elements of minimalism (which is a hot trend right now) into their designs.

You have the statement dress, the statement necklace, the statement bag and the statement shoes, but now there is also the statement abaya.

I would have to say that the real pioneers behind the statement abaya would have to be Emirati designers and sisters Reem and Hind Beljafla, who together created luxury abaya label DAS in 2008.

DAS stands for Daffa, Abaa and Suwaiya, which are the three types of abaya traditionally worn by Gulf women throughout history. The Abaa was usually in plain black so as to not draw attention to one's self, the Dafaa was a thicker abaya usually made from wool which was worn in winter, and the Suwaiya was the abaya for glam wear which was usually trimmed with gild thread.

Reem set about designing her own range of abayas by studying at the prestigious St Martin's College in London and learnt how to work with colours by working with world famous florist Jane Packer. Her sister Hind then joined forces with her and they haven't looked back since. Reem and Hind are two of the most successful business women in the UAE who have won countless awards for their hard work and success. And the success of DAS has been phenomenal. DAS abayas are so hot that they even have their own section in Harrods!

I literally become all dreamy when I see a DAS abaya, like a bride-to-be who sees a wedding dress in a shop window!

And guess what? I was lucky enough to get a mini-interview with both Reem and Hind!

When did it hit you that you wanted to become a fashion designer and design a line of luxury abayas?

Reem: I always had passion for fashion. But after graduating with a degree interior design and taking few fashion courses in Central Saint Martin School of Fashion, I decided with the help of my sister Hind to start our own fashion line. We have always designed our own abayas, but we also realized that people ask us where we get our abayas from. It came to our attention that there is a huge market for trendy and modern abaya designs, this is where we came in to fill this market need.

Where do you find inspiration for your abaya designs?

Reem: We get our inspirations from all over the world. We travel a lot and are directly exposed to international and global fashion standards. We also are constantly updated with the latest fashion trends and try to work it through to our local abaya designs.

Today there is a growing number of young women calling themselves abaya designers. What makes DAS abayas stand out from the rest?

Reem: As pioneers in creating abayas fit for all occasions, we raised the bar high to start with. Today's young women are equally exposed to international trends, and want nothing for themselves but to look glamorous at any given time. We at DAS made that happen. It is up to our well educated high-end audience to make the distinction.

Hind, how involved are you and your sister Reem in the production process of your designs?

Hind: We both complete each other in this regard and are equally involved in this manner. Reem handles the design aspect and I make sure it all goes smoothly and perfectly.

What's in store for your Spring/Summer 2011 collection?

Reem: For the new collection we have lace, tassels and 50s and 60s vintage cuts along with fresh youthful colors. Lace and tassels are timeless classic pieces, we worked their feminism and uniqueness into our abayas to give them the trendy classic chic look. Sometimes a little detail can make all the difference in the garment.

Finally, where do you see DAS in five years?

Hind: I see DAS as a high-end Emirati brand recognized globally.

Thanks ladies!

From the A/W 2010 collection

From the A/W 2010 collection

From the A/W 2010 collection

From the Resort '10 collection

Dying for a DAS abaya? Get yours by visiting the DAS boutique on Um Al Sheif Street in Jumeirah, Dubai, or if you're in London, pop into Harrods!

Need to make an order? Email DAS at info@dascollection.com.

For more information, check out the DAS website and the Facebook page

Be sure to check out Hind's fabulous blog!