Jan 27, 2011

Have you heard of Sara Japanwalla?

Fashion illustration by artist and fashion illustrator Sara Japanwalla

So much creative, artistic and stylish talent hitting the GCC and too little time to celebrate it all *gasping* and the latest jewel to add to the crown is Dubai-based artist and fashion illustrator Sara Japanwalla.

Born, raised and educated in Scotland, Sara studied at the prestigious Leith School of Art where she specialized in the fine arts as well as sculptures, illustrations and textiles. In addition to that, she also did summer courses at Edinburgh Art College and St Martin's where she studied life drawing and accessory design. She went on to gain a degree in Fashion Design and Textiles and moved to Dubai where she recently worked as a textiles designer for a leading fashion boutique.

Sara's work, both paintings and illustrations, are rich in texture and in another thing- culture...the rich and seductive tomato red attire of the flamenco dancers, the mesmerizing swirl of colours of the whirling dervishes, the tangible texture of leopard print boot which you can almost reach out and feel.

"I like to create art that is descriptive, rich and textured. Whether it is conveying the drama and passion of flamenco or the delicate frailty and softness of a ballet dancer, I strive to create a mood, an atmosphere and a sense of spontaneity."

"My fashion illustrations are bold mixed media with energetic splashes of dyes and a haphazard angular technique of sketching which gives it a fresh impulsive appearance. I also like to experiment with line variation and stylisation with my figurative works."

"My paintings take inspiration from real life - infused with saturated colours, texture and expressive brushstrokes they expose a surreal dreamlike version of reality from my imagination."

You can often find her work on display in the most chic of chic cafes in Dubai, as well as on online galleries and in regular exhibitions. Sara was a finalist for the Young Designer Award in 2007 at the Swarovski Bridal Show, a sure foreshadow of greater things to come.

Good luck Sara, we will be following your work and inshallah your success!

For more information on Sara Japanwalla and her work, please check our her website and join her Facebook group.

Jan 23, 2011

S/S 2011: This Season's Finger Bling

As you know, accessories can make an abaya pop, and rings should not be left out of the equation.

This spring there are four main ring trends: double rings, turquoise rings, stackable rings and flower rings. Cocktail rings will also continue to be fashionable.

What are double rings I here you ask? Well they are not knuckle dusters, that's for sure, but two separate bands that join at the top. As for turquoise rings, turquoise jewelry is back in, (to my glee as I am a big fan of turquoise), and to be really spot on trend, opt for turquoise rings set in gold. As for stackable rings, they were hot last season and are hot this season, particularly in yellow and rose gold. And flower rings, well you are going to be seeing flowers everywhere this season, so the perfect way to show a bit of floral fancy (apart from wearing a floral embroidered/embellished abaya) is to be rocking one on one of your manicured digits! 

Jan 22, 2011

Art Exhibition: Sindhu Jumani's "The Soul of Thought"

All fashionistas know, if you appreciate fashion and style, you are most likely to appreciate art, and the work of Pakistani artist Sindhu Jumani is definitely worth appreciating.
From Sunday 20 February 2011 to Monday 21 February 2011, Sindhu will be showcasing her latest series "The Soul of Thought" at the Art Space on the 9th floor  of The Fairmont Hotel Dubai.

A leader of the new Pakistani art movement, Sindhu established an artistic foundation through her studies at the prestigious Rhode Island School of Design (RISD) in Providence in Rhode Island, the United States, attaining a BA with honours in fine arts (did I mention she was on the honours list ever year she was there?) After graduating in 1997, Sindhu went on to establish herself in the city of every aspiring artist's dreams - the Big Apple.

Colourful, majestic, rich, fantastical, enchanting, haunting, dreamy and divine are some of the words you could use to describe Sindhu's paintings. In "The Soul of Thought", the main inspiration, or "muse" are women: “I am inspired by women. I translate their strength and bold presence through the depth of and extensiveness of my palette and canvas. My series represents a woman swathed in the multi-faceted layers of existence. The colors used are a coded language belying her strength and creativity”.

The women in her paintings, who are wearing traditional dress, may appear "silent" but what they gesture says a lot - layers upon layers of colour and pattern, in what appears to be traditional as well as ethnic or tribal colours and patterns and dances and even fireworks...almost a gateway to the "muses' " thoughts and imaginations.

An art exhibition not worth missing if you ask me!

Jan 19, 2011

Haute Muse, Matches Fashion, Iman Pasha and Olivia Palermo in Doha!

Olivia Palermo in Alexander McQueen

I am still pinching myself that I didn't get to go to the fashion event of the decade in Doha due to work commitments last Sunday...Olivia Palermo was here to collaborate with my favorite bloggers and fashion devotees Fatma Al Thani and Noor Al Thani, the creators of the highly popular blogs Haute Couturista and Eye Of The Day - Street Style, as well as the creators of the soon-to-be released fashion magazine Haute Muse (what a cool name!), as well as Matches Fashion of London and stylist Iman Pasha for a highly glamorous and exclusive preview of the S/S 2011 collections of some of the biggest names in fashion.

(From left) Iman Pasha, Olivia Palermo and Noor Al Thani

The lucky guests got the chance to view and buy pieces from Alexander McQueen and  Bottega Veneta's new collections as well as the new DVF vintage collection before anybody else!

The guests were of course the most fashionable and stylish residents of Doha as well as the glitterati of the neighboring countries of the UAE, Bahrain, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, including Hind Beljafla, co-creator of DAS abayas.

Gorgeous guests from Kuwait

An exceptionally stylish guest

(From left) Olivia Palermo and Hind Beljafla

Fatma and Noor, you make Qatar proud, and I can't wait until the first issue of Haute Muse comes out in a few months time!

Jan 13, 2011

Design and win your very own handbag with Fustany.com and Tasche!

One of my all-time favorite Middle Eastern fashion, beauty and style websites Fustany has come up with a fabulous competition/giveaway...the chance to design and win your very own handbag, have your design on view for all to see and then have your handbag shipped to you!

For those of you with a creative streak use the design of one of the above four handbags made by Tasche as your guideline and design. sketch and illustrate the handbag of your dreams, whether by hand or computer, then email it to info@fustany.com with the subject title "Design your own handbag".

Fustany will be uploading pictures of the best designs onto their Facebook page where fans can vote for their favorite designs through comments and Likes and the person with the most votes will win and have their design custom made for them by Tasche and then shipped to them.

The following are the competition guidelines:

- Sizes: (choose any of the below sizes to work with)

1. Juliette 36 x 24 x 18 cm (width, height, depth)

2. Grace: 30 x 18 x 8 cm

3. Tichou: 31 x 20 cm

4. Tina: 20 x 13 x 8 cm

- Colors, Patterns, Designs & material used: up to your imagination.

 The deadline for the competition is February 10 2011.

For more information on the competition click here.

Now go get designing and sketching!

Jan 9, 2011

On Arab Girl Blog

I've just found out UNDER YOUR ABAYA is listed on Arab Girl Blog which is a sort of community listing/directory of Arab girls' blogs (being half-Egyptian classifies me as Arab I guess).

There are some great blogs listed on there, you should check them out!