Apr 21, 2011

Grazia Style Awards: I'm Showing My Support For Toujouri

In this year's Grazia Middle East's Grazia Style Awards, I showed my support for Qatar-based designers by voting for Toujouri for the "Best Regional Designer" award, the high end label created by Iraqi born designer Lama El Moatassem. Toujouri, which means "treasure chest" in Qatari Arabic, is the only designer label to have been nominated from Qatar.

The gorgeous Lama El Moatassem

You may remember that one of my first posts here on Under Your Abaya was about Toujouri and Lama, but for those of you who haven't heard of Toujouri, here's a quick recap:

After studying at the London School of Fashion and Central Saint Martins, and gaining valuable experience in both the design and business and marketing aspects of the fashion world by working at Chloe in Paris as well as working alongside Mathhew Williamson in London for three years, Lama decided to pursue her dream of launching her own fashion line and launched Toujouri in 2008.

Toujouri is a high end, luxurious womenswear label consisting of precious pieces adorned with rare embellishments, intricate embroidery and prints made from rich fabrics. Everything is hand stitched, hand embroidered and hand printed. The label offers something for every kind of fashion personality - east-meets west pieces; there are pieces with heavy arabic flavors like kaftans, while other pieces like cocktail dresses and jumpsuits have a more western cut and flavor to them. Some pieces combine the two.

Lama spends much time (and a lot of travelling) sourcing the fabrics and textiles, and working with the world's best manufacturers, buyers, departments stores and boutiques. Toujouri is even sold in Harrods in London ... I mean, how much better can you get than that? And Peter Marino designed her first flagship boutique, which is to open soon at The Pearl Qatar, the internationally renowned architect (and Karl Lagerfeld's friend) who also designed the Louis Vuitton and Dior flagships in paris.

Her current collection for S/S '11, called "Call of the Wild", was inspired by Sub-Saharan tribal culture, using safari colours as well as a palette of jewel tones and midnight colours like a night sky. Sequins and beads have been used to adorn the pieces with intricate tribe-like motifs and embellishments around the necklines and in panels as well as the use of traditional hand printing. My favorites from the collection have to be the kaftans and cocktail dresses with the watercolor-dye effect in midnight colours.

(From the S/S '11 "Call of the Wild" collection)

With only a few more days left for voting, if you would also like to vote for Toujouri, please click here.

Toujouri is available at:
Dubai - S*uce Boutique
Abu Dhabi - S*uce Boutique
Designers' Lounge
Eye Candy
Saudi Arabia
Jeddah- Cugini and Escape Evening
Riyadh - Harvey Nichols and Escape Eevning
Biba Boutique
Baycrew's Group

Trend Alert! It's a Seventies Comeback!

This Spring/Summer season has been all about a big seventies comeback … if you've been shopping lately, whether on the high street or at designer outlets, you can't have failed to notice that everywhere you go, there are seventies style flares, silk jumpsuits and retro print blouses hanging off rails and stacks upon stacks of seventies-inspired wedges and clogs. It's also a trend that will be here to stay in A/W '11.

Marc Jacobs' S/S '11 collection summarized the trend perfectly – rather than your typical hippie, bohemian-style seventies trend, this time around, it’s a more polished, sophisticated seventies look, inspired by 1970s New York and the glamour of Studio 54. As was the bold jewel coloured, block colour silk jumpsuits on the Gucci S/S '11 runway (and the Gucci A/W '11 collection is full of more seventies inspired, jewel coloured silhouettes). Your style icons here are Jerry Hall, Angelica Huston and Bianca Jagger.

While it was all high glamour and gold hot pants (not exactly under-your-abaya material) at Marc Jacobs, Etro presented more wearable daytime seventies looks.

So what are the key items you should be looking for when trying to nail the seventies trend, in particular under your abaya?

Flared trousers and jeans
Silk jumpsuits
Retro print blouses and tunics
Chevron/Missoni inspired stripes
Palazzo pants
Halter neck maxi dresses
Pussy-bow tie blouses
Peter Pan collar blouses
Pleated maxi skirts, tunics and dresses
Short tie-neck scarves
Fringed bags
Retro sunglasses
Flower corsages

The typical seventies colour palette are nude and neutral colours mixed with browns, taupes, oranges, burgundy, honeysuckle, magenta and chocolate, but you can be experimental and mix things up with bolder colours to nail two trends-in-one with the current colour blocking trend.

For a seventies-inspired daytime look, opt for a retro print or Chevron striped top or tunic paired with flared jeans or trousers and wedges, or a summery halter-neck maxi dress or jumpsuit. A seventies look which is sophisticated (and perfect for work), is a pussy bow tie blouse and a pleated maxi skirt or flared trousers. Want to go seventies for the evening? Think disco, and go for a jewel toned silk jumpsuit, or metallic coloured tunic with leggings or tights in a complimentary colour. 

(I created these looks using a fun styling website called Looklet where you can create looks using designer and high street pieces using virtual models.)

Apr 9, 2011

Pre-Order Haute Muse Magazine Now

Yes ladies, it's almost here, what we've all been waiting for, Qatar's very own, high-profile, glossy fashion magazine to rival the likes of Harper's Bazaar and Vogue.

The very first issue of Haute Muse, created by fashion devotees and popular bloggers Fatma Al Thani and Noor Al Thani will be out very soon, and guess what? I'm one of the contributing writers! The spring issue's cover star is Olivia Palermo, featuring an exclusive interview and photoshoot with the lovely lady herself, as well as an interview with British shoe designer Rupert Sanderson, fashion editorials and much much more!

You can pre-order online now and save up to 15% by visiting the Haute Muse website. 

EXCLUSIVE PREVIEW: Lucky Nooni S/S '11 Collection

It's another exclusive preview of one of the GCC's hottest tshirt labels' latest collections, Lucky Nooni's S/S '11 collection, a fun, vibrant collection with a light-hearted and laid-back vibe, appropriately called Khaleejis Just Wanna Have Fun.

You may remember my original post about Lucky Nooni, the Emirati/Omani label created by Omani fashion designer Sheikha Manar Al Hinai, who designs and creates adorable, one-of-a-kind tshirts incorporating traditional Khaleeji (Gulf) motifs in bold jewel colours.

Her S/S '11 collection is inspired inspired by the rich Khaleeji threads and embroidery often used in traditional women's garments - transferred onto the front of a tshirt. Rather than being a fashion statement, Manar sees her designs as being pieces of art which preserve elements of her culture and heritage in the midst of globalization.

The tshirts in this new collection reflect the name of the collection perfectly - they're bold, they're bright, they're summery and they're fun. They're also versatile - they can be paired with a pair of skinny jeans, cropped jeans/trousers, harem pants, palazzos, bright block-colour trousers and you've got an on-trend outfit ready to go.

"A Khaleeji in Miami"

"Lailat Khamees"

"I Heart the Gulf"

Lucky Nooni is available at:

Creme Boutique -  Bahrain
Boutique Muscat - Oman
Grafika Boutique - Al Wahda Mall, Abu Dhabi

Lucky Nooni is also available online at the Lucky Nooni website and online boutique.
For more information on Lucky Nooni, visit the website, or become a fan of the Facebook page for up-to-date news and information. 

If you would like to buy, carry the line, or meet the designer, Manar Al Hinai, send an email to lucky.nooni@gmail.com