From stilettos to flats

Global shopper Natalie Van Rooyen, the buyer for the Kuwaiti ­super-boutique Villa Moda, tells us what's flying off the shelves.

A fluid frock by Roksanda Ilincic.
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Natalie Van Rooyen, the buyer for the Kuwaiti ­super-boutique Villa Moda, tells us what's flying off the shelves.

In Kuwait, the fashion mood

is always varied as we have so many diverse markets. But its mostly opulent and party-orientated, and never restrained. Our ­women love dressing up and making fashion statements.

Right now, we have

a huge ­demand for evening and cocktail dresses. Roksanda Ilincic is one of our best sellers at the moment, because its so different from the run-of-the-mill, and the shapes and colours are very flattering. We sell tunics and kaftans on a daily basis, both casual and more evening styles. Tunics from all our brands have been selling out like crazy. In terms of colour, literally every item that weve received in purple has sold out. The Gucci jodhpurs and peasant tops from the autumn/winter 2008/09 ­collection have been a great hit, and we've had astounding ­results with the Prada lace dresses from the ­autumn/winter ­runway ­collection.

From us, customers are searching

for individuality, so new brands with interesting designs Roksanda Ilincic, Erdem, Ossie Clark perform well, and their colour schemes are also very bright and attractive. Pradas latest collection is very chic, and the lace details on the dresses appeal to a broader audience.

In Kuwait, we always sell ­dresses

very well, whether its day or night, and hemlines have gone shorter in line with the trend around the world. In the past we sold more full-length dresses, so the fact that we have been selling knee-length and even very short cocktail dresses is quite surprising the risk I took in buying them paid off. I was very ­surprised with the ­initial response for Ossie Clark but very excited at the same time, as I adore the ­collection.

Our best-selling items

in menswear have been jackets, very vintage-looking or sporty, as well as smart blazers. Leather, velvet and sporty nylon bomber jackets have piqued the interest of our male shoppers, too. Our men still have a chilled dress sense and wear training suits and jeans they love the Dolce fit with the logo plaque. Our most fashion-forward piece that has completely sold out is the oversized trousers from Bottega Veneta's ­autumn/winter catwalk. Men are exploring their style more, and where before we sold very basic pieces like polo shirts and chinos, we are now selling more fashion pieces from Dior Homme, Jil Sander and others.

Our accessories business has

­really increased. We are doing well with ballerina shoes from designers such as Repetto, Miu Miu and Dolce & Gabbana in bright colours like yellow, cobalt blue and fuchsia. Platforms have kicked off for us as well, from Nicholas Kirkwood, Miu Miu and Prada, as well as flat boots and shoe-boots. Oversized clutches have also been a great success, in all the colours. Large handbags are still a hit and exotic skins have been in huge demand.

Women in general have ­accepted

the casual chic trend, which I believe is why our ballerina shoes are doing better than ever. When I moved to Kuwait three years ago, most women were ­wearing ­stilettos, even at 10am, but that has changed. But I am not ­surprised by the immediate reaction to Nicholas Kirkwood shoes, as our customers tend to be attracted to quirky and ­unusual designs.

The season has almost

come to an end for us, but the hottest items we have coming in are the Dolce & Gabbana couture gowns from the catwalk, as well as the Bottega Veneta crocodile Cabat bag, which is simply fabulous. The knee-length Gucci rider boots with fringes are also awesome. These items have been pre-booked by ­clients even before we have received them. Beyond fashion, when we launched the Assouline book store in our Al Manshar store the books were flying off the shelves. It seems our clientele is very ­interested in ­interior design and art.


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