Emirati designer Hessa Al Falasi and Manish Malhotra create an abaya saree for Etihad

The duo come together in the final episode of Etihad's 'Hosting the World' series, launched as part of year-long celebrations for the UAE's Golden Jubilee

Emirati Hessa Al Falasi with Indian celebrity designer Manish Malhotra. Photo: Etihad Airways
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Etihad Airways has teamed up with Emirati designer Hessa Al Falasi and sought-after Indian celebrity designer Manish Malhotra to create an abaya saree, to celebrate the UAE’s prospering fashion scene.

For the video series – part of Etihad’s year-long celebrations to mark the UAE’s 50th National Day – Malhotra visits Al Falasi in her studio in the UAE where the pair get to work creating, designing, cutting, stitching and fitting an outfit based on a fusion of the traditional Emirati abaya and an Indian saree.

A member of Etihad’s cabin crew joins the fashion duo in the studio, where she's fitted for the new piece which replaces her traditional Etihad uniform.

Known for her unique take on modest wear, Al Falasi is one of the most followed Emirati designers on Instagram today.

“I really enjoyed working with Etihad Airways and collaborating with Manish Malhotra to design a distinctive abaya saree for the year of the 50th”, she said.

Malhotra called their design "one of its kind". “I have always enjoyed designing a saree. Over the years, I’ve constructed several styles of the six-yard staple, which is my absolute favourite," he said.

"When Etihad Airways offered me [the opportunity] to create an abaya saree, to mark UAE’s 50th Anniversary, I knew they would meet at a crossroad of elegance and modesty, making it an effortless, chic, versatile, and one of its kind sartorial creation."

Launched in November, the Hosting the World video series had experts in various fields, from Formula One, to music and fashion, come to the UAE to meet with their Emirati counterparts.

The first video featured Emirati racer Amna Al Qubaisi and British YouTube motorsport blogger Sam Fane, who raced each other in Formula One cars around the Yas Marina Circuit.

Etihad’s year-long celebrations have included asking travellers to share their memories of the country, working with the youngest Emirati chef, Aysha AlObeidli, in the UAE to create a new in-flight dessert and surprise in-flight concerts.

“The UAE’s creative scene is booming and at Etihad we are proud to recognise and honour this through this unique series of collaborations. Flying in Manish Malhotra, one of India’s most renowned fashion designers, to work with the UAE’s talented Hessa Al Falasi has been a highlight of the campaign,” said Etihad’s Amina Taher, vice president of brand marketing and sponsorships.

The airline also took UAE Flag Day to new heights in November when it launched the country's flag into space.

Updated: December 07, 2021, 1:03 PM