Saudi designer Tima Abid’s debut collection at Paris Haute Couture Week can be summed up in a word as self-assured. The Jeddah couturier established her eponymous brand 16 years ago, and has since created bespoke outfits for private clients, including Emirati-Yemeni singer Balqees Fathi’s bridal gown, for her 2016 wedding in Dubai.
Abid's Paris showcase was held in a salon at the Four Seasons Hotel George V, in a candlelit setting with Tunisian singer Omayma Taleb kicking things off to a melodious note, as Syrian musician Assala Nasri and members of the Al Saud royal family took their seats.
A parade of 50-plus looks followed, each a skilful rendition of a spring-summer collection with haute couture at its heart: think light, often sheer fabrics, thigh-grazing hems and figure-hugging silhouettes. Butterflies, bows and braids adorned some of the dresses, while one look featured a white corset with a skirt made from crystal and feathers – a nod to the fine craftsmanship Abid’s atelier is capable of.
The final look was a wedding dress with a cape and veil – a light and airy take on bridalwear, which tends to be opulent and bead-heavy. It perfectly summed up Abid’s bold yet breezy aesthetic.
Even as male designers from the Gulf – from Elie Saab and Zuair Murad to Rami Al Ali and the two Georges, Georges Chakra and Georges Hobeika – continue to make their mark on runways and red carpets, Abid has proved herself as a female Arab designer who can match her peers on an international platform, right from her first high-fashion show.