This year, the holy month of Ramadan will begin around Thursday, April 23, and while this may still be a few weeks away, now more than ever it is good to have something positive to focus on.
While we may not be in the mood for shopping just yet, the enforced pause of the present situation is a great opportunity to reconnect with designers in this region, and discover the incredible talent on our shores.
For the holy month, many have created dedicated collections, while others have curated a selection from their spring / summer offerings. Either way, there are myriad ideas and styles for even the most eclectic of tastes. Here, we have shortlisted our 10 favourite regional talents, from high fashion to new arrivals.
Despite being a relatively small name, Serrb has already earned a reputation for its abayas, kaftans and capes. For Ramadan, the label is embracing all things fringed, with thick, luxurious tassels used in lieu of any other decoration, with tremendous success. The resulting looks feel rich and unexpected, as tassels frame a V neckline, hang from the wrist, and even edge a bodice in shades of terracotta, eau de nil and pewter. Using high-sheen satin (often tightly belted), this feels simple yet effortlessly stylish.
The queen of sequins musters her skill again for Ramadan, most notably with a batwinged, floor-length, column dress in beguiling icy blue sequins. Elsewhere, the use of sparkle is more subtle, sprinkled lightly across the collarbone (on nude mesh) or down sleeves in dizzying gold. Despite all the dazzle, these fluid, cut-to-move dresses are lightweight and, above all, elegant.
Despite being named after the French capital, Ingie Paris is the brainchild of Lebanese designer Ingie Chalhoub. For Ramadan, she delivers long, draped chiffon gowns in romantic florals, which fall beautifully from a gathered drop waist. With a feminine wrapped neckline, and in colours that shift from dusky rose to soft, flattering yellow, these are the sort of dresses one buys for an occasion and wears forever.
Rami Al Ali
Ever the couturier, Al Ali has injected his signature flair into these occasion looks, with A-line dress cut from iridescent fabric, finished with short bell sleeves, or over-layered in delicate chiffon for a dreamy, romantic effect. In softest, barely there tones of pastels, this is Al Ali at his best, draping and cutting materials to perfection.
With an eye to the playful, Ajlani offers unpretentious looks that veer from upbeat yellow florals, with a double-ended metal jewel waist detail, to quiet shimmering calico tones scattered with sequinned moons, caught at a wide banded waist. Blissfully understated, these are ideal for those who crave simplicity, yet still like to look their best.
Amal Al Raisi
For Ramadan, Al Raisi offers a gentle conversation in cream, mocha and cornflower blue. Beautifully simple, each piece is well cut, with flowing lines and decoration kept to a chic minimum. Delicate trails of embroidery climb up bishop sleeves, and fine wisps of bugle beading sit scattered around boat necklines.
A new arrival on to the UAE fashion scene, Beyond is about statements, with open-fronted abayas and kaftans splashed with large scale patterning. Some carry vertical lines etched in white, while one kaftan is covered in an almost Ancient Egyptian-inspired sunburst motif, in antiqued gold.
Founded in 2014 by Latifa Al Gurg, Twisted Roots is about lightweight, clean day looks, with candy-striped cotton sliced into airy frilled dresses, and long-line shirts that reach to the ground. Crisp white, light pinks and cool blues make up the asymmetric necklines and puff sleeves, that are decidedly refreshing.
Noor Al Bahrani
Another new name is the eponymous Noor Al Bahrani, a label that despite being so new, still manages to evoke an ethereal femininity that is truly lovely. Soft, hazy tones of lilac, cream, blush pink and pale coffee are transformed into demure dresses, on which sit fragile pieces of lace and beading.
Already known for its resolutely fashion mentality, Illustrella Moda's Ramadan collection is elegantly experimental. Two dresses in particular stand out. In olive green, one dress echoes the cut of Cristobal Balenciaga at his best, while another, in buttermilk, has a tailored dropped waist and fabulous leg o' mutton sleeves.