In pictures: day one of the digital Arab Fashion Week FW21 shows – Mada'en a highlight

With an all-new digital-only format, the fashion event is breaking boundaries

Powered by automated translation

The latest season of Arab Fashion Week has kicked off with an all-new digital format.

Instead of taking place in front of an audience, the new format featured three opening designers digitally showcase what was dubbed the autumn / winter 2021 collections, despite the rest of the world unveiling autumn / winter 2020 and, at a push, spring 2021.

Aside from the scheduling oddity, however, the shows were broadcast live over social media, and were created under strict Covid-19 restrictions, in a testament to creativity and determination.

Mada'en showed at day one of Arab Fashion Week, FW21. Courtesy AFW

Best of all, selected pieces are available to order, straight from the runway.

Opening the event was Hong Kong's non-profit collective From Clothing Of, which presented a strong day collection based around reworked suiting. In denim and lightweight wool, jackets were re-cut into dresses and trenchcoats exploded out with tartan panels.

Next up was another Hong Kong collective, Yeung Chin, which offered something a bit more punk with mohair, an oversized jacket-as-a-cape, and a deconstructed skirt teamed with a fabulous sweatshirt strewn with illustrations from Chinese theatre.

Jordanian label Mada'en revelled in old school glamour for Day 1 of Arab Fashion Week, FW21. Courtesy AFW

Closing the evening was the Jordanian label Mada’en, founded by Farah Bseiso, and now based in Dubai. Show notes spoke of a return to the glamour of the 1950s, which came through as grand cocktail evening looks, with exaggerated ruffles that swept around necklines and sprouted from shoulders.

Colours were bold and uplifting, with primrose yellow, cerise pink and a deep inky black that glistened under the lights. Close up, the details were intricate and elaborate, with hand beading snaking over a pleated strapless dress in cinnamon, celebrating the skill of handwork and the sheer, unashamed joy of dressing up.