Highlights from Arab Fashion Week spring/summer 2022

Back on the runway, the event brings the best fashion from the region and abroad

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Arab Fashion Week has made a welcome return with in-person runway shows, after two seasons of digital-only presentations.

To kick off womenswear for spring/summer 2022, the week opened with an awards ceremony to honour the Barbie doll, which was named as AFW’s second Fashion Icon. The singer Maya Diab, bagged the title last season.

Then came a runway show by Jeremy Scott, who delivered a Barbie-inspired collection for Moschino.

Amato followed, with a collection that delivered its signature Gothic beauty as tiered dresses, tightly corseted and lavished with embroidery, while Emirati designer Yara bin Shakar returned to the runway with a new focus, away from modestwear towards a new sleeveless style. Fans of her glamorous wear will still find rich fabrics and elegant cuts, but now with a new silhouette that exposes the back and arms.


Founded by Egyptian designer Maha Ahmed, Autonomie teamed up with Aramex for a collection called Metanoia, meaning to reform and become new. While such collaborations can be limiting for the designer, with sponsors wanting to see company logo’s writ large, Ahmed has handled it well, mixing her signature edgy feel with shades of Aramex red. Looks arrived as directional trousers, tunics and dresses in bold tones of gold, lime and peach, or in head-to-toe red.

Christian Cowan

In something of a coup for AFW, Christian Cowan brought its New York glamour to the Dubai runway. Known for looks inspired by the hedonism of NYC nightlife, Cowan is a go-to for Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Lil Nas X, with whom Cowan has a collaboration. The signature glitz arrived as shimmery cuts, animalistic leopard print and daring cutaway gowns.


BLSSD brought its humanitarian take to Dubai with a theme of Pret-a-gratitude, with proceeds going to support cancer patients. Its runway show features boldly graphic, oversized jackets, maxi skirts and asymmetric cuts designed to be folded into any wardrobe for instant snap.

Emergency Room

This Beirut brand turned the spotlight on the ongoing struggles Lebanon faces, by casting friends and clients as models for its show. As usual, it reworked vintage and off-cut fabrics into brightly coloured pieces that offered some optimism for Lebanon’s future.

Jazzy tie-dye was turned into high-waisted men’s trousers, and over-sized shirts, while discarded patterned cloth was carefully patchworked into long-sleeve tops, a strappy summer dress, and a cut-away, double-split dress. Even bed sheets were given new life as trousers, shirts and shorts.

Poca and Poca, and Dorota Goldpoint

Poca and Poca brought its sense of romance to the runway, with flouncy finishes, playful silhouettes and bold accessories, while Dorota Goldpoint delivered a show of red roses, with florals underpinning every look. Made into dresses and even capes, it was a welcome reminder of the renewal of spring.

Updated: October 28, 2021, 1:41 PM