In a show titled Take Me to the Sea, the label, headed by Furne One, delivered an all-white show (the third of the event) that shifted through lightweight menswear and womenswear in a nod to water usage within the industry.
“Sea is my sanctuary, it gives me love, peace and freedom — water and love are both endless and infinite — the only matter that cannot be measured," One told The National ahead of the show.
The show began with a short film, shot in Fujairah, that starred models Jelena Markovic and Pour Hassan, who is described as the brand's first "male muse". Pictured against stark tree branches, the pair can be seen in pale looks that at times seem to shimmer against the light.
For the show that followed, the same theme continued, with Bermuda shorts, anoraks, shirts and even capes for men, while for women there were long, midi and short dresses, heavily adorned with white on white embroidery, and often cut to pulsate with every step, like beautiful jellyfish. Many looks came finished with feathers and lace.
For One, this was more than only about the clothes, however, as he spoke about the need for the fashion industry to be more mindful of its practices.
“In our atelier, we have practised slow fashion and upcycling since the very beginning and I want to inspire new designers with the same concept so our industry will be sustainable for the next generation.”
“The limitless potential of love and the sea can change the world and I want to dedicate this collection to raise awareness of the importance of water and its use in the fashion industry. I want to make a statement of encouraging the industry to be mindful of the environmental impacts of creating fashion.”
The dreamy, atmospheric show One created was certainly impactful and with its wider message, stands as a barometer of the times.
Elsewhere, across the weekend, there was a wealth of creative output on show.
Scroll through the below to see highlights from Arab Fashion Week 2022:
Bouguessa, the Algerian-UAE label showcased menswear looks amid its women's offering, delivering a new masculine take on its largely season-less aesthetic. As a brand, it chooses to focus on well-cut wearability over time-specific trends, and here delivered a sassy array of cosy layering, mixed with sharp cutting.
Relaxed trench coats arrived over ribbed knit dresses, and oversized masculine blazers in khaki green were interspersed with pops of vivid red. There was pea coat-style double-breasted suiting — worn sans shirt — and a cosy fleece jacket zipped top under an actual olive green pea coat.
For women, this was cleverly echoed in a fitted jacket with no less than 12 buttons, and worn over well cut straight-leg trousers, cropped to the exact length on the ankle. The best look, and that perfectly captured this talented designer’s flair for cut, was the men's double-pleat front trousers and dropped-shoulder great coat, in sugar almond pink.
Also showing at the weekend was Emergency Room, the Beiruti label that repurposes dead stock. With a distinctive early 2000s feel, woven upholstery fabric and every shade of denim was remade into slip front, kick flair trousers, now worn low on the hips and teamed with tailored jackets. A bodycon dress was even skilfully patchworked from off-cuts, which is no mean feat.
Lili Blanc, from the UAE, offered tailoring with a twist, with hybrid shorts/trousers with an elongated blazer, and city shorts under oversized linen shirts. The brevity of cut and colour shifted the eye to detailing, such as a double-breasted formal jacket as a dress, and a notched neckline on a form-fitting long dress, and wide-legged jumpsuit.
From Jordan, the label Madaen pushed boundaries with a second skin catsuit worn with Tabi toe mid-calf silver boots, and plunge-necked swimsuit worn under a loose-fitting suit in sand. Finished with opera gloves in zippy red, it felt very Insta-worthy.
The Saudi designer Sara Altwaim, meanwhile, revisited the deeply feminine couture she is known for, now over-embroidered with words and images from fairy tales. The floaty, nude gowns were toughened up with leather body harnesses, while coloured looks — such as a lilac jacket with a dramatic front fold — came dressed with bouquets of flowers.
Born in Exile
Born in Exile, a brand inspired by Libya's heritage, offered pared-back tailoring that shifted focus to the details, such as patches of dense beadwork, and a T-shirt that riffed on those worn by members of the press during the Lebanese Civil War. While the original read "Don't shoot" in Arabic, French and English in a bid to keep the wearer safe from sniper fire, this version read "Flammable/Inflammable".