Wednesday, January 23, 2013

DAILY DIARY: The Last Day of Muscat Fashion Week

DAS abaya rack, abayas not shown on the MFW13 runway.  The sleeves say "Love" in Arabic calligraphy. P.S. All photos unless otherwise credited are my own.  and this photo was taken on the second day of MFW13, not the last;p

Mauzan's very friendly and knowledgable design team related to OPNO that the inspirations for the MF/13 catwalk collection ranged from Medieval tapestries... to the volume of layered cotton-prairie skirts, along with all the other obvious abaya trends, like netted lace overlay, emphasis on the shoulders, with something slightly rock or sporty chic thrown in.
The star of the collection, the one I would likely buy myself, is this piece, with a peplum back. I love peplum. Always have, not just since it became a big trend.
 The beautifully embroidered (and often pearl strewn) floral panels found themselves bestowed in an array of cuts, from the bountiful to the slim, and were often constructed with the thought to be unique, or to allow for individual styling, such as a detachable drape that could be affixed in more than one manner. One particular abaya reminded me of a vintage 1930s Chinese dressing-gown.
Perhaps my favourite piece(s) were the abayas layered with coloured eye-lit cotton that resembled the volume of a prairie skirt when tied close. I hadn't seen this particular fabric successfully used by an abaya designer thus far, and I can see this design being successful as a casual piece, because what woman doesn't remember wearing one of those with love as a little girl?
While it isn't a new idea for abayas right now, laser cutting was beautifully done in an Arabesque pattern to allow the dress worn underneath to be seen. This seems to be the trend right now in Muscat, to have see-through panels affixed to the bottom of the abaya hem to the knees, and at the wrists. While not particularly on the glimspse-the-garment-underneath trend, I was particularly impressed with the laser-cut leather at the wrist of this abaya. Zhor Rais also featured leather roses on of her pieces, as Leather was done by abaya brand 'Arabesque' for last season and I am really feeling the leather trend right now. Not in an equestrian-Gucci-sporty way, but more like a tough-but-feminine Valentino. I really like how feminine leather roses seem. As close as I could ever see myself getting to leather and spikes is this abaya, white lace gloves, and Valentino's studded sandals. Beyond the laser-cut Arabesque design, there was a much more punky slashed design, I could see catching on fast in Kuwait, and with some of my bolder and more cutting-edge friends. I was a classics girl way before Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl trounced along.
Mauzan featured a very beautifully-cut design (which they should definitely market as the Mauzan-cut because their label seems to have popularized it first) with classically lovely (while not individual at the moment) lace overlay [which I did not photograph] that was one of my favourite pieces from the collection. The same cut of abaya covered with pieces of mirror inspired by the latest collection by shoe designer Christian Louboutin [in case you ladies want to match your red-sole to your abaya]. I don't care if it is on trend or not. I always love mirrors.
Other key international fashion trends like the trench-coat, and boyfriend shirt, were interpretted in abaya-form by the Mauzan-team. The trench-coat was lovely in a sheer organza with a hint of plum, very much in line with Burberry's actual collection but with an abaya edge. I wasn't a fan of the boyfriend-cut. It could go very early 1980s bad-Jordanian-jilbab very quickly.
Design-team for Mauzan backstage. Photo taken from Muscat Fashion Week's Facebook page.
Being that this is the first time the Emirati [Al-Ain based] label has showcased in Oman, when asked what they thought about Muscat fashion week the Mauzan design team told OPNO that Omani women seemed very fashionable, and very interested in fashion. So perhaps we will be seeing more of Mauzan in Muscat in the future?
Photo by Latifa Al Shamsi for
I also had to ask, because I couldn't resist, where the inspiration for the 'Sultan Qaboos' abaya design came from. I had seen Emirati fashion blogger Latifa Al Shamsi in it, and for the life of me couldn't reckon the exact Omani influence. The secret will here be revealed: the colours from the Said Mussayr (turban worn by Sultan Qaboos and his ancestors). The moment I asked, there emerged from the Opera Galleria escalator, the exact design in question, with a pair of colour-courdinated Louboutin shoes, and Hermes bag.

Omani women interested in fashion?: enough said. [While I was under-cover in a floral-printed village "leso" and 9 rial Seeb exhibition abaya;p].
It was here that we ran into my [via my husband] nephew's wife shopping the collections with a friend.
New to me (but apparently not to relatives) is Omani label "Endemage" which means, 'a merge' to signify the blend of Omani culture with international fashion. The label began with a collection of unique abayas sold from the UAE but the designer, Lubna Al Zakwani, has always been Omani.
This was immediately apparent to me when I noted the sheer gauze and wide-sleeved construction of an evening abaya. "This is based on a Sharqiyah [Eastern-Omani] Suri [style of regional dress]!" Which got me quite excited. I also noted the use of Omani textiles, such as the striped suri silk of Eastern Oman, as trim for an abaya sleeve, and in some of the skirts and trousers.
I had the chance to meet with the sister, Nadia Al Zakwani, of the designer who explained to me a little about the history of this relatively new brand and where their fabrics were sourced from.
At the moment the collection is available though "Arab Fashions" boutique in Al Qurum, Muscat Governate of Oman. It has been around in UAE for a few years already, but with Muscat Fashion Week the two sisters behind Endemage are ready to take center stage in Oman. Endemage started as an abaya brand but they have added another element to their repertoire, making their customer aware of their other capabilities.
"We purchase our fabrics here in Oman from local shops," sister Nadia related to OPNO. "What we do is we customize them. This top here, you will see, was a sheer fabric which we have beaded ourselves." Laser cutting also seems to be a big part of the collection, along with an almost 1930s Wallis Simpson style silhouette. 
Lubna wore the same dress as shown on the Muscat Fashion week flyers to the opening night of MFW13
I personally loved the 1930s shape to designer Lubna's dress worn for the opening night of Muscat Fashion Week. The white buttons on each slim cuff, white lace at the back, and a side fishtail braid, she was one of the most stylish women in the audience, that's for certain. I also remember taking in her sister Nadia's abaya, with gold sequined shoulders, another one of my favourites for the night. I can't pull off sequins myself so admire anyone who can quite jealously, and Nadia wore it so well she was glowing.
The vivid teal colour---and unabashed volume---of the the show-stopper reminds of an Arabesque version of a Dior debutante rebel.
Photo taken from Muscat Fashion Week's facebook page.
I have to say, even though I didn't catch the runway show myself... due to an overload of parties and weddings, this had to be, surprisingly, my favourite collection so far. My standout: the abayas worn by Lubna an Nadia for the finale of their show. I guess I really do need to get working on getting a little Endemage into my closet.

I also liked this Jizdaani clutch:
I've always known about The Jizdaani brand but never ventured into the hotel gift stores where it was previously sold. It was nice to talk to the designer about the inspiration she found in Omani traditional silver and textiles. I also loved the blue handbag featured below, as it was shown on the runway, in a nude pink.
 For more information on any of these brands see their facebook pages:
Jizdaani: (I will try to get the FB link later as the website is quite outdated and the designer said she dealt with most of her orders through the facebook page).


Umm Ibrahim said...

Mash'Allah! jazakh'Allah for your lovely pics and details! How wodnerful...I'm laughing at ur "The trench-coat was lovely in a sheer organza with a hint of plum, very much in line with Burberry's actual collection but with an abaya edge. I wasn't a fan of the boyfriend-cut. It could go very early 1980s bad-Jordanian-jilbab very quickly"...hahahaha. nodds head...indeed indeed!

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Umm Ibrihim: Jazzakallakheir for your lovely comment;).

I find alot of the younger girls can carry of those trends I cannot. Shoulder pads (bad 80s experience, boyfriend cut (bad jilbabs from 80s---but Endemage and Malaak have some shoulder padded numbers that tempt me. Still, I resist. Classic are safer. I don't want to be photographed and then ten years down the line go, why did I follow along.... ahjhhhhh