Saudi designer Nora Al Shaikh continues to craft a unique design vocabulary that has earned her a following amongst an international clientele for her chic and relaxed approach to dressing. “I spend a lot of time observing how women dress and what they look for in clothing,” says Nora, who is slowly building a name for herself beyond the region. For the Fall/Winter 2017-18 season, she took inspiration from visits to museums and art galleries in Oman, Paris, London and LA over the course of a year. “I also explored the work of women artists who were part of the abstract impressionist movement such as Joan Michell, Helen Frankenthaler and Lee Krasner,” notes the designer, who used fine cottons subtly striped with metallic accents, light-as-air taffeta in a custom brush stroke pattern and soft airy wool sourced from mills in France and Italy.
Nora Al Shaikh F/W 2017 - 18
For the last few seasons the Saudi designer has been flying to Dubai to orchestrate her look book shoots with a creative team of photographers, hair and makeup artists and set designers. “There are a lot of benefits to shooting in Dubai at the moment because the resources are here. But I’m also pretty hands-on and prefer to do the art direction, model selection and styling myself to maintain the brand’s story,” notes Nora, who shared with Bazaar a video offering a behind the scenes glimpse into the makes of her look book. “I love creating these videos because it’s an opportunity to show the clothes in motion and take people along on my journey as a designer,” says Nora, who introduced new materials into her collection.
“I found a wonderful lightweight velvet in mouthwatering shades of dusty rose, midnight blue and a deep emerald green that was new for me this season,” adds Nora, who produced updated versions of her signature deconstructed shirt-dresses and blouses featuring metallic mesh paneling and fan pleating; accessorizing the looks with corrugated straps to accentuate the waste. “It’s about building on the brand’s existing story. Take the looks apart and you’ll find versatile pieces such as easy palazzo pants with mesh side vents or a coatdress that can be layered over existing pieces in ones wardrobe,” notes the designer whose FW collection was picked up by a number of retailers including Ounass.com, Sid Boutique in Riyadh and Jeddah, Sauce in the UAE and NASS Boutique in Kuwait.