The Collections: Made Real

BY HARPER'S BAZAAR ARABIA / Jan 25 2016 / 17:09 PM

This month the season’s key catwalk pieces arrive in stores, communicating each designer’s vision for spring/summer 2016 in an intense visual hit. Bazaar distils the essence of five of the top brands’ seasonal spirit with the help of the GCC’s most stylish women

The Collections: Made Real

Lubna Mobied wears: Dress, Dhs27,900; shoes, Dhs6,450, both Gucci


While it’s normally the accessories that catch her eye, 28-year-old Syrian Lubna, a cultural senior manager, tells Bazaar that this season it was Gucci’s shoes that stood out most. “I think the brand really excelled in that department for S/S16. The leafy mules are number one on my wish list,” she says. “I also particularly liked the stunning peacock designs that featured across the pieces this season. I love the originality of the collections, and the stories each tells.”


One of the most exciting and innovative designers in terms of reinvention and execution, Alessandro Michele continues to carve a mesmerising new path at Gucci. A psychedelic, kaleidoscopic feast for the eyes, this is a collection that wears its heart on its sleeve. A masterclass in styling, Bowie-style platforms, berets, drop earrings and all the trimmings have come to play. Think of the coolest girl at school, with access to Kate Bush’s show wardrobe and you have your new Gucci girl – and she’s someone we all want to be.  

Karen Wazen Bakhazi wears: Top (as part of set), Dhs7,400; dress, Dhs15,000; vest Dhs20,000; shoes Dhs4,100; necklace, Dhs2,900, all Dior


Describing the quintessential Dior woman as “high-achieving, romantic, classic, willing to take risks and  someone who stands out in a crowd,” 28-year-old Karen tells Bazaar that her first purchase from the brand was a Saddle Bag, bought in 2002 during a family vacation to Milan. “It was my first designer bag and it was the ‘It’ piece then,” the Lebanese lifestyle blogger recalls. “The design, its unique features, the fabric, size... Everything about it was perfect. I still have it. You never get rid of Dior.” 


With a backdrop of thousands of delphiniums on the runway, a gentler side of Raf Simons is unveiled this season. Inspiration comes from the warm winds of the South of France with a definite nod to Victorian nightwear. Overtly feminine, Raf plays with scalloped edges in white voile, light billowing sleeves and micro pleats, hardened only by the somewhat prim, artfully-tailored jackets, and chokers carrying a jewel around the neck. With just the right amount of sensuality and optimism, in his penultimate collection for Dior, Raf Simons perfectly captures what modern femininity should stand for. 

Dana Hourani wears: Dress, Dhs8,545; shoes, Dhs3,310, both Chloé


The ease with which 29-year-old Dana is able to mix and match Chloé pieces with other items in her wardrobe is part of the brand’s appeal, she tells Bazaar. “The pieces are so easy to wear, and can be dressed up or down, depending on the occasion.” The words “feminine, confident, down to earth, and raw,” are what she uses to describe the Chloé girl, adding, “I love the carefree spirit of the brand and how it captures the natural beauty and essence of a woman.” 


One of spring’s biggest trends, spearheaded by Chloé designer Claire Waight Keller, harks back to the 1990s, and pays tribute to a group of models and photographers that epitomised youth culture at the time. As playful as it is diverse, some of the more familiar romantic, off-the-shoulder peasant tops offset by oversized denim and tracksuit tops take centre stage. At the S/S16 show, every editor’s seat had a note that read, “This season’s collection is a tribute to girls named Kate, Chloé, Cecilia, Corinne, Rosemary, Emma and Courtney, who embody the liberty and elegance of a perfectly mastered and excessively lived simplicity.” 

Yasmeen Al Naif wears: Jacket; skirt; shoes, Dhs4,900; bag, Dhs33,500, all Louis Vuitton


“I like to think of Nicolas Ghesquière’s pieces as ‘casual couture’,” says Yasmeen, 29, the British/Iraqi owner of Juniors be Junior. “I love the way he experiments with silhouettes. The fabrics he uses are so technical, and yet all of his pieces are transversal, allowing me to mix and match high street products with key items and accessories from the runway.” Plus, Yasmeen and the brand share something in common. “Travel is a part of my DNA – as it is with Louis Vuitton.” 


While the rest of the market was searching the archives for inspiration, Nicolas Ghesquière was looking forward to create something new. Patterns that include sci-fi elements and shapes come in the form of space-age jackets and metal-embellished skirts. It is certainly the most radical collection yet for the ultimate modernist. 

Nadine Kanso wears: Top, Dhs4,800; skirt, Dhs6,700; dress, Dhs25,000, all Prada


The connection between Prada and the arts and film is one that 47-year-old Lebanese/Canadian Nadine greatly admires. “It’s a subtle yet strong association that has always fascinated me,” says the creative director of jewellery brand Bil Arabi. Though Miuccia’s vision resonates with her each season – “I love the powerful, curatorial aspect of every collection. There’s always a very clear message” – it was S/S12’s car-themed collection that has truly stayed with her. “I bought the catwalk shoes, the ones with the flames, and a bag. They’re pure art. I’m going to have them framed.” 


Miuccia Prada’s collections tend to speak for themselves. As eclectic as they are innovative, ideas are often embedded in the seams rather than one distinct message that needs breaking down for the masses. This season there is a common thread of embellishment and vertical stripes. An unusual clash of fabrics, patterns and colour that only Miuccia could pull off so artfully. 

Words: Katie Trotter and Maddison Glendinning. Photography: Richard Hall. Styling: Charlotte Blair and Sima Maalouf. Creative Director: Acacia Stichter. Set design: Nina Ross. Hair: Didi Fardaus Bazara and Tanya Van Reenen at Pastels Salon. Make-up: Joy Casto Al Haffar at Pastels Salon. With special thanks to Jotun. Prices approximate