Like Sophia Webster and Charlotte Olympia before her, budding footwear designer Farah Sultan has forged a distinctive aesthetic that will remain at the heart of her shoe brand Arnaa beyond its debut this season. “While we grow as a business we really want customers to connect with our core designs to build a loyal following,” says the 29-year-old graduate of Arsutoria in Milan, which counts Fratelli Rossetti among its hallowed alumni.
The 12-piece collection, which launches for spring/summer 2016 at Harvey Nichols-Kuwait, draws inspiration from the botanical universe and the fantasy culture of the 1980s. Florals are picked out in 3D and an ankle strap comes with stand-out leaf decoration. “I felt that there was a gap in the market for a footwear brand that intertwined elegant design with comfort and fun,” Farah explains to Bazaar. “I started Arnaa over 10 years ago, constantly adapting the creative process.” Before wholeheartedly committing to her own venture, Farah’s full-time job saw her overseeing marketing for global telecoms and FMCG brands within her family’s business portfolio, which she credits with, “setting the groundwork for launching my own brand.”
Based in Kuwait, Farah now travels to Italy once a month to oversee the footwear collection, which combines her distinctive design with hidden internal cushioning and strong heels “to allow for easy, elegant movement”. Farah adds, “Every style is comfortable enough to wear all day and night,” describing her customer as, “sophisticated but fun. She has a hectic life and is always on the go, therefore relies on her footwear to be well made for comfort and durability. But she does not take herself too seriously, she wants to showcase her personality through her clothing and footwear choices.”
For autumn/winter 2016, Arnaa’s second season, Farah has delved into archive sketches by Salvador Dalí, particularly those inspired by Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, her favourite childhood tale, in order to, “recapture the playful element seen in my first collection.” - Louise Nichol
This article appears in the April issue of Harper's Bazaar Arabia, on stands now