“The starting point for each collection is what I see around me. It you take the time to look, you can find beauty in the everyday,” says designer Madawi Saad, while pointing to an airy caftan in her spacious Riyadh studio, its delicate sheer openings inspired by the effect of sunlight filtering through glass.
Since discreetly launching her line, Madi, in 2015, the Saudi designer has gained a following for her unique approach to understated elegance. She’s part of a new generation of designers in the region, who are taking a minimalist approach to dressing for Ramadan.
In the case of Madi, the designer reinterprets traditional Saudi silhouettes and architectural motifs into sleek airy kaftans and tunics sporting triangular cutouts as well as exotic fruits and flowers. “My color pallet was inspired by the hues of the desert outside Riyadh and trips to the Arabian sea,” says the Saudi designer, as she scans a wall in her studio, its surface covered in images and fabric swatches ranging from saffron to turquoise.
For Madawi, whose collections are entirely produced in her Riyadh atelier, careful attention is given to details as well as locally sourced fabrics that she combines with Japanese yarns and precious materials acquired from around the world. “For me it’s never been about making a big statement but conveying a sense of lightness, freedom and joy. I can’t think of a better time than the holy month of Ramadan to express those values.”