Entering its fourth season, Fashion Forward, the definitive fashion platform in the Middle East continues to showcase the best couture and ready-to-wear designers who are based in the region, or of Middle Eastern origin. Season Four presents the strongest line-up of designers to date, welcoming back stand-out names from its first three seasons and debuting talents that are new to the platform, but well established in the region. Twenty three designers will present their latest collections on the FFWD runways this October 4th-6th at The Madinat Jumeirah.
“Season Four is the coming together of our finest designers from across the first three seasons, and we are delighted that so many are returning to showcase their collections this October,” said Bong Guerrero, Founder and CEO of Fashion Forward. “The FFWD journey so far has highlighted what incredible talent and creativity we have in this region and you will certainly see the best of this at Season Four.”
In addition to the catwalk designers, also returning for Season Four will be The Garden, the retail space for accessory designers to showcase their collections to buyers and guests throughout the event. This season The Garden will house over 50 accessories designers from across the region. Guests will once again be able to browse and purchase fashion accessories and jewellery directly from selected regional designers in personalised retail spaces.
FFWD continues to build upon its strategic partnership with Dubai Design District (d3) who has supported the fashion platform since its inception in April 2013. With d3’s focus and vision on nurturing regional design talent across diverse sectors, as well as becoming the centre of Dubai’s creative community, their valuable support bolsters and solidifies FFWD’s mission to showcase the finest design talent across the Middle East.
“We are delighted to see Fashion Forward returning for a fourth season,” said Lindsay Miller, Managing Director, Dubai Design District (d3). “As one of our key industry partners, one of the common goals Fashion Forward and d3 share is to support and showcase pioneering designers emerging from our region, while supporting the potential of the design, luxury and fashion industry.”
“Our core objective at d3 is to act as a catalyst for the region’s Design community, so that the creative talents we have in the region can achieve their aspirations, both business and artistic, while also giving the industry a taste of what Dubai can offer. We are looking forward to further strengthening our collaboration with Fashion Forward to help shape our vision of enhancing our creative design community,” added Miller.
The couture designers showing this season are:
Amato – The much-loved designer returns to FFWD for his fourth season. Known for his natural ability to craft extravagant and artistic designs, Dubai-based Furne One has rapidly worked his way up the fashion ladder, and is celebrated both regionally and internationally for his impressive couture creations. www.amatohautecouture.com
Dany Tabet – Lebanese designer Dany Tabet opened the doors to his atelier in 2007. Tabet celebrates the shape and beauty of woman by creating one off, detailed pieces which ooze elegance so the woman feels beautiful from the inside to the out. www.danytabet.com
Jean Louis Sabaji – Lebanese couturier Sabaji first showed at FFWD in Season Three, with a dynamic collection. He returns for Season Four with his conceptual and daring pieces, influenced heavily by the strength and beauty of Mother Nature. www.jeanlouissabaji.com
Michael Cinco – After wowing in Season One with his beautiful couture creations, Cinco returns for Season Four. The Dubai-based designer is best known for his fabulous gowns, demonstrating innate creativity and masterful technique and has amassed an army of international celebrity clientele. www.michaelcinco.com
Zareena – Returning after a hugely successful collection at Season Three, UAE National Zareena Yousef will once again showcase her luxurious and elegant pieces this October. Yousef uses sumptuous fabric combinations and rich embroidery to complement and enhance a woman’s beauty which is the trademark of her internationally acclaimed gowns. www.zareena.co/wp/
Showing ready-to-wear collections at Season Four are:
Asudari Studio – Originally from Saudi Arabia, London based Lamia Asudari launched her label in 2007 and this season marks her second collection at FFWD. Lamia’s passion lies in her development and execution of intricate and emotionally driven hand crafted prints. She is constantly experimenting with a variety of fabrics against conflicting and bold silhouettes. www.asudari.com
Bashar Assaf – Having showcased at Seasons One and Two under Rabih Kayrouz’s mentorship with The Starch Foundation, last season Bashar Assaf showcased a stand-out solo collection for Fall ’14. The Lebanese fashion designer returns this season to showcase his eponymous label. His signature is the ability to challenge the female body with brave geometry complimented with sensibility to material and craftsmanship. www.basharassaf.com
Ceremony – Emirati designer Farha Al Shamsi will showcase her label Ceremony which uses eclectic materials to create modern yet traditional ready to wear. www.ceremony.ae
Dima Ayad – Having showcased at Seasons One and Two, Dima Ayad returns to the FFWD runways this October. Lebanese designer Ayad launched her unique brand of eveningwear in 2010 and strives to provide women with ‘fashion that makes you feel good’ – stylish, sophisticated and stunning dresses with a ‘wear-and-go’ philosophy that accentuate and celebrate their bodies, no matter what shape or size. www.dimaayad.com
Endemage – Omani sisters, Nadia and Lubna made their FFWD debut in Season Two and return this October with their ultra-feminine dresses and billowy evening gowns with Arabic-infused styles. The sisters draw inspiration from traditional Omani designs and they created Endemage, meaning “the merging of two”, in 2010. www.endemage.com
Essa – Essa returns for his fourth consecutive season at Fashion Forward, bringing his eclectic collections which weave together the traditional and the modern, using materials and prints that have iconic cuts and are universally flattering, creating extraordinary, colourful and contemporary ready to wear pieces, inspired by his Indian origins and Arab sensibilities.
Hasan Hejazi – London based luxury label Hasan Hejazi specialises in glamourous yet contemporary eveningwear. Known for a powerful, ultra-feminine style Hejazi has also built up an enviable celebrity clientele having dressed Kylie Minogue, Eva Longoria, Jessie J, Cheryl Cole and Fergie. www.hasanhejazi.com
House of Hâshé – Dubai-based Iranian designer Ava Hashemi creates structured high-end ready-to-wear clothing and accessory lines for women who intend to embrace sophistication and class, whilst staying on trend. www.houseofhashe.com
House of Ronald – Having made his FFWD debut last season, Ronald Abdala returns to showcase at Season Four. Of Lebanese descent, London born Abdala trained in Los Angeles, Beirut and London before being appointed senior designer for Maison Rabih Kayrouz in 2004. Shortly after this he launched his own line of womenswear. Abdala’s designs focus closely on the human form, using bold and architectural cuts but delivered with fluidity, making for edgy yet sophisticated pieces. www.houseofronald.com
Madiyah Al Sharqi – Returning for her second season at FFWD, Emirati designer Sheikha Madiyah Al Sharqi offers effortless eveningwear with an updated edge, evolving the traditional vision of elegance. Sharqi is the daughter of the Ruler of Fujairah, HH Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al Sharqi. www.madiyahalsharqi.com
Maral – Iranian designer Maral Yazaloo launched her label MARAL in Paris, before taking it to Rome and is now based in India. Fusionwear characterises her collections as she maintains the balance between modernity and culture. Her collections are a beautiful blend of Middle Eastern aesthetics, Asian tastes and Western flavour. www.maralyazarloo.com
Starch Foundation – Under Rabih Kayrouz’s mentorship, young designers Timi Hayek and Joe Baaklini presented their first FFWD runway collections at Season Three to much acclaim. As they continue their year under the tutelage of Kayrouz, they will show their second collections this October. http://www.jobaaklini.me http://timihayek.com
Also showing under the Starch Foundation is Starch alumni and 2014 Woolmark Prize winner for womenswear in the Middle East and India, Rayya Morcos with her label Bird on a Wire. Beirut based Morcos’ label features ready-to wear and jewellery using unexpected textures inspired by architecture and nature. www.birdonawireonline.com
Tahir Sultan – Season Four will be Sultan’s fourth consecutive FFWD season. The Half Kuwaiti, half-Indian designer launched his own label in 2008 and in 2012 he became the first Kuwaiti designer to show at London Fashion Week. Sultan’s luxurious pieces pay particular attention to detail, are determinedly glamorous yet conservative, allowing women to feel empowered and sexy without necessarily being too showy and exposing too much. www.tahirsultan.com
Taller Marmo – Showing for their third season at FFWD, Taller Marmo are Dubai-based design duo Riccardo Audisio and Yago Goicoechea. The label merges European elegance with Middle Eastern charm and uses fine Italian tailoring with a minimal approach, fused with Arabic traditions. www.tallermarmo.com
The Emperor 1688 – The Golkar brothers return to FFWD for their fourth season to showing their stand-out luxury men and womenswear, following their recent success as menswear winners of the 2014 Woolmark Prize for the Middle East and India. The British- Iranian trio set up the label in 2007 and are based in Dubai. Their collections combine exquisite tailoring, with regal prints and classic cuts made of the finest European fabrics. www.theemperor1688.com
Velsvoir – Launched by brothers Zac, Zubair and Talha Timol in 2012, Velsvoir began by creating bespoke bowties and have since expanded to a range of men’s and women’s accessories and more recently a menswear line. Velsvoir made their FFWD debut at Season Three. The brand focuses on classic tailoring whilst offering quirky and interesting accents to showcase their signature style. www.velsvoir.com
Fashion Forward Season Four will take place at The Madinat Jumeirah from 4th-6th October.