The Dubai-based designer Aiisha Ramadan is shaping up to leave the fashion pack wondering "how does she do it?" in the coming weeks when she launches her much-anticipated bridal collection for FROST boutique at Galleries Lafayette.
For not only has the 29-year-old just released a short film showcasing her latest couture collection, she's also preparing to debut her first ready-to-wear line as well as holding down a full-time job as a senior satellite coordinator for MBC Group.
"I am very passionate about the bridal collection," she says. "I cannot believe how beautiful it is - everything my heart felt, I sketched."
With white being something of a signature colour for the Lebanese couturier, her form-enhancing gowns have in the past often been adapted for weddings by European clients, she says. Which is why this collection of gowns will have an unmistakably bridal feel.
"There's a romantic flair to them," she says. "I don't like to cut the body in chiffon - that's not my style - and the designs are not typically Middle Eastern. They are very international.
"There's a combination that will appeal to many markets; for example, you've got slightly conservative gowns, very modern ones and you've also got very textured but not heavy or blingy ones. Even if a gown has lots of crystals - they are used very moderately."
A graduate in Fashion Design from the American University in Dubai, Ramadan began crafting mini dresses, kaftans and luxurious custom-made couture. She was named Young Designer of the Year by Swarovski in 2000, went on to launch her label officially in 2006 and was presented with the GR8! Women Achiever Award in 2011.
Last year, Ramadan also became the first designer in the region to have a virtual 3D fashion show, which was hosted by the celebrity stylist June Ambrose. She also made a guest appearance on New Zealand's Next Top Model with the five leading contestants donning her designs for an episode filmed in Abu Dhabi.
Celebrity endorsements have come thick and fast in recent years, with stars from Joan Collins to singers Yara and Mika Newton wearing her creations to red-carpet events. To be thrust into the public eye in this way was something that took Ramadan unaware.
"It all started with Paris Hilton in 2009," she says. "She bought one of my dresses from the Chocolate & Pickles boutique in Dubai when she came here for the filming of My New BFF, and it was such a surprise to see the picture in a magazine. I appreciate everything celebrities do because they do enhance my brand name and, of course, they can make or break it."
The spring/summer collection of Ramadan's first pręt-a-porter line, FLIRT, is due in Iconic stores across the GCC mid-March.
"There will be quite powerful, summery colours, including greens and fuchsias - very fresh," she says. "This is the 'best of' collection, so those who follow AIISHA will recognise the similarity between these designs and the couture. And there's a good range and mixture of fabrics from silks and silk-tuiles to other synthetic materials and prices will range from around Dh500-1,500."
"The next collection - Autumn/Winter 2012, which will be launched around August, during the Eid vacation - will have a completely different theme. We've just finalised the samples and it is really to die for. I cannot wait."
One new promotional avenue open to Ramadan for displaying her forthcoming lines to the mass market is film. In a vignette recorded at locations in Dubai, the UAE-based fashion blogger Tala Samman models Ramadan's wistful Spring/Summer 2012 collection, Le Pouvoir de la Poudre.
"Instead of the normal fashion show, this year we decided to go viral to reach more people on the social network," she says. "We always try to do something new and I believe we're the first brand in the Middle East to launch a film."
From the soft-focus lens and soothing soundtrack to the luxurious surroundings of what, in many frames, resembles a bijoux Parisian apartment, Ramadan's film is unapologetically feminine.
"Some people may love the music, the model, the lifestyle," says Ramadan. "I wanted to keep a bit of mystery so that people will go and check out the collection instead of viewing it in the normal way. Tala was amazing - able to be serious one minute and playful the next. And while the film does speak about the collection, it is more of a story about how I see the women who wear my designs."
• For more information, visit www.aiisha.com or read more at blog.aiisha.com
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