With Eid just around the corner, boutiques across the UAE have seen rush orders for bespoke gowns, jalabiyas and abayas. Rebecca McLaughlin-Duane spoke to the Dubai-based couturier Effa Al Dabbagh as she prepares for the religious festival.
Effa, how have sales and pre-orders for Eid been this Ramadan?
Ramadan is always a great season for us, especially as it’s customary for people to wear something new on the first day of Eid. For that reason, we always make a special collection for this happy season and start taking orders well in advance. The last few weeks of Ramadan are usually buzzing with activity in our boutique, with clients eager to place and receive their orders. Therefore, we’ve been sure to have a good selection of ready-made pieces, so as not to disappoint those who didn’t place custom orders in advance.
How has business been this Ramadan compared with the same period last year?
Business has been good although we have seen a change in people’s spending habits, with less impulse buying. We’ve also introduced a small collection of affordable “Miss Effa” abayas for daily use.
What are some of the key trends this Holy Month?
For the jalabiyas and kaftans, I have worked with fresh colours such as yellow, hot pink, mint green, “old rose” pink, coral and royal blue. I’ve used accents of gold and silver handwork, alongside sequinned laces and metallics. White is also an important colour, which is appropriately angelic for the spiritual nights of Ramadan. For the abayas, I have stuck to neutral accents such as soft pink, beige, with silver and gold and pearl, and sequin embellishments.
What have been the best-selling pieces?
For the abayas, the looser “farasha” style has been doing very well, with draped flowing fabric and subtle and sophisticated embellishments. We have introduced our “signature” draped back abaya in a new version this Ramadan, with silk taffeta, handmade flowers and pearls on the shoulder and sleeves. For the jalabiyas and kaftans, it’s hard to say, as we do a variety of cuts and what always brings people back is the slimming and flattering fit. They could be described more as conservative, modest dresses rather than traditional jalabiyas. The pieces tend to range in price from Dh1,200 up to Dh2,900.
How are women accessorising these outfits?
Well, our collection of turbans and caps has flown off the shelves this summer. They are the fashionable way to wear the hijab while travelling right now. They come in basic colours and fabrics as well as more dressy ones with lace and prints. The turbans are unique in style and fit as they incorporate a scarf that you can play with to get several different looks in one.
What you will be wearing this Eid?
I’m still undecided. As usual, I’m the last one to receive my Eid dress, but I do have my eye on one of our exclusive printed long skirts with matching peplum top.
Any update on your forthcoming collection?
For winter, the collection has a baroque influence with a lace-inspired print. I’ve worked with a rich colour palette of deep blues and burgundy and incorporated softer shades such as beige and “winter white”, along with laces and textured fabrics.
Might you be tempted to show at Fashion Forward this October?
I am still undecided, but it is something I’m willing to consider if the brand mix is good and if they can attract the right buyers.
• Effa Boutique, Palm Strip Mall, Jumeirah Rd. Call 04 346 3998 or visit www.effa.ae
Hot picks for Eid
Other Eid offerings from the UAE’s malls, boutiques and online retailers
1 Pre-autumn 2013 handbags by Dolce&Gabbana are now available at Dubai’s Mall of the Emirates boutique. The red brocade Miss Sicily is Dh5,150 and the gold filigrana Miss Sicily mini is Dh19,400.
2 Bebe stores across the UAE have a new collection of dresses and minaudières for Eid. A metallic floor-length gown is priced at Dh995 and a citrus pink V-neck maxi is Dh1,235.
3 Nicholas Kirkwood’s glitter-finished suede sandals are now discounted by 55 per cent at www.theoutnet.com. Price is Dh1,375.
4 Lanvin boutiques across the Emirates are housing an Eid collection of cuffs, pendants and earrings featuring exotic wood, stones and crystals. Necklace in bronze with silk-satin ribbons and Swarovski crystal pearls. Price upon application.
5 Check out the latest accessories available on www.net-a-porter.com such as Saint Laurent’s gold-plated onyx bracelet for Dh1,019.
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