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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 17 July 2018

A message for peace woven into Emirati designer Zareena’s extraordinary Fashion Forward show

The results are delicate, feminine and wistful and mark a departure from the designer’s previous vibrant hues and dark regality.
Zareena’s palette included pastel pinks, milky whites, soft greys and pistachio greens. Ian Gavan / Getty Images for Fashion Forward
Zareena’s palette included pastel pinks, milky whites, soft greys and pistachio greens. Ian Gavan / Getty Images for Fashion Forward

Floating shelves lined with flickering candle flames formed a canopy across the catwalk, while gold flowers sprouted from the sides of the ramp, setting a sombre tone at Zareena’s Fashion Forward show.

A short trailer initiated the production, highlighting war, destruction and carnage, and ending with three bold words: “We need peace”, making the designer’s optimistic vision of serenity clear from the show’s kick-off.

Nymph-like, but with a commanding presence, models glided along the catwalk with flowers woven through their hair, lending the show a romantic Grecian vibe. Pastel pinks, milky whites, soft greys and pistachio greens formed the colour palette of the collection, adorned with two-tone metallic embroidery, all hand-stitched. “I love mixing gold and silver,” says the designer, Zareena Yousef.

Yousef says she found it distracting and distressing to work on a new collection when surrounded by war-stricken countries engulfed in terror and chaos.

“It’s something that hurts,” she says.

The results are delicate, feminine and wistful and mark a departure from the designer’s previous vibrant hues and dark regality.

Some of the floor-length cuts and trailing gowns caused models to stumble. The collection also featured sheer overcoats with shimmering metallic floral patterns and charming finishing touches, including layered, ruffled sleeves, wispy feather embellishments and thin tapestry-like rope belts. Cross-cultural references, including sari-like draping, were perhaps prompted by the Emirati designer’s schooling stint in India.

A dazzling jumpsuit also made its way down the catwalk, with elegant palazzo legs frosted with silver embellishments. There were even a few variations of capes, some cropped, while others were cut in asymmetrical high-low lengths with sweeping backs.

artslife@thenational.ae