x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

Top notch labels come to Abu Dhabi

The inaugural World Luxury Fashion Week will be held at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi for four nights beginning tonight. We have the lowdwon on what to expect.

The current autumn/winter and latest spring/summer 2013 prêt-a-porter collections from acclaimed, locally based designers including Walid Atallah and the DAS sisters will be on display.

For those with a craving for couture, a long list of participating international maisons is also guaranteed to please.

"In total we have 12 designers. The first two evenings will present haute couture from designers such as Jean Paul Gaultier, whose latest collection is being brought in from Paris," says the event's chairman, Graham Cooke.

Up close and personal

From Giambattista Valli and Alexis Mabille to Carolina Herrera NY and Hervé Léger, the rundown and runway caters for all tastes. If you like what you see, simply make your way to one of the private suites on site, where you can arrange for delivery of your purchases or make couture fitting appointments. The handmade creations range from US$5,000 to $200,000 (Dh18,400 to Dh735,000).

"The event has been put together as a showcase of the world's leading high-end brands for a very discerning private clientele that exists in Abu Dhabi," says Cooke. "The designers will be showing their latest collections to an audience which would otherwise only see them on YouTube or in the stores."

Representing the UAE is the Dubai-based couturier Furne One, whose most recent Amato collection is being kept tightly under wraps and promises to be a show-stopping spectacular, according to the organisers.

A feast for all the senses

Dispelling the myth that fashion and food aren't the best of friends, a gourmet menu has been prepared for those lucky enough to attend. The evening will commence with a welcome reception at 7pm, followed by a five-course meal, says Cooke.

"People will be seated at tables of 10 around a U-shaped catwalk. In between the courses we'll have the fashion shows and, as all of the tables are front row, it's really the VIP experience."

Delicacies will include starters of foie gras followed by sumac-crusted loin of lamb. And who could resist a dessert comprising six textured layers of Valrhona chocolate and petit fours of pearl macaroons?

A truly capital idea

This event is meant to become an annual fixture. While the priority remains to showcase the very best national and international creative talent side-by-side, the serious corporate side to couture is also being taken into account.

"It's good timing for an event like this," says Cooke, "with what's in the pipeline for Abu Dhabi in terms of the emergence of luxury brands, the success of Eithad Towers and the progression of other developments.

"There are about 30 to 35 luxury brands that will soon be in the capital, so there is an actual business reason for doing this. From a haute couture perspective, Abu Dhabi is probably ranked second or third in the world in terms of the size, so the houses are obviously very interested in being exposed to those clients."

Tonight Jean Paul Gaultier; tomorrow Giambattista Valli, Alexis Mabille, Livia Stoianova and Yassen Samouilov; Tuesday Ermanno Scervino, Carolina Herrera NY, Nina Ricci, Paule Ka "Black Carpet"; Wednesday Walid Atallah, Hervé Léger, Amato by Furne One, DAS Collection

- For more information, visit www.worldluxuryfashionweek.com. Tickets cost Dh2,000. For details, email dima@worldfashiongroup.com