The fourth edition of Fashion Forward, the fashion week-style twice-yearly event that opened on Saturday in Dubai, brought a myriad of talent under one roof spread across 20 catwalk shows from over 50 labels including ready-to-wear garments, punk jewellery and local treasures to Haute Couture and regal creations.
If there was ever any doubt about the fashion talent coming out of this region, one needs only a look at the first day showcases at Fashion Forward season four. Highlighting a mixed bag of talents — from Lebanon to Iran and the Philippines — the first day saw an eclectic mix of designers, starting with Rayya Morrcos, the Beirut-based designer who is all set to represent the Middle East in the coveted Woolmark Prize next year for womenswear with her label Bird on a Wire. (Emperor 1688 will represent the region for menswear)
Day one of the three-day fashion extravaganza on 4 Oct saw The Golkar brothers of The Emperor 1688. This season, the Golkar brothers look specifically mirrored Monsieur Yves Saint Laurant's adventures in Morocco and his lifelong obsession with the North African climate as he returned home to Paris with a sense of romance he attached to Morocco.
The three brothers behind Dubai luxury label Emperor 1688 will represent the Middle East at the coveted Woolmark Prize at menswear showcase London Collections: Men, in January next year. Considered one of the top fashion awards in the world, the upcoming event will mark the first time the designers being honoured in menswear.
“To be a part of this in the first year for the menswear category launch is such an honour, and such a moment of pride,” says Babak Golkar, who founded the label with his brothers Haman and Farhan in 2007.
For the competition, all nominee designers will present capsule collections in Merino wool, to be judged by a panel of international experts. The annual prize, sponsored by the Australian wool industry, was first awarded to Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld in 1954 and is held in a different fashion capitals every year. A separate womenswear winner will also be selected in Beijing in March 2015.
“It’s been interesting because we are not very used to working with this material,” admits Babak. “But that’s always the best thing about challenges — they push you and your creativity.”
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