Although Dubai-based designer Arwa Al Banawi has only two prior collections under her belt, she has built them on an impressive aesthetic of unexpected color pairings, vivid geometric patterns, and menswear-inspired tailoring. For Fall/Winter 2016, Al Banawi retools her aesthetic, which still relies heavily on menswear tailoring and relaxed silhouettes but focuses on placing her cultural heritage in the foreground.
Hailing from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a point of pride for the designer, a fact that translates to her ‘Al Bidaya’ collection. It charts the “beginning of her journey”, which is rooted in the sands of her home country. Al Banawi trades on this theme by re-imagining the bisht (a traditional cloak), which she pairs with linen pants and scarves etched with Arabic calligraphy. Meanwhile, blazers feature beautiful hand embroidery and velvet lapels in order to pay homage to the designer’s home, where these sartorial techniques have long been used.
In an exclusive interview with Savoir Flair, Al Banawi shares, “The past two seasons were heavily inspired by my travels in Europe and the States, so I wanted fall/winter to hit closer to home. The pieces tell a story about how I envision Saudi women, empowered and elegant, tying together the beginnings and modern times of my hometown by combining traditional silhouettes with contemporary cuts. These can easily be worn for effortlessness or power dressing.”
Browse through the gallery for an exclusive first look at Arwa Al Banawi’s Fall/Winter 2016 collection.