Deriving from a culture rich in textile fabrication and pattern-making, it’s no wonder that so many designers from the Middle East go on to become accomplished couturiers. Twice a year, at Paris Haute Couture Week in January and July, a cadre of extraordinarily gifted couturiers from the Arab world are given the opportunity to showcase their work alongside maisons like Givenchy and Chanel – and they more than hold their own.
In fact, there are so many talented couture houses in the Middle East that the region has become known for dressing A-listers on the red carpet. Thanks to Elie Saab, whose pioneering vision paved the way for others, many other designers like Jean Louis Sabaji and Georges Hobeika have emerged with their own versions of haute couture. Each season, we are amazed to witness the growth and evolution of these inspiring designers. Take a closer look at the nine best Spring 2018 Couture collections by Arab designers, below.
Once again, Elie Saab – the godfather of Middle East couture – set the bar extraordinarily high. His dazzling ode to Paris in the 1920s was replete with crystal-embellished Art Deco elements and acres of floaty feathers.
Ancient Greek goddesses informed the gossamer gowns and exquisite silhouettes of Georges Hobeika’s Spring 2018 Couture collection.
Major volumes, rich textiles, and high-low hemlines were a big hit at Lebanese couturier Georges Chakra’s show this season.
Overt, patterned embellishment made for extraordinary eye candy at Zuhair Murad’s Spring 2018 Couture presentation, but the #IndianSummer theme proved to be a problematic form of cultural appropriation.
Rami Al Ali
Intense sculptural elements, 3D embroidery, and statuesque silhouettes made Rami Al Ali’s Spring 2018 Couture collection one of the most appealing of the season.
Maison Rabih Kayrouz
There is no one on the Haute Couture calendar who does things quite like Rabih Kayrouz. Instead of embellished red-carpet gowns, he serves impeccably made, totally wearable clothes for the modern woman. This season’s offerings were particularly simple and sublime.
For Spring 2018 Couture, Lebanese designer Ziad Nakad was inspired by Demeter, the mythological goddess of corn and harvest, for his collection of glamorous, earth-toned gowns.
Jean Louis Sabaji
Referred to as the “Alexander McQueen of the Middle East”, Jean Louis Sabaji was inspired by Ištar, the powerful Mesopotamian goddess, for Spring 2018 Couture. Interpreting her independence and rebellion through winged creations, Sabaji brought her story to life with the skill of a lifelong couturier.
Rani Zakhem is a relative newcomer, but his first couture fashion show in Paris proved that he belongs on this list. Using fire as an elemental form of inspiration, Zakhem dedicated his sow to “volcanic” women and the molten passions they inspire.