There’s no denying that Saudi Arabia’s fashion scene is evolving at a rapid pace. The country is home to some amazing designers that have gathered quite a cult following. One of the country’s latest talents is designer Noura Sulaiman, whose label has already started getting attention internationally. Having launched her eponymous label just last year, her designs have found their way to Hollywood in a short span of time.
Award-winning singer Halsey wore a dress from Noura Sulaiman in her feature film titled If I Can’t Have Love, which was released in cinemas just last month. Many Saudi designers have dressed Hollywood celebrities and royalty on numerous occasions, but a design featured in a film represents Saudi fashion designers internationally even more. Sulaiman’s aesthetic features timeless designs in rich fabrics that are both contemporary and modest. Her abayas boast spectacular cuts and she has even designed an abaya suit, which is one of her signature designs. Noura Sulaiman speaks exclusively to Savoir Flair and shares more about her background, Halsey’s dress, and how her heritage inspires her designs.
What made you decide to launch your own brand?
One year, I had a wedding to attend. I spent countless hours browsing online and in stores looking for what I had in mind. The dress was either beautiful but too expensive, or affordable but had bad tailoring, so I decided to take things in my own hands. I ordered the fabric I wanted and went into my studio. As I was working on the dress, I rediscovered my love for design and decided to take the step and launch my own brand.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
When I graduated high school, I did not want to follow the traditional route because I knew that I was destined to work in the world of fashion, so I enrolled in the Arts and Skills Institute in Riyadh. I also worked part-time at the age of nineteen at a local boutique, styling the store and offering styling services to clients. During that time, I discovered that I was more intrigued in the tailoring and the use of fabric than piecing it together to form a look. This led me to sharpen my skills as a designer and build a design studio at home, from which Noura Sulaiman was born.
What was the inspiration behind your debut collection?
The inspiration behind my debut collection was more than anything a feeling of timeless elegance and allure. I wanted to create pieces that will stand the test of time and will be cherished items in one’s closet.
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Tell us a little bit about the Moiré dress – its design and craftsmanship.
I had initially designed the Moiré dress to wear to my own baby’s reception and, due to popular demand, decided to include the elegant style within my debut collection. The dress, crafted from ivory moiré fabric, is emblematic of my affinity for effortlessly blending classical, quintessential feminine cuts with artful, architectural details. It features a clean, A-line silhouette accentuated by an off-shoulder neckline and cascading Russian tulle sleeves. Thus, this piece holds a special place in my heart as I designed it while having pregnant and postpartum bodies in mind and a reason to be embraced and celebrated.
How did this dress get selected for Halsey to wear?
The dress was especially selected for the feature film by LA-based celebrity stylist and image architect, Law Roach. Roach is a mainstay on the industry’s most influential stylists’ lists, and it was a high point in my design career when he decided to include me in his vision.
How does it feel to dress someone in Hollywood, having only recently launched your brand?
I feel blessed and humbled to have my dress be featured alongside the designs of international fashion heavyweights such as Vivienne Westwood within the movie. It was also quite an exciting surprise to see my dress on the movie’s official poster.
How does your Saudi heritage play a role in your design?
Saudi heritage plays a big role in my inspiration and in the creation of my collections. There is high attention to detail in the cuts that we apply in our designs. The beautiful, fluid designs give a sense of Arabian luxury coupled with relaxed modesty, which creates a timeless and alluring balance.
What is the ‘suit abaya’ that you design?
One of our signature designs is the Suit Abaya – it is a modern abaya take on the classic suit. The beauty of the design is that it is transcendental and can be worn in different settings. It has become popular among our clients to wear at work.