Discovering raw talent is perhaps the most rewarding part of being in this industry. Watching it grow and blossom season after season is a close second. Reem Al Kanhal is one such designer who has been close to our hearts ever since we came across her a few seasons ago, in part because of her contagious smile and enthusiasm for fashion, which is clear the second you set eyes on the petite Saudi designer draped in avant-garde abayas and hiding behind oversized geometric shades, and in larger part because of the avant-garde collections that we have come to expect from her season after season.
Al Kanhal has built her brand around tradition and culture, digging deep into the history of the Kingdom with every collection. Having previously drawn inspiration from traditional Saudi menswear, she turns her attention to Bedouin tribes for this trans-seasonal offering. Tassels and stripes typically found in Bedouin tents are translated into modern silhouettes, such as crop tops and one-armed scarves. The collection, entitled ‘Window to the Soul’, a reference to the burqa, sees the austere element transformed into midriff-bearing tunics and strapless tops – typical of Al Kanhal’s tongue-in-cheek, modern approach to her country’s traditional garb and of her ability to find beauty in the simplest of things. In the designer’s own words, “Beauty is not limited to any race or religion. Real beauty comes from a clear and clean soul that never judges others for who or what they are.”
Last week, Savoir Flair was invited to shadow the designer during the shoot of her most recent lookbook in Dubai. Click through the gallery above for the exclusive behind-the-scenes photos.