The Stories from Arabia is one of the most talked about events at the London Fashion Week, attracting a diverse crowd of fervent fashion followers who were in the company of leading fashion designers from the Middle East, parading their magnificent works on a mainstream podium. Our contributing writer talked to Rayan Al Sulaimani of Atelier Zuhra, an Omani designer who participated in this year’s runway, to find out more about her new collection.
The runway show invited a pool of talented Arab fashion designers and offered them an ideal moment to display their outstanding masterpieces in the fashion capital. This September’s edition featured some of the prominent names from the Arab world, including Hessa Al Hemel and Abeer Couture from Kuwait; Swaf Design from Saudi Arabia,; Nouveau Art from Jordan; Farfalla from Egypt; Lakkioui and Sonia Gerrouani from Morroco; and our very own Atelier Zuhra who exhibited their remarkable collections at the elegant and regal venue: The Institute of Directors, situated in the heart of London.
For Rayan, representing Oman in the Stories from Arabia was a golden opportunity to showcase her brand, which takes pride in dressing women with glamour. Describing her designs as exceptional, Rayan aimed at dressing her clients in opulence, “the brand’s style is to replete with sheer elegance for classy people to give them a charismatic appearance,” she explains, adding that “on such platform, it gave me an opportunity to share my brand and present my talents on an international level.”
Rayan’s business background played an instrumental role in motivating her to join the fashion industry, which has been an all-time desire and passion. There is also her mother who remains a key inspiration, as she explains: “My interest in the fashion field was kindled because of my mother.”
Her Swan Collection that was featured on the show drew influences from fairy tales and the search for true love and carrying inspirations from what she would call “the swan princess of the art of mosaic.” The collection is a direct influence of Antonio Gaudi’s mosaic art, as she loves to define luxury as “the ability to dress up and magnifying the femininity of a woman. Also, it refers to a sophisticated and exceptional quality of designs.”
When participating in the Stories from Arabia, Rayan felt overwhelmed as she was to act as an ambassador of her country. “This collection is an overall ode to my roots,” she said. In a way, it has enabled her to use her creativity to highlight her rich heritage.
London is one of the fashion capitals of the world, and being part of it was unforgettable for the young designer, especially for as a first-timer in the show. Rayan described her experience as experimental, flamboyant and neoteric.
The crowd in London is diverse and the fact that her aspirations were met during the show, it has empowered her willingness to reach out to wider audiences in similar events.
Though the London Fashion Week moment was all new to Rayan, she loves to travel to London for vacation. “When I think of London, it reminds me of the musicals I have attended here. It usually begins with a wonderful meal at one of my favourite restaurants L’Escargot- a French restaurant, which is a short distance to the Queen’s Theatre,” she said, adding that “it is at the theatre I have watched some fascinating plays such as Les Miserables, the Lion King and Wicked; such memories of London are deeply engraved in my heart and mind.”
Undoubtedly the work presented by Rayan is stunning, attention-grabbing and certainly became the centre of attention at this year’s event, where the crowd loved the concept and originality depicted in the collection.