Arab women power haute couture

http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/05/us-fashion-middleeast-idUSTRE7942YG20111005

In this article, fashion is shown to be thriving in the Middle East. The biggest buyers of haute couture today center around the Gulf, Saudis, Kuwaitis, Qataris and nationals of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Middle Eastern customers have also recently shown growing support for Lebanese designers such as Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad. The shopping season usually starts in Italy in June. In July and August, it tends to concentrate around the Riviera, where many Gulf women spend holidays, and it finishes in September in Paris and London.

I love that the Middle East is starting to dive into fashion. I love the bright colors that they use and how much of their culture is added into the high fashion clothing. Fashion executives say the Middle East is likely to remain the top couture client for the foreseeable future if the economic environment deteriorates in Europe and North America. “Women from the Middle East are our top buyers and they are likely to remain so, said Jeffry Aronsson, who became chief executive of Emanuel Ungaro a top clothing company. The article goes on to talk about how the Middle East only started to pick up strongly two to three years ago and now generates 30-35 percent in annual sales growth a year. Which is a lot compared to how they used to interact with the sales growth. Dior, Chanel and many other major luxury brands also stage private shows at hotels in the Middle East or in the comfort of the home of their most regular customers. Royal families are our buyers,” said Dubai-based fashion designer Rabia Z. “They will call us for an appointment and we go as often as they ask us to come. They love the fact that we give them the option of changing the color, or making it shorter or longer.” Qatar, the world’s richest nation per capita, is one of the few economies in the world enjoying strong economic growth with a GDP growth forecast of 19 percent for this year. Sheikha Mozah — regarded as one of the world’s biggest buyers of couture, according to fashion experts — is also behind the creation of the Qatar Luxury Group in 2008.

For Middle Eastern women, couture is a symbol of social status and success. At parties and weddings, they want to shine and impress potential mothers-in-law scouting for eligible brides. I have been to a Middle Eastern wedding and I can attest myself that the outfits are beautiful! With weddings lasting three, and sometimes up to seven, days, each client needs at least 5-10 different outfits — good news for fashion companies but complicated to keep track of. Fashion experts say Middle Eastern women opt for dresses which use a lot of crystals, gems or heavily embroidered and embellished fabrics. The use of henna all over their hands and feet as well are gorgeous. I loved every bit of their use of colors on the fabric and jewelry. Simon Lock, who works as creative director for Dubai Fashion Week says, “And there are lots and lots of weddings to attend. The wedding season is very expensive here.” Just like my own culture and the extravagant ceremonies, weddings can last up to 5 days, which requires different clothing per ceremony, the dream!

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