Couldn’t be in this week’s Al Bustan Palace for the beauty and fashion extravaganza? Fear not, Penny Fray takes you to the heart of all the catwalk action
Okay, so it didn’t attract the international press coverage of Muscat Fashion Week but the Abeer al Yaseen Event at the Al Bustan Palace did showcase the high-powered polish of Sayyida Ruqaiya Al Busaidi, Nora Kareem, Nuzha al Balushi and Maitha al Harthi as well as the novice brilliance of Suhaib al Farsi. And there were beauty and hair presentations to boot, by the famous makeup artist Abeer al Yaseen and stylist Wisam.
So what were Y magazine’s highlights? The magical yet simple runway in the middle of Al Bustan Palace’s magnificent ballroom; the dazzling and highly decorative designs of Faiza al Balushi; the delicious buffet – and last but not least, the cute, collaborative clutches of Jibreen.
Who needs London, Paris or Milan, when you’ve got Muscat?
Penny Fray interviews a trio of Omani fashion talent
DESIGNER & EVENT CO-0RGANISER
The vision of Sayyida Ruqaiya Al Busaidi, a talented young designer, is a lofty one. She wants to put Muscat on the fashion map. In showcasing the collections of up and coming local designers at the Al Bustan Palace alongside her sister Sayyida Moza and friend Hana al Saidi, Al Busaidi hopes that people will appreciate the Sultanate’s wealth of ability.
“I think Oman’s gaining confidence in the market,” she says. “Adhering to the traditional makes our designs popular and helps influence Western design, especially when it comes to jewellery.”
Her label, roughly translated as Dar Al Ruqi Fashion, finds a balance between the simple and the striking. Modest silhouettes are decorated with dazzling sequins, pretty prints and eye-catching embroidery. “What I create depends on my mood,” she says. “I prefer a fluidity of feeling, which means some pieces will be colourful while others will be more muted in their palette.”
Her Sunday night show certainly reflected this with pretty pastel pieces contrasting against bolder emerald greens and neon pinks. The look was markedly traditional with a twist. “Omani women are ambitious and I wanted to reflect this in the clothes that they wear,”
NEW KID ON THE BLOCK
Until two months ago, he was just a chemistry student. Now Suhaib al Farsi is wowing the city’s elite with his elegant gowns.
“I’m relatively new to this business,” he says. “But I’ve long had an interest in design and exploring new concepts. I went from drawing to creating the packaging for some perfume. I showed my work to a friend who then encouraged me to have a go at design.”
Worried whether it was acceptable for a man to conceptualise women’s clothing, the 20-year-old from Barka consulted with an Imam.
“I was told it was okay to draw because it’s work. Of course, there are some limitations in relation to dealing with models but I can work on mannequins. It’s not haram.”
Despite his passion for fashion, Al Farsi has no intention of giving up science.
“I can do both,” he says.
His ultimate ambition, after opening an Oman-based boutique, is to have a clothing factory, creating clothes for men, women and children.
THE PERFECT PAIR
Somewhere – over the rainbow perhaps – there’s a label that you’ve dreamt of. One where you can get beautiful bespoke accessories for less than the designer prices of the French fashion houses. And we don’t mean those crazy bargain basement sales where the only sizes left were the ones manufactured in Munchkin-land. Right here in Oman, there’s Jibreen, the collaborative work of sisters Nada and Lubna al Balushi. Their bespoke shoes and handbags are things of blinged-up beauty.
“We design what the customer likes,” says Nada (pictured). “They’re usually handmade one-offs which can be coordinated for special occasions.”
Top trends, according to the 25-year-old, include all things unique, pink and sparkling.
“Lace and silk detailing are also big in abayas,” she concludes.