Khaleejia said: This post is based on the exclusive chat with one of the top abaya designers in the world.
"This is like if your abaya is tailored by Chanel."
Arabesque Sheilas & Abayas is a haut couture brand founded by Judith Duriez who studied fashion design at the very prestigious Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture de Paris before being offered an apprenticeship at Chanel .
Judith then move to Christian Lacroix and other major Haute Couture designers where she worked for a decade. The Arabesque Sheilas & Abayas, was launched in 2001.
Khaleejia's life was honored to be invited to one of the brand boutique to have a look at the new 2014 Spring-Summer collection. There we had a great chance of a very friendly chat with Mr. Gonzague himself -Judith 's husband and co-designer, who is also as his wife graduated from the prestigious fashion school in Paris and now for more than 30 years with passion Mr. Gonzague setting the worlds trends and particularly in world of sheilas & abayas since the Arabesque Sheilas & Abayas was launched for. His professional experience inspiring and sometimes breath taking.
We thank Mr. Gonzague for sharing with us his deepest knowledge and point of view on the khaleeji abaya industry in details and giving us this chance to publish our conversation.
The way designers get inspired
"Living in Paris and being surrounded by top world haut couture designers, some of them are friends of mine, you can never stop getting inspiration. Every time we meet, we talk about fashion, sharing new ideas, discussing all details of the industry. Looking for the beauty in everything that around us, opens our imagination and wakes up the inner desire to create something new, unique and beautiful. "
How Arabic cut became the French one
When me and Judith decided to create a brand for Arabic clothes, we called it Arabesque, because of the authentic arabic cut we did. A funny fact that later on this cut started being called as a French one. Well, we believe we took the best from our fashion schools in France.
What means real fashion and where we can better see it here in Dubai
"Real fashion is in the streets! For example, I like visiting crowded places and observe what people wear , not only abayas but fashion in general , it gives you clues about the reality and the latest trends about colors , prints , volumes , styles, as Dubai is a cosmopolitan fashion city. It helps me to feel the modern taste and understand what people need and like. Street style is the reality of fashion and most of the fashion designers are very attentive to the trends and inspirations , or the way people are mixing their labels with other brands and sometime bringing new ideas ! not any more it is the designers who dictate the trends . Related to Abayas for example, while walking or sitting in some cafe in Dubai mall, you can see many visitors from all Gulf countries. I noticed a huge difference between taste in the fashion of Emiratis and for example Saudis ,Kuwaitis or other. I advise everyone who interested in the khaleeji fashion come to Dubai and you will see the real fashion of the khaleej (GCC). "
How to choose an abaya designer
"I can't advise to anyone to stick to a particular designer just because he has a big name. I always tell to my customers to understand what they actually need. Arabesque Abayas & Sheilas s the brand of choice for women with a strong sense of style, desire to dress beautifully with a touch of luxury and uncompromising about quality. If it is about you, then I am your designer!"
Custom made abaya? Does it that matter?
" First of all, We respect our customers because they choose & like our designs as they are. But if they want to change color or anything else we always happy to cooperate. Its like you are in the French restaurant, the chef will be always concerned about your opinion on the taste of the meals he cooked, he will always welcome your comments and try to satisfy your taste once something is not the way you may expected..
Secondly, We let our ladies experience luxury from the beginning, when they just try any of our abaya on, all abayas in the shop are samples just for an eye-check, we do not offer them to the customers. We must be sure that all abayas fit perfectly so we let our customers try on any model & once choice is made, we then take all measurement , and creating custom made abaya with perfect finishing without a hurry. The process will take from 2 to 3 weeks. But believe me, you would never feel more special from the shopping when our assistant calls you and sais, "Madam, your custom made abaya is ready!"
Designer as a friend.
" A customer decides, but i like to meet my clients. In Paris real designer will work like a friend and will be always happy if someone will come & talk to him.
New collection New targets.
" The new collection was inspired by the last fall - winter trends in using the linen and experimenting with the color. But the main target was to make collection for the new generation under a "sweet price".
Why Linen In abaya?! Why it is so trendy now a days?
"Mainly, it is a pure natural fabric and had never been used before for the abayas. Though linen can be dangerous for the pretty look, as it is very easy rumpled. We use Italian linen as its quality is a very good."
Ramadan 2014 Collection..
"I can't reveal the details now only that it will have special laces from Paris. "
What you personally love in your abayas
"I can say everything but I woould highlight two things:
1. It is signature cut, which all ladies of all types and ages like.
2. Lightness of the fabrics. It is like a second skin. This is important for an European designer. The product has to be light. Among the most famous European brands probably only Prada is heavy. Look at Valentino, how light their designs. These two things what I really love about our abayas."
P.S. We thank Mr. Gonzague for sharing his ideas with Khaleejia’s Life readers. And as we later came to know, despite all those years of contribution to the brand, it is his first published interview on behalf of Arabeque Sheilas & Abayas, so it is top exclusive for you guys!