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!
May 25, 2014
May 24, 2014
To see real style & fashion people have here in Dubai we went to Dubai mall on the most crowded day -Friday
In The Dubai Mall itself there would not be a better place for that than promoted for the VIP, high class and normal people – The Fashion Avenue .
Fashion Avenue is a beautiful, stylish place where people from all over the UAE coming for the social entertainment. To show themselves and to see others.
Good as well as for the family entertainment beacaus it is very safe&classy place. While shopping in the Brand boutiques , kids are playing on the softest carpets along the shops. In the center of the avenue set of the most branded café: Armani and Fauchon Paris. Always full. Ladies and men can sit next to each other. Being an informal place, though since it is public & open all behave respectfully. So no worries for being disturbed.
We got a table, and it was just around tables where groups of men were sitting.. later when we asked a waiter to shift us to where ladies sitting, he apologized for being fully occupied and wonder if anyone bothers us. I was about to say “No, of cause not! Unless my friend caring for the shifting ASAP found a reason by saying “YES, men are gazing !” Lol, we were actually staring more for the article sake. But this reason was not that helpful.. and later on we just changed the café..
So, me and my friend who loves spending every weekend in Dubai Mall, knows every cafe and boutique, helped me in this not easy but interesting task.
To avoid back-biting and gossiping, we looked at everybody with respect plus a little bit of humor (hardly you can do this without it). Our main target was to notice details of the Dubai Style and Fashion..
Once we made an order and I opened the laptop we started making notes..
1.“Look, this lady wearing black Dior shoes.. I hope its original otherwise fake one are so uncomfortable, I tried once but I would never buy black as it’s so boring…”
2.“I saw one man carrying one big Dior bag, probably bought something for his wife.. but to be honest I did not see a sign of happiness on his face… may be he has to do it monthly on his salary” :)
3.“Look these two ladies who wearing abayas but there is no brand plus too many colors. But what I liked in their look is only classy Arabic make-up: bold eyes, and cherry color lipstick which is very good for the tanned skin.”4.“That lady is fully covered but look she has a red LV bag. “
5.“Do you think those girls have real fringes?”...
6.“Bytheway, I didn’t see any lady with henna on the hands today..hmm, strange.”
7.“I like how these three ladies look, so elegant in their plain black abayas which are simply clean and well pressed.”
8.“See, this group of ladies look “3adi” = “average” emirati style. One wearing abaya with brown flowery design, hair half opened, another has a bag from new collection of YSL which is widely now popular, and everyone has it. So nothing special, 3adi.”
Credit to the caricaturist Wafa Al Marzouqi.
9.“This group of ladies.. we would say all is too much.. a ring in the nose, strong makeup, so opened. Omg.. I hate this leggings… .”
10.“I thought this hair do with a volume is not fashion anymore.. Oh see, she has standard set of the accessories: one braslete of Cartier, another van clef, and rolex watch .”
11.(Cute Omany couple passed by…)”Hehe, this is omani fashion we will not describe it “
Men care about few things such as face to be well groomed and beard to be neat. Clean, well ironed kandora , perfume, watch and good not worn-out naal(sleepers) .
Credit for this cute Emirati Man by MissChatZ
Khalasna! Overall we had fun, a little tired, and time to leave the mall. Leaving the Laduree café someone from the visitors in a very friendly tone said, (probably trying to flirt): “Finished the project?!” We started laughing … it was in deed a good experience.
Fashion in Dubai is important, and everyone try to find individual style. Not running after new collection or what is more expensive. It is more important to look elegant, clean and well groomed. The community is enough close and such public places is a good chance to see each other , Though not for those who are coming too opened and having extreme look in everything may get bad reputation as people will see them and remember, so later it may bring to a bad result when nobody respect that person. Modesty, elegance and style are three components of the Fashion in Dubai.
P.S. now we are thinking to visit mall in Al Ain to see fashion there :)