YEAREND SPECIAL: Trends 2009: The good, the bad and the ugly

Heba Elkayal
9 Min Read

Fashion trends this year for both men and women have been very original. Certainly, there was a great departure from the recent trends of over the top fashion statements and overt displays of wealth. Egypt has followed suit with the moods and trends of both Europe and the US by adopting a more refined and minimal look.

To recap trends, a conversation with Beymen’s women’s wear buyer Salma Sowellem and menswear buyer Tarek El Saifi proved to be quite insightful, also revealing hints for what’s to come next year.


Inspiration for Spring and Summer 2009 came from nautical inspired themes. Maine-, New England- and St. Tropez-inspired pieces gave a balanced sense of both preppiness and refined elegance.

It was shorts paired with men’s shirts, sleeves casually rolled up or shorts paired with a t-shirt and cable-neck sweater tied around the neck. “Very strong colors of oranges, pinks, and even purples dominated the catwalk, said El Saifi. In Egypt, he said, men’s cautious attitude to fashion rarely saw such colorful outfits exhibited around town and were rare on the North Coast.

Suits made in slim cuts were white and made to be available in other bright colors. Pant lengths are slightly exaggerated in that they are short, made to graze the ankles and this trend has also been spotted on the Spring/Summer 2010 catwalks so the look still appears to be popular with designers.

Seersucker suits and blazers are going to continue their trend, their popularity stems from the very lightness of the fabric and their appeal in being mixed and matched with quite a number of items and looks. Shoes to go with suits for spring and summer are colored driving shoes popular in bright reds, greens, blues and even purples. Whether driving shoes or boat shoes, colored shoes for men seem to be quite the rage.

Fall and winter trends were perhaps more serious than summer trends.

“First look in all the fashion shows was the coat: whether it was super long, made from velvet or military style. What was also very dominant was black, and rock ‘n’ roll themed studded jackets. Dominant winter colors are grays and deep plum purples most prevalent on Gucci’s runways. A lot of velvet also appeared in menswear: velvet combinations with grosgrain trim on blazers were prevalent, advised El Seifi.

Winter shoes definitely had a lot more thought to them this season, “They combined a lot of textiles together, and color.

“For example black and brown leather were combined on one shoe, or a velvet band on a shoe for instance. Patent leather with suede was another combination. They actually played a lot with the typical menswear shoes this year.

Whereas men’s shoes became more gentrified, sneakers got more fun. High tops from Dolce and Gabbana and Gucci, whereas Dior and Lanvin capitalized on the trend of designer sneakers by creating colorful and artistic sneakers for more casual every day wear.

Denim makers tried to reintroduce the look of flared denim pants, but that failed here in Egypt as elsewhere in the world. People are really appreciating the straight pants look. The cowboy/ lumberjack look of plaid shirts, chambray shirts and denim jackets didn’t take off here though. “It doesn’t match our culture, explains El Seifi of the look that tries to convey a rugged man.

Winter jackets trends are also inclusive of black leather, lots of zip detailing, and jackets entirely quilted. The quilted jacket is a very brave and fashion forward look, only spotted once thus far around town during the season on a millionaire whose personality affords him a little leeway for eccentricity.

Women’s wear

Several trends this year that were quite big abroad were a little bit difficult for women of the region to pull off. Whereas most are pear-shaped and curvy in the region, many trends were all about emasculating the female form.

Jumpsuits in the summer were big, and designers from Dior to D Squared were capitalizing on the trend that was promising women an all-in-one solution. Some pieces got creative and quite dressy with sleeveless jumpsuits coming with tuxedo cuffs to be worn as accessories.

Harem pants were perhaps more successful than jumpsuits locally. In a variety of materials and suitable to be worn both day and night, on the beach or for more formal occasions be it dinners or summer weddings, the harem pants resonated with women in the region.

Denim pants or jeans were slightly overlooked this summer. Flared jeans tried to make a come back but failed miserably as everyone stuck to their straight legged jeans. Boyfriend jeans were also a very successful trend abroad but few women in Egypt wore them due to the physical barrier: Middle Eastern women have curves – there is no way around it.

Evening wear hemlines got short, very short. Dresses now are super short in length but extremely embellished in sequins. Think supermodel Gisele in her blue number at the Metropolitan Costume Institute Gala in the spring time.

Winter trends are quite sexy, there’s such reclamation of femininity. Thigh high boots have replaced sandals and most bootie style shoes. Whether flat or high heeled, thigh high boots are proving to be quite popular with this year’s short hemlines.

The furry over “it-bags is being replaced by “it-shoes, highly coveted examples of highly artistic shoes or eccentric shapes have taken over. It is perhaps too tacky to carry something emblazoned with logos crying out for attention. Subdued classic bags are in such as the Yves Saint Laurent Muse bag and Bottega Veneta bags in classic colors of blacks, browns and navies. They are certainly not the most expensive bags on the market but definitely their timeless appeal is worth investing in at the moment if one’s budget is tighter than usual.

Designer brands whose shoes have really taken center stage this season are Jimmy Choo and Giuseppe Zannoti whose rock ‘n’ roll studded stilettos and boots are in line with current rock chic trends for both men and women.

Accessories are big, and the focus on them this year has been to emphasize them as essential pieces of one’s outfits. “Headbands are making a huge comeback, perhaps thanks to Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf character, says Sowellem. Feather, sequins and other delicate trims are on headbands. Marc Jacob’s bunny ears headbands made quite the statement on this year’s runways. Sowellem suggests stocking up from stores such as Accessorize where there’s quite a variety of looks.

Although color blocking as a trend was big during last winter and summer, color blocking is over but bright colors are still in. Red velvet suit jackets or pants worn separately are quite fashion forward pieces at the moment, but about 80 percent of winter trends this year were in shades of grays and blacks.

“I’m waiting for the red leopard print, lace and red leopard print, perhaps even together, are going to be quite big, says Sowellem. She ascribes this as a continuation of the summer’s emphasis on prints, particularly tribal prints done in bright colors.

When considering investment purchases in light of the current economic situation and what’s taking place on the runways, Sowellem recommends: “Black and classic pieces.

All items in pictures available from Beymen.

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