The capital’s leading seasonal fashion event came back last weekend with an 8th season of Egypt’s top young talents. For many years, Cairo Fashion Festival has been a destination for fashion enthusiasts to meet new talents and learn about the latest trends.
This season, the carousel-inspired runway witnessed few first collections as well as the new spring/summer 2017 masterpieces of renowned designers. Meanwhile, the red carpet greeted many well-known fashion bloggers, media gurus, and beloved celebrities.
The list included heart-throb Hany Adel and the charming Hana Shiha. On the other hand, this season celebrated a special regional guest, Wadih El-Najjar.
The list included the royalty-favourite Hanna Hinnawi, who has the one and only Queen Rania on top of her client list. The Jordanian designer showcased garments from her Milan Fashion Week collection for the first time in Egypt.
Meanwhile, Amira El-Gohary Couture joined forces with Salem Alta Moda to present an elaborate collection. “La Fête des Fleurs” focused on the season’s main element: flowers. All garments came in delicate and intricate fabrics embroidered with handmade flowers.
On the other hand, Satin Roses opted for a daring aesthetic away from the season’s romanticism. The new fashion label went for edgy outfits and a black colour pallet. From ripped denim to detailed leather, the collection spoke to confident women, who aim to walk outside the herd.
“I started Satin Roses earlier this year after graduating from FIT and I am specialised in women’s RTW garments. The first design I did was when I was eight years old; moreover, I have been selling in boutiques since the age of 16,” said Amanda Kamhawy, founder of Satin Roses clothing.
Despite growing up abroad, Kamhawy did not hesitate to return to Cairo, her family’s homeland, to start her label. According to the designer, she heard about Cairo Fashion festival through a friend that attended a previous season. Therefore, registering to take part in this season was a natural move.
“Basically, I am a big fan of draping. Accordingly, I do not draw anything; I just buy the fabrics and play around with them until I reach a collection. This one is feminine, yet edgy. My favourite piece in this collection is a double-faced lamb suede and leather with a black lace-up tie; it was the piece that started the collection,” said Kamhawy.
As for Bardees, the designer is often known for her artistic aesthetic and her keenness on turning art and paintings into practical ready to wear garments. This collection was no different, as the designer showcased a minimal collection that included few basic items. Her SS17 collection “Aton” is based on the work of local abstract artist Dr. Ashraf Reda.
Sara Gabr interpreted spring as the season for rebirth through her new collection. “My collection is called ‘La Rinascita di unagrazia’, Italian for ‘the rebirth of grace’. It is inspired by Asian culture and the psychology behind using white and navy is that these two particular colours are often used as symbols in Roman, Greek, and Chinese cultures. White often resembles purity and grace. Meanwhile, blue is used to indicate rebirth,” said Sara Gabr, founder of Maison SG.
The collection included dresses, jumpsuits, and separate outfits. Meanwhile, it also featured a significant leaf pattern that worked hand-in-hand with her colour pallet to indicate rebirth and new beginnings.
“Ready to wear and haute couture are both part of Maison SG’s aesthetic. I am currently based in Cairo; however, I started my brand two years ago in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, and I have just had my first fashion show in Dubai last February,” said Gabr.
Eva Habashi did not walk far from the general feel of the season. Her collection, however, focused on a different aspect found in nature: freedom. Her elaborate collection embraced birds and wings as main motifs. According to the designer, the SS17 collection is inspired by all symbols of hope and freedom, including birds and other flying creatures.
“I tried to use the birds with their bright colours to symbolise hope. We currently have a lot of political and economic problems in our society. This collection aims to act as a mood-lifter and to introduce a new perspective,” said Habashi.
One of Habashi’s top designs is a black dress that showcases daring cuts and colourful birds. According to the designer, the dark colour symbolises eternal hope and that, despite any current obstacles or hardships, hope always finds its way.
With that said, the black dress is one of the very few dark garments in that collection. On the contrary, Habashi’s collection embraced a quite daring color pallet that calls for unique type of women to flaunt.
“The collection is mainly bright. I have used colours such as fuchsia and orange; even though, they are not common in evening wear since they are striking and require very strong personalities to wear them. Nonetheless, to me they indicate how far we need to encounter and experience new things. On the other hand, I have incorporated different kinds of birds through several techniques; embroidery, beads, and feather,” said Habashi.
Eva Habashi Couture is originally an atelier specialised in costume-made dresses. Nonetheless, CFF season eight marks the debut of their ready to wear line.
“Cairo Fashion Festival has a very young audience and surrounding community. Other fashion shows in the capital often have a very different guest list that might not meet my collection’s aesthetic. In my atelier, I often target much older people; however, this particular collection needed a young audience like the one here at Cairo Fashion festival,” said Habashi.
“Urban Geisha” by Pacinthe Badran turned many heads including the heads of the London College of Fashion delegates. The soft and sour collection is inspired by the Japanese cherry blossoms, and it highlights the two faces of each and every woman through delicate details and sharp cuts. The collection’s obvious harmony has earned the designer a grant from London College of Fashion to take a short specialised course at the headquarters.
As for Le Conteur, their very first collection told a story of young and fresh women. As the designer aims to unfold the stories of her potential clients, this collection certainly had a positive aura of its own.
“My inspiration for my first collection is nature and the very sophisticated colours found in the wilderness. For me, it reflects the inner beauty of girls. My collection is all about flowers and bright colours,” said Esraa Shaheen, founder of Le Conteur.
Shaheen’s main theme was a bridesmaid concept, whereby all models wore a hand-wear corsage. According to the designer, Le Conteur is French for the storyteller. Therefore, when she starts a collection, she thinks about all perspectives such as the concept, theme, colours, and the feeling that it conjures to the woman wearing it—all to create a cohesive story.
As for her reasons to choose CFF as a launch platform for her newly born fashion label, Shaheen said that it is all in the event’s consistency and organisation. “Cairo Fashion Festival is the biggest seasonal fashion event that takes place in Cairo. Therefore, it is an ideal starting point for me in order to get great exposure and professional experience,” said Shaheen.
The night also witnessed the debut of Norine Farah’s very first ready to wear collection. Originally, the designer showcased her first couture collection on the same runway few seasons earlier. Nonetheless, after winning the DHL competition last season, Farah came back to showcase her newest masterpiece, Captured.
For this particular collection, Farah created her own fabrics, using enchanting images of nature. The practical garments captured the scenery of mountains and rivers as well as magnificent skylines, while staying true to Farah’s signature cuts and edgy necklines.
As for this year’s DHL competition, many designers put great effort into reinterpreting the brand’s iconic colours and persona. Nonetheless, the winner earned it for his smart comparison between modern and retro. Ahmed Hamdy created a theatrical tuxedo using the brand’s materials. It is safe to say that this particular fashion statement will not be forgotten any time soon.