After many online forecasts, the doors were finally open for gowns and tuxedos to sweep by. As the ballroom filled with more than 150 fashion fanatics, anticipation grew more evidently in the air. Unlike any other event, it was the end of this one that everyone looked out for.
With renowned names such as Dubai Design and Fashion Council CEO Jazia Al Dhanhani, and international judges Reem Acra, Aquazzura’s Edgardo Osorio, and Conde Nast’s Karina Dobrotvorskaya lined up for talks, it was Vogue Arabia’s Editor in Chief Manuel Arnaut’s announcement that had everyone applaud and holding their breath.
The DDFC/Vogue Fashion prize has once again returned to offer a strong boost for a number of regional talents. The nominees represented a diversity of countries and design aesthetics. After months of online hype and one long day for the jury committee to meet and evaluate each talent, a winner for each of the categories was announced amid encouraging cheers and deafening standing-ovation.
The Five Palm Jumeirah Dubai Hotel witnessed the heartfelt celebration of ready to wear designer Faissal El-Malak, accessory designer Joanna Laura Constantine, and fine jewellery designer Nadine Ghosn as they jumped and twirled in excitement, knowing that the paths of their brands are about to be turned around.
Aside from the regional and international recognition, DDFC provides a vital push for the winners. Former winners such as Hussein Bazaza and Okhtein have utilised the award to take their brands internationally as well as develop their regional production and presence.
This year’s winners are set to receive a number of prizes that collectively sum up to more than USD 250,000. They will be given a financial grant, which should reflect on the brand’s production. On the other hand, they will also receive a retail pick-up from Harvey Nichols -Dubai and Bloomingdale’s – Kuwait.
With that said, the key benefits are the mentorship period provided by one of the committee members as well as an advertising campaign to promote their upcoming retail collection.
The vogue fashion prize started with one category, ready to wear, in the year 2015, and went to Lebanese talent Hussein Bazaza. Since then, an ‘accessories’ category was added to the festival, while this year’s ceremony witnessed the first ‘fine jewellery’ winner.
Faissal El-Malak is a cultural veteran, who uses fabrics to unite borders. The ready-to-wear outfit designer is best known for advocating local craftsmanship across the region. El-Malak personally allocates artisans in countries such as Yemen, Tunis, and Egypt.
His work is a token of authenticity that pays tribute to the region’s incomparable hand-woven fabrics. With a colour pallet inspired by the Arab world’s earthly tones and androgynous silhouettes, the Palestinian designer addresses those who appreciate art and history.
On the other hand, Joanna Laura Constantine has strong women at the core of her designs. The accessories master juggles Swarovski crystals and pearls, while shaping rhodium to create a well-detailed, modern-day equivalent of armours for contemporary women. armoire
Constantine’s most-celebrated designs borrow geometry from tribal fashion as well as cursive doodles from abstract art. For her SS18 collection, the Lebanese designer wraps her heroines with gold-plated strands encrusted with a rainbow of crystals. Meanwhile, she gracefully turns belts into stackable gold rings and bangles.
Wrapped up in miniature fast-food boxes; diamonds, rubies, and gold in Ghosn’s collection assemble to form a precious burger sandwich, complete with metaphoric ketchup, onion and lettuce. Nadine Ghosn transforms several delicacies into fine jewellery for a young and digitally-obsessed clientele. The eclectic designer turns to food and technology for unexpected inspiration.
Due to her few years in the Far East, Ghosn is known for diamond and emerald sushi rolls as well as a number of mouth-watering pendants. The constantly-smiling designer walked home with the newest award thanks to her ability to create jewellery with the potential to document current global social trends.