Fashion Forward Season 3 put the UAE firmly on the global fashion map, with Dubai as its undisputed capital. And some of the brightest stars of the show were six young accessory designers picked by Swarovski to flex their creative muscles.
The hottest fashion event in the Middle East dazzled visitors to Madinat Jumeirah with four days of catwalk shows, style forums, and talks from industry insiders—not to mention a whirlwind of parties and social events. But behind the glamour, Fashion Forward Dubai (FFWD) had a serious mission: to nurture local talent and grow the industry so that it can compete in the global marketplace.
With this in mind, Swarovski invited six local designers to create a capsule collection for The Garden, FFWD’s accessories showcase. Representing Lebanon were Sarah’s Bag, Vanina, and Aura Headpieces, while Poupée Couture, By Sophie, and Madiso flew the flag for UAE.
True to the spirit of the event, the designs were innovative and, indeed, fashion forward. Sarah’s Bag founder Sarah Beydoun rendered Roy Lichtenstein’s pop art in tiny, shiny crystals. Tatiana Fayad and Joanne Hayek made old plastic bags blossom into graceful flowers in their Nature Morte jewelry collection for Vanina. And Roula Ghalayini blurred the lines between handbags and jewelry with her edgy, architectural clutches for Poupée Couture. Meanwhile, Caroline Chammas at Aura Headpieces channeled a retro, hippy-chic vibe with her Sweet Sizzling Summer collection, while Madiha Muzzafar for Madiso rocked a confident, contemporary look, where boldly colored crystals stole the limelight. Striking a more delicate note, Joumana Haj Ali at By Sophie, used crystal to accent her minimalist designs.
Six young designers, six very different approaches… But what unites them is the extraordinary intricacy of the work involved. At Poupée Couture, 12 designers used 3,561 crystals, securing them with 1,847 stitches. Around 40 crystals and 1,000 stitches went into each Madiso anklet. This is work that uses local skills, reviving centuries-old craftsmanship—cutting-edge design talent underpinned by traditional skills. Now that’s a winning combination. Paris and Milan had better watch out…