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Two extraordinarily talented women kicked off Fashion Forward in Dubai with ready to wear collections that were eerily similar in theme, our Arab identity, yet shockingly different in perspective.

Starch Foundation's Nour Najem took us back in time, with her 'ZAMAN, a tale of time' catwalk presentation. The sensuality of the Orient translated in deep jewel toned reds, tales from our history literally weaved into one another to create the fabric that is our unique identity. In her own words,

The color combinations floating down the runway to the beat of old Arabic songs reminiscent of historic mosaic tiles, the soft beige and greys of our landscape accented with the rich colors and details of our heritage.

It wasn't all nostalgia for Nour however, the underlying story of the powerful women ran through the collection. Barefoot models, with their severe center hair part and strong lip, dressed in the traditional garb of men. A tailored jacket worn over a thob-like dress and a short gilet matched to a braided taselled belt were a keen reminder of the powerful Arab woman, in her own words,

Later in the day Nafsika Skourti treated us to her very own interpretation of the region. Based on the themes of youth and freedom, the collection labeled “temporary security" was hopeful. The words energy, electricity and ignite in the first three lines of her write up clearly defining her artistic creations.

The high octane catwalk presentation was nothing short of perfection. An emotional rollercoaster ride that left our senses riddled. The ever-changing, harsh realities of our Arab world 'genius-ly' reflected in the powerful musical story was in perfect contradiction to the inspiring, consistently creative talent that is Nafsika Skourti.

Nafsika's army of models energetically strutting down the runway in vibrant, thoroughly modern camouflage prints, spoke of freedom, youthful exuberance and hope for a 'brighter' future.

Patchwork utility jackets, with our Arab culture literally written on the sleeves made the otherwise modern collection uniquely Arab. Who would have thought that a crop top, reeboks and arabic calligraphy could have such charm.

The pièce de résistance, a multicultural cloak, finished off the show and left us with our personal interpretations of the future. Nafsika's only request to us, the words 'waiting is forbidden' emblazoned on the front. A call to peaceful action reflected in the embroidered dove that bid us farewell from the catwalk.

Nafsika's story struck a note with many tonight, her bold interpretation of today's youth a welcomed shot of positive adrenaline, I am surprised we didn't break out in a 'yes we can' at the end of the show !

Oct 23, 2015