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Dior’s unique haute couture show signals Dubai’s rising profile in the global fashion world

March 20, 2019  

Christian Dior, this week, presented its spring haute couture collection in a circus-themed extravaganza at Safa Park, making Dubai the first ever city in the Middle East to have hosted a haute couture show. In an exhilarating event that featured fire-breathers and circus performers, Dior unveiled a collection to honour the woman of today.

Dior’s Dubai show augmented its haute couture show first presented in Paris in January 2019, with 15 additional looks created specially to mark the occasion. Among the new looks, Dior’s designers revisited the iconic Bar jacket for the Middle East.

The spectacular Dior event reflects Dubai’s rising profile as a new hotspot on the global fashion and luxury products map. Over the past few years, Dubai has grown in stature both as a regional and international hub for fashion entrepreneurs, stylists, designers and global retail brands.

Explaining the significance of the Dior event, Ahmed Al Khaja, CEO, Dubai Festivals and Retail Establishment, said: "In choosing Dubai as the second stop for their travelling haute couture fashion show, after Paris, Dior one of the world's leading fashion labels, has given a resounding endorsement of Dubai as the undisputed fashion hub in the Middle East. As Dubai is committed to hosting events of the highest international standards, we are delighted that Dior's Dream Parade gave connoisseurs of fashion the opportunity to experience an exclusive showcase of the fashion brand's Haute Couture Spring/Summer 19 collection including 15 pieces that were specially created for the event in Dubai.

“It is also a major achievement for the emirate's tourism and retail sectors - while reinforcing the reputation of the city as the first choice for global brands and an unparalleled shopping haven, the fact that Dior also flew in some 350 of their clients from around the world to witness the dazzling display of designer fashion, will further boost Dubai's position as a must-visit tourism destination,” he added.

The UNESCO recently acknowledged Dubai’s rising status on the global creative map by naming it is as a 'Creative City of Design’.  Dubai is one of only 24 cities in the world to be part of UNESCO’s Creative Cites Network (UCCN). The city’s rising prominence in the global creative industry is part of the vision of Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai to transform the emirate into an innovation-driven economy.

A few years ago, Dubai created a stir in the international fashion scene by giving rise to a new genre of fashion that is now being embraced across the world – modest fashion. Comprising loose, comfortable clothing that is less revealing, modest fashion is today a $44 billion industry (AED161 billion), according to a recent report. The market for modest wear is expected to grow rapidly to be worth $327 billion (Dh1,201 billion) by 2020. Big names such as Dolce & Gabbana, and Tommy Hilfiger, to name just a few, have climbed on to the modest-fashion bandwagon by launching their own collections.

To stimulate the growth of this new fashion movement, Dubai hosts the annual Dubai Modest Fashion Week, which attracts designers from across the world. The second edition of the global show held in March featured designers from nearly a dozen countries. Among the highlights of this unique event were the exquisite creations of Russian designer Mariyan Suleymanova, Canadian label Mayada and Turkish vintage-style brand Sempre.

At the heart of Dubai's aspirations to become a global fashion capital is the Dubai Design District (d3), a creative community that offers purpose-built commercial and retail facilities for both established and emerging designers. Since its opening in 2015, global brands such as Chanel, Dior, BOSS, and Burberry have established bases there.

d3’s growth is also being fueled by emerging designers, who are capitalising on the diversity of Dubai’s market to provide tailor-made offerings. Fashion designer Furne Amato, whose celebrity clients include Katy Perry, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Shakira, J-Lo and Ariana Grande, is one of those who moved his flagship boutique, to d3. Young designers based in d3 include Russian faux-fur-designer Tzarina Ollia who counts American singers Christina Aguilera and Toni Braxton as her clients.

Also cementing Dubai’s status as a design hub is d3’s Dubai Design Week, the largest creative festival in the Middle East. The six-day event provides a meeting point for the global design community and a platform for regional design to showcase itself. With 75,000 industry professionals attending the 2018 edition, the event is playing a key role in the growth of the creative community in Dubai and the UAE

Since its establishment, d3 has grown into a popular events space that attracts international artists and audiences to other cultural exhibitions and gatherings such as Fashion Forward and Sole DXB a regional lifestyle platform for footwear, fashion, culture, art and design.

Complementing these initiatives to create a flourishing design ecosystem in Dubai is the development of high-quality educational institutions.  The establishment of the College of Fashion and Design (CFD) the first fully accredited college of its kind in the region in 2016, has given aspiring fashion designers in the UAE the opportunity to learn the skills and experiences required to succeed in this robust and ever-changing industry from accomplished industry experts. Educational institutes such as these are critical to developing the next generation of UAE-based designers.

In the coming years, as more global brands and talented designers from across the world flock to Dubai, the city is well set to become one of the world’s most exciting hubs for fashion.

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