FFWD Day 2

The 1am finish at the Frioul Fashion Forward Season Five after-party on Friday night wasn’t enough to deter us from missing the beginning of day two of Dubai’s fashion extravaganza. With a presentation from Arwa Al Banawi, a trio of shows from the Starch Foundation and personal illustrations on the agenda, we were up and at ’em yesterday morning.

Nineties Revival. Saudi-born Arwa Al Banawi made her Fashion Forward debut with a riot of colour, prints and “power-dressing” pieces at her presentation named, Memories.

Arwa Al Banawi FFWD day 2

Talking to EW’s Style Director, Jade Sprowson, the blogger-turned-designer said: “My collection is real taste of the nineties. Even though it’s an autumn/winter collection I’ve created pieces in bright colours and strong shapes.”

“There are power pieces, such as the blazers paired with trousers. There’s one look which I’ve named ‘day-to-night’. It’s a suit that can be worn in the office and then taken right out for dinner that same evening.”

Wearing a double-breasted blue blazer and stacked plaftform shoes Arwa says: “I always wear a blazer, it’s a key piece in my wardrobe.”

Arwa’s right about the colour palette, the eight-look collection is awash with colour-popping hues from tangerine oranges, to daffodil yellows and zingy greens – it’s sure to awaken our fashion senses come September.


Jade catches designer, Arwa Al Banawi after the presentation to talk about the vibrant collection.

Get Sketched. Another first for Fashion Forward is the Pepsi Lounge, where weary show-goers can refuel and get a much-needed sugar and caffeine kick with canapes and Pepsi aplenty. Nibbles and soda aside, fashion illustrator Shamekh Al-Bluwi is sketching Dubai’s most stylish as they mill around the lounge, this is one not to be missed.

Dima Ayad Illustration

Fashion illustrator Shamekh Al-Bluwi captured the essence of Dima Ayad’s collection when he got a sneak preview a few days ago

Shamekh Al-Bluwi

Artist Shamekh Al-Bluwi

ffwd day 2

Style Director Jade as captured on the day wearing a fringe BCBG Max Azria skirt

New Kids On The Block. Starch Foundation, a non-profit fashion business that gives a helping hand to emerging  Lebanese designers, showcased three of their new stars yesterday. It was Beruit-born Nour Najem that caught our eye with a collection of origami-inspired pieces finished with rope details coming in subtle hues of beiges, blues and white. Our pick was the peek-a-book striped dress with skater skirt.

Nour Najem ffwd day 2



Seeing Sparkles. Celebrity favourite Yousef Al-Jasmi (he counts Jennifer Lopez and Jessie J amongst his many fans) made his Fashion Forward debut with a sea of sparkles. Models shimmied down the catwalk in floor-sweeping gowns and mini-dresses all of which were coated with beads and finished with tassles. The entire collection roared with a 1920s vibe.

Yousef Al-Jasmi

Yousef Al-Jasmi

Yousef Al-Jasmi

Top Of The Crops. With Felcity Huffman, Charlize Theron and Jennifer Lopez fans of her past collections we had high hopes for  Aiisha Ramadan’s show. Along with the structured piped gowns and body con fabrics, Aiisha took us on a direction with midriff-baring pieces. As Karl Lagerfeld says: “The stomach is new cleavage.”

Aiisha Ramadan Aiisha Ramadan Aiisha Ramadan

Hothouse Couture. If Thumbelina was a fashion designer then this is the collection we would imagine she would create.  Elegantly polished dresses formed with layers of petal-like fabrics, jumpsuits blooming with lily pad shaped fabrics and sheer gowns covered in 3-D flowers. But it wasn’t Thumbelina who created the garden party of gowns, it was couturier Jean Louis Sabaji.

Jean Louis Sabaji

Jean Louis Sabaji

Jean Louis Sabaji

Jean Louis Sabaji

Jean Louis Sabaji

Fierce Fringing. It’s no surprise that fashion-goers fought for front row seats at Dima Ayad’s, as the designer certainly didn’t let us down. Dima gave us an all-singing, all-moving, all-dancing collection. Almost every look was finished with layers of fringing that sashayed down the runway. Necks were high, skirts were fluid and trousers were wide – so en pointe we could wear it all right now!

Dima Ayad

Dima Ayad

Dima Ayad

A long tailored jacket and fringe skirt gave a touch of the 20s

It’s A Wrap. Show-goers ended the long but fabulous day at the TasteMakers after party, which, as the name suggests, saw the region’s trailblazers rubbing shoulders.

FFWD Day 2-9959

Keep following us on here as well as social media – InstagramFacebookTwitter – as we continue to report to you about all things Fashion Foward.

To find out what happened on Day One, visit here.  For Street Style, visit here