British luxury brand Molton Brown has unveiled an exquisite Ramadan collection. Making this launch even more special and specific to the region — the luxe label has partnered with Emirati calligrapher Alya El Sanad to work on this line.
Inspired by the colour palette from the three ambery fragrances, Alya has produced exclusive artwork for this campaign. At the centre of all her illustrations for this collection, light is a consistently influential subject – prevalent in all kinds of celebrations around the world. In an exclusive chat with EW, Alya talks to us about this one-of-a-kind association and how Arabic calligraphy is a meditative art form for her.
You’ve mentioned in the statement that Arabic calligraphy is therapeutic for you. What was the initial drawing factor when you picked it up as an art form?
Arabic calligraphy is the most highly regarded and the most fundamental element of Islamic art. It is truly beautiful — looks complex but visually pleasing, even for those who don’t know the language. This is what precisely attracted me to the art and motivated me to learn more about it. With time, it became a hobby and a great form of therapy for me. The practice of handwriting Arabic script in a fluid manner is so calming and graceful. It’s exactly the kind of stress-relief one needs in today’s busy life.
Molton Brown is known for their luxe olfactory products. How was the experience of collaborating with them on a Ramadan special collection?
The team at Molton Brown were amazing to work with. They made the entire experience smooth by providing support and ensuring I had all the necessary products and information to create the artwork. During my visit to the Molton Brown store, they ensured I got to experience the special Ramadan collection and even gave me my favorite fragrance which provided a source of inspiration while developing the artwork.
While designing for this line, what did the process of creative collaboration with Molton Brown look like?
Our creative collaboration on the Ramadan campaign for Molton Brown started with a brief about all the requirements and goals of the project. We then had a brainstorming session Molton Brown’s global team to develop a concept for the campaign that was aligned with the brand’s values. Then, it was down to me to create the visual elements, which I accomplished using light painting in the Arabic calligraphy style. These were then incorporated into the campaign’s visuals, graphics and gift package designs.
The artwork you’ve created is an abstract version of Arabic calligraphy. When you design for a project like this, how do you maintain the balance of art and language while designing something that is visually appealing yet meaningful?
When I started developing the light calligraphy art work, I made sure that the feeling of Arabic calligraphy was present at all times by creating the shape of the pen stroke by light. Even in abstract form, this is what made the artwork appealing, yet meaningful as it gave my work a modern look that was still rooted in the ancient Islamic art.
Mesmerising Oudh Accord & Gold, Rose Dunes and Neon Amber. How did you translate these fragrances in your designs?
I was able to customize the light strokes using the colours in these three products which resulted in such a beautiful combination that was captivating and graceful to look at.
What is your favorite fragrance that always makes you nostalgic?
My favorite fragrance from Molton Brown’s Ramadan collection has to be Rose Dunes. There is something about the dark patchouli and rich Oudh scent that makes me so nostalgic, and it brings back old special memories.
What does the month of Ramadan mean to you and how do you embody the spirit of this holy month in your own way?
The holy month of Ramadan is a very special month for me because it symbolizes dedication, reflection and discipline. There is a beautiful energy in the air as families and friends gather, share the blessings and give back to the community. I find this month to be a great opportunity to self-reflect and recharge, and I do this by slowing down, counting my blessings and focusing on what matters. By the end of Ramadan, I end up feeling like a refreshed version of myself.
Molton Brown Ramadan collection
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