Nabila Chihab
She may be a well-known and respected sportswoman but this weekend Nabila Chihab will be making her mark as a bona fide designer as she showcases her creations at Caftan fashion show at Palmeraie Resort Marrakech.Don’t let her lean, over six-foot, athletic build fool you, there is more to Nabila Chihab than meets the eye.  Yes, the Moroccan-Italian 30-year-old, is a professional volleyball player with a body that makes us all want to drop down and perform endless burpees, but the beauty is also a talented style icon with Nabila being one of 17 designers revealing their latest collections during the highly-anticipated Caftan fashion show (now in its 18th edition), which celebrates Moroccan and Arabic Haute Couture.
Ahead of her showcase at the stylish event, we spoke to the star about her bold fashion, her heritage and sharing a stage with Giorgio Armani.

On her heritage…

I was born in Casablanca but moved to Italy when I was very young. I had a very multicultural upbringing that combined Moroccan traditions at home, with all things Italian in my education and social life, and while I consider myself to be Italian, I have a deep passion for my Moroccan heritage.

On her debut collection…

My first collection is based on a real fusion of culture – as part of my Moroccan heritage, the kaftan is a staple wardrobe item for many women, however it isn’t a particularly versatile item. My vision had been for a long time was to revolutionise the kaftan, simplifying it in terms of the cut, making it lighter, while maintaining the intricate stitch work and embroidery.

Nabila Chihab

On her inspirations…

I’ve long been fascinated with native Indian music. For me it provides a marriage of spirituality and symbolism that tells a story from the past, an idea I was keen to try and fabricate through my designs. I can’t say I’ve ever found inspiration from other designers directly  – when I see a collection I immediately think of how I could do it better. That said, for now, I’m focused on the kaftan and seeing how I can truly make it stand out.

On her kaftans….

Typically, traditional kaftans are designed to cover a woman’s body. I want the kaftan to enhance the shape of a woman’s beauty, while still maintaining a respectful level of modesty. As part of the process of modernising the kaftan, each of my new pieces has been designed with a matching purse.

On her critics…

In terms of how I feel about the collection, I’d rather wait to hear from my critics – my first show is in Marrakech, where the catwalk show will be broadcast on TV. The follow up in Milan will be equally exciting.

Nabila Chihab

 On her fashion representing Morocco during the Expo 2015 in Milan…

I’m humbled that my designs have been selected to represent a country. I’m aware of how long it can take to catch a break in this industry so to have this opportunity is incredible. I only really understood the gravity of the Expo 2015 show when I found out that Italy’s representative designer is Giorgio Armani. To share a stage with someone of his calibre is a dream for me.

 On her future plans…

I’m hoping that once we’re finished with the shows we’ll be able to start retailing the kaftans from Q4 2015. I’m launching both a pret-a porter and haute couture lines so I hope this will appeal to a wide range of both budgets and people.

Nabila Chihab will make her fashion show debut at Caftan at Palmeraie Resort Marrakech. Visit here for more information.