Shop Qatar’s Design District, organised by Qatar Tourism Authority, was the trailer of what’s coming next – the retail revolution that will propel the business of fashion forward in Qatar. Fashion weeks are large, lumbering behemoths and make for long arduous days, but how fast time flies when fabulous fashion is the order of the day. Local and international haute couture and ready to wear designers on the same platform, and witnessing it was a complete headrush. Although in between it felt like it was the longest of a fashion week for anyone who wanted to check out the high street brands. And it was well worth it.  
The difference is a huge, glaring one when one sees a collection of gorgeous outfits at any given fashion week and then like a flash in the pan it’s gone. The few wise retailers immediately prepare their boutiques for the arrival of those collections where fashion lovers then hurry off to. 
That being said we hope fashion designers can walk off the ramps and straight into stores just like it happened at Shop Qatar. Qatar finally abuzz with fashion weeks, happening off and on like anything. It’s a big flare that fizzles out once the shows are over for designers. Many established designers, part of the showcase, have made their mark and moved on to retail already where some others have still opted for ‘appointment only’. That said, there wasn’t a single collection that one could say ‘blah’ to. The pioneers, fashion superstars, debut makers, luxury kings and queens and ready to wear gurus were all spot on. This is what ideally everyday at every fashion week should be like. Here’s what best went down the ramp and then translated to the fashion booths/pop up stores at Design District. 

Yasmine Mansour
It might sound silly to say, but Yasmine’s collection was unpretentious. It was modern, sleek and all about silhouette frills that caterwauled feminine appeal. It was here more effortless-looking couture outings – that is, she managed to keep supersize volumes down with some ready to wear twist. There was plenty of work behind even the most deceptively simple looks. The draping that echoed her sculptural inspiration looked terrific in billowing dresses with minimal delicate floral buds. The colour palette was so soft and pastel as if it’s a garden setting with blooming flowers around the perfectly structured silhouettes, emphasising the sighing softness of the fabric. But it was even better when it was worked in layers of brown and black chiffon, falling into undulating folds, sliding in controlled fashion off the shoulder. Yasmine’s showcase was all about structured shapes for confident, moderate woman who is all set to make a statement with strap gowns or deep necklines. 

Namrata Joshipura
Featuring best of Namrata, surrealistic and chic collection was charged with hefty dose of glamour and elegance; perfectly structured pant suits, pastels that packed a punch of big statements. It was nothing too extravagant, simple but making statement – and it made sense as ready-made scene without any need for flown-in props is all very bewitching. High rolling sequins and colours popping out of fitted gowns in black, mostly, was like a cocktail menu of individual styles. Her pieces poised empathetically between self-protection and self-projection. Namarata’s sporty personality was visible in each piece that came on the runway; simple and nothing too tacky. Her designs come as a massive relief to the grown women at a time when it feels like female power is being eroded. If you plan on wearing her pastel pant suit, be mentally prepared to turn heads around, because you’re definitely going to. 

Faith Connextion
They maintained its signature loud and brash style, bringing novelty and even bigger lustre to their trademark with bigger bling on their edgy outfits on the ramp. From bomber jackets with studded plackets to knee-length dresses with chain trimmed frills, it was all about underlining form and structure with a little sparkle in the right places – like a real New York fashion savvy statement. The collection caterwauled New York as it encompassed works and collaborations of many different artists and designers. Whether he/she is clad in denim or leather – the unisex collection was all about standing out and shining, like anything in the world. 

Raw Mango by Sanjay Garg
This guy knows how to make it to the headlines effortlessly, not because of any controversy-but because of his work. Sanjay’s romance with fabric as a textile designer is enduring, with no-nonsense side. As an ode to the style statement of Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Garg’s collection was abounding great occasion pieces, nothing too overly embellished type and something women can feel confident in. All monochromatic and minimalistic with popping colours. Nothing tacky as the feet languid column dresses paired with the head scarves just like Her Highness Sheikha Moza makes the collection roundly championed as an elegant, independent choice. 

Ahmed Talfit
For his haute couture collection, it was paradise in general that intrigued him. Bling bling and tightly fitted full length gowns was a proof that nothing can hold back this Tunisian designer when it comes to handwork and zip-line sexy pieces; some fully embellished and some in block plain silk taffetas. The result looked like some sort of exotic fish-in the most flattering possible way. Months and months in the planning, we’re sure, and the statement knee length radiating gold gown was decorated with crystals to catch the light and arrayed in the exact same pattern – a cocktail dress to die for as tassels fizzles around the perfectly tailored couture. Another gown was even more painstakingly embroidered with tiny silvery-gray caviar beads, well when I say it, I mean it – it was just the start of how embellishments are done with the notch glamorous presentation. 

Saeed Malas
It’s a haute couture season. There were many dreamy dresses in this collection: a trio in featherweight taffeta that wrap around the body, tethered by discreet micro-pleating; a golden strapless gown; and velvet sequins cinched at the waist by a drawstring. The palette was all bronze, golden and glitterati, and every interpretation of nude one might imagine. There was a deliberate bling the proceedings—literally, in the choice of fabrics and handwork. Perfectly structured flowy silhouettes to be appreciated by women who are beyond the flimflam and easy glam of our times. 
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