The Qatar’s fashion industry is booming. With Fashion Trust Arabia, the industry is on the rise and on its way to place itself on the cultural map of the world. Doha’s youth game is unmatched in the competing capital, but there is also a blazing tension between the experimental side of the fashion industry and the establishment of going classic. Going classic wins the game of sartorial fashion, well usually, but this season Grazia Style Awards 2019 gave the hint of something otherwise, hurling the fashion forte with millennials and aesthetics of futuristic approach. The electric tension between huge power houses and emerging designers makes for an unpredictable award show with winner list you can’t really pre-empt, but sit back and applause. It’s always exciting to see industry veterans and mover-and-shakers appreciating new industry entrants and giving them a space of their own to flourish and create something even more appealing.
The annual Grazia Style Awards 19, now in its fourth year, was held at Mondrian Doha with over 370 guests and awards presented to Qatari and international achievers in fashion, art, culture, and philanthropy. Staged by Grazia, the awards celebrated female achievement in Qatar and beyond.
The Grazia Style Awards (LSA) collaborated with Salam Stores, Qatar Airways, Lexus Qatar, Mondrian Doha, Aldo Coppola, L’Occitane, Trinity Talent Qatar, and Doha Gossip, since you cannot put up grand shows without a sponsor.
Where the perceptive Mazini’s decedents of Fil Noir (Modest Wear Brand of the Year) takes the brand to a whole new level with cutting edge, practical designs and clothes that are even more imaginative when one begins to explore the garment construction – the zany style aesthetics and craftsmanship with finest cotton fabrics, it is the unassailable layering of Amal Ameen Almehain (Lifetime Achievement Award) of Amici di Moda (Best Luxury Boutique) that protrudes her in the ceaseless list of designers and veterans existing in the fashion industry. Amal defines haute couture with her painstakingly intricate details, embroideries and sheer cuts. Playing with couture, cuts and silhouettes has been an idea that seemed unfathomable few years from now in the region, but in no time we’re all have been calling Amal a change – maker, for the aesthetics and volume she brings.
We are all in a mire of fashion choices in 2019. With abundance frills, volume, shoes dripping in crystals, leopard capes and 3D roses, the focus today towards a fashion forward approach has been rudderless. But then there are those millennial designers who takes on a classic and give a modern spin to it, so wonderfully that you cannot but stop and appreciate — redefining the shapes and tailoring timeless it-pieces. Some of the brightest names in Qatar fashion industry — spanning the worlds of womenswear and shoe wears — have been witted down to just two winners (Breakthrough Stars of the Year): Yasmin Mansour and Hissa Haddad. Where Yasmin stands behind the unfussy-yet elegant womenswear collection that’s proven a draw for fashion editors and retailers alike and getting a nomination and making it to the final rounds of Fashion Trust Arabia previous edition, the only designer from Qatar to establish footings at such a platform, Hissa, an engineer turned shoe designer, is the only Arab footwear designer to have had made a debut with a capsule collection at Paris Fashion Week 2017. Her breakout debut is only half the story of her success, the other, and more significant half is the fierce energy, motivation and aesthetics with which she represents Qatar worldwide, including the likes of London Fashion Week.
Glitz and glamour is one of the centrepieces of GSA. An awe-inspiring activation curated by Salam Stores featuring mannequins, recalling the glamour of the Great Gatsby era, showcased some of Salam’s most dazzling new season collections.
Floor-sweeping shifts in clean white satin and provocative sculpted black dresses with rivulets of crystals and embellishments, couture lets a designer go all out and about and play along the creative aesthetics. That’s exactly what Tiiya by Alanoud Alattiya (Fashion Gamechanger Award) has been doing for previous quite some years, earning acclaim one after another for its lush fabrics, ranging from heavy gazar, to lighter organza, crepes and taffetas, sculptural shapes and meticulously ornate beading.
Grazia has produced some of the finest and most iconic images of modern times and played a pivotal role in portraiture, fashion and beauty photography. The magazine has been encouraging and promoting photographers and designers to produce some of the most influential and stunning imagery in the history of fashion. Grazia honoured Sara al-Obaidly, Qatari photographer and filmmaker, with Artist of the Year Award. Sara’s work is so exceptional and often unique with the style of posing sitters and usual backgrounds that keeps the focus on subject articulately.
Clothing may make up the majority of an outfit, but accessories are more significant than you may think. You might find yourself spending just as much time shopping for accessories as you do for clothes — and rightfully so, Ibrahim al-Haidos, founder of Fursan (Luxury Accessory Brand) understands that. The fact that all pole-apart trends can coexist alongside rainbow sunglasses and an unstoppable straw bag renaissance from Fursan makes the brand unbeatable.
Grazia’s Award for Social Media influencer was bagged by Almira Kahrobaie.
Grazia Qatar’s Publisher and Editor in Chief Bianca Brigitte Bonomi hosted the evening, so well that one wonders how this woman does it all, all the time. Keeping it so perfect and flawless. Not a pitch out of place. “Glamorous than Oscars,” she said candidly. And it won’t be erroneous to say, that it really was, considering all the couture statement gowns that had made it to the award gala.
“We’ve seen so many wonderful feats achieved by women in Qatar this year. From the opening of the National Museum under the leadership of HE Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa al-Thani, to the staging of Dana Alfardan’s Broken Wings musical; Yasmin Mansour representing Qatar-based designers at Fashion Trust Arabia, and the 150 women that took part in Grazia’s Real Beauty Revolution – the first magazine cover ever to feature its readers – women have shone over the past twelve months. At Grazia, we celebrate women in all of their technicoloured, brilliant diversity. Our guests come from different backgrounds, lead different lifestyles, and speak different languages but we are united in our appreciation of female achievement and that is what the Grazia Style Awards are all about,” she said.
As this edition of GSA paid tribute to the women of influence, Jessica Kahawaty, a Lebanese Australian, TV Host, beauty queen, model, and philanthropist, was awarded with the prestigious Woman of the Year award for her outstanding humanitarian work. In 2016, Louis Vuitton approached her to be part of their Make a Promise campaign, designed to help children in urgent need through its support for Unicef, the United Nations Children’s Fund. In 2018, she became a member of the Unicef Leadership Circle, which gave her the opportunity to visit and support a variety of refugee camps around the world as well as sit amongst major philanthropic donors in the Middle East to discuss Unicef’s objectives and fundraising. To date, she has embarked on three humanitarian missions and the connection with the people she has met over the course of these missions has had a profound impact on her outlook. She ended her acceptance speech, in which she outlined her personal experiences on these missions, with a call to action. Speaking on the occasion, she said, “There are no words that can describe what I have witnessed … I met elderly crying in their final days because they had lost everything. A life lived for nothing they say. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights was signed and imposed in 1948, but the world today is so far from recognising dignity, equal and valuable rights for all. Are we going to publicly proclaim our values online rather than turning our words into actions? We must change the culture of greed, social indifference and superiority that has thrived,” she added “Someone once quoted Andrew Sullivan to me, if you change the society and a culture, the politics will follow. This award is to remember those we have lost in crimes against humanity and for the survivors who are still pursuing their fight for justice in this world.”
WOMAN OF SUBSTANCE: Jessica Kahawaty, a Lebanese Australian, TV Host, beauty queen, model, and philanthropist, was awarded with the prestigious Woman of the Year award for her outstanding humanitarian work.