Travel: SATC2 and the Middle East Fashions

One of my favorite moments from the SATC2 movie was when the Arab women disrobed their black abayas and revealed their shared love for fashion.  Apparently, fashion, like love is an international language.   And in the Middle East, Manolo Blahnik, Gucci and Versace roll off their Middle Easterner’s tongues just as easily as they do on the set of SATC!

So much of the movie reminded me of my recent trip to Dubai during Dubai Fashion Week (okay maybe not the $20,000 a night hotel) but witnessing the lavish lifestyles, riding and balancing on camels, whipping through the endless sand dunes in a dune buggy, shopping through street markets all brought back fabulous memories.

Much like the movie SATC2, my trip to Dubai was focused on the fashion.  I was lucky enough to have been invited through a friend to attend all of Dubai Fashion Week’s runway shows, sit front row and enjoy the VIP experience.  Here I’ll share some photos that I took during Dubai Fashion Week ’08.

As you can see, abayas are pretty standard black cloaks.  They can look a little scary at first if you’re not used to them.  Personally, I couldn’t get over how it looked like everyone was seemingly floating around town (men wear all white, women wear all black). 

The exotic runway shows that featured abayas oftentimes felt as if you were seeing the same thing over and over but upon closer inspection it was all in the details (check out the trims and embellishment).  I learned to appreciate how the runways were really pushing the envelope as far as moving forward from the traditional, look. And I had to try one on for size…

You’ll notice that the runway shows often featured Eastern European models as locals are too conservative to model and have their bodies out on display.  The below pictures showcase some of the Arab fashions one would wear underneath the abaya. (Can someone say “I Dream of Jeannie?”) You can see why Dubai Fashion Week still stands out in my memory.  The experience was unlike any other fashion show I had ever seen…

Whereas less is more in the States, more is definitely more in the Middle East!

Turbans and head scarves are still very much part of the Middle East fashion as evidenced on the runways (and on SATC2)

turbanI think one of the reasons SATC2 has received such negative reviews is because many couldn’t relate to the Middle East setting, missed NY and therefore didn’t leave with the same thrill.  The Middle East may be a glamourous escape but a girl can only take so many head scarves, harem pants and maxi dresses before she starts longing for Carrie’s silly NY tutu.  The 2nd movie definitely lacked in inspirational fashions if only because they were a bit too exotic.  I found that Vogue’s photo shoot featuring their imagined scenes between Mr. Big and Carrie resulted in more awe-inspiring fashion moments .  See the pictures below (photos taken by Annie Leibovitz) and let me know your thoughts!

Art: Fashion Illustration of Me by Ilse Valfre

I was honored to recently have fashionista stationary named after me and am honored now to have this fashion illustration made for me and FabGab.  Hehe there’s the FabGab iconic chandelier, and some of my favorite things: Chanel purse, bow in hair and dress.  How perfect!

And here’s another NY fashionista illustration that she gave me.  I think the first one is more me.  What do you think?

I’m a fan of Ilse Valfre’s work as she will closely follow all the latest fashions coming down the runway and adoringly illustrate them on her make-believe models.  Speaking of models, this fashion illustrator doesn’t just draw pretty images, she is a pretty image herself and actually models on the side as well!  Check her and her site out!

You must check out her website and blog.  I’m sure you’ll be as giddy as I was when viewing all the wonderful creations.  Here are some of my favorites!

She’s SUCH a talent, isn’t she?

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