"Wear Egyptian" fashion show, on 30 October at the Townhouse facilities in downtown Cairo combined the elegance of Egyptian heritage and the practicality of present day style, the aim being a blend that appeals to modern women seeking to emphasise their Egyptian character and roots.
Presented by Al Takeeba Center for Artistic and Cultural Developmentin collaboration with The Jesuits Schools, Nabta and Egyptian Art Centres, the show launched with an Egyptian Tanura dervishes dance, followed by a henna show, and ended with a mix of Christian intonation and Islamic Madeeh at the Townhouse Gallery in downtown Cairo.
Shaimaa Abd El-Hamid, the founder and public relations director says that “The purpose of the festival is to celebrate Egyptian identity and highlight its many and varied facets.”
In fact, each and every design embodies a distinctive piece of Egypt. Boasting rich, striking colours and exceptional Egyptian texture, the assortment draws its features from ancient Egyptian, Nubian, Bedouin and Islamic styles.
Designers focused on using small yet effective details, the emphasis being on simplicity in all designs.
Taghreed Ezz, an Applied Art graduate, for example, chose to use feathers in her outfits, an influence from the costumes of Ancient Egypt. She tells us that “Pharoahs regarded birds as sacred creatures and the inclusion of feathers is a tribute.” She named her collection Black Feathers.
Another piece is by Eman Kotb, a Fine Arts graduate, who was inspired by popular emblems from Egyptian culture, such as the crescent, the palm and blue beads, which are believed to protect against envy. She also uses letters in Egyptian font, adding, then, a touch of originality to her collection.
Sarah Kabeel, an Applied Arts student chose an attractive mix of Islamic art and modern design.
The fashion show is the culmination of the festival Bel Masry Akoon (To be Egyptian), which comprises other workshops such as Al Lagna Al Shaabeya, focusing on graphic designs with the intention of creating a unique Egyptian Arabic font.
Regarding the timing of the event, Shaimaa believes that the coming days are important due to the current changes on the social and political scene.
“Many people seem to be presenting ideas, which are not in harmony with the real Egypt we know. It is one of our duties as talented Egyptians to come up with something worth presenting at this moment of our history; a reflection of how we as Egyptians wish to be seen by others and in our own eyes.”
Although this is the first fashion show experience for most of the young designers, “Wear Egyptian” is truly a triumph of art. The remarkable effort and devotion of the artists, topped with their eye for flair, is obvious. A glance at the dresses to come to life on the big day exhibits pieces that speak of originality, imbued with a touch of yesterday and the spice of today’s day and age.