Headed for Egypt

Lubna Abdel-Aziz
Tuesday 8 Nov 2022

There is a hurry and a flurry — a hustle and a bustle — a mysterious force driving people around the world to visit Egypt.

Since ancient times, Herodotus to Plutarch among others, the human race was awed by the phenomenon of the advanced civilisation by the banks of the great river.

There were lean years of late, with the conspired Arab Spring, the invasion of the Muslim Brotherhood, the political upheaval and terrorist threat — but that was a thing of the past.

We have overcome. A new stability and prosperity in the land has brought millions of tourists back to the ancient land of wonders.

What inspired famous Italian designer Stefano Ricci to present his Golden Jubilee collection at the great Temple of Hatshepsut, an architectural masterpiece of ancient history? Why not Paris, Rome, Milan, New York, the fashion capitals of the world?

An audacity beyond comprehension, Ricci brought 1,000 members of his staff to ancient Thebes, magnificent, spell-binding, grandiose.

Since his first visit to Luxor in 2003, he dreamed of presenting his collection at the foot of the unequalled majestic monuments.

For 20 years he has been working diligently to fulfil his dream. With the help of the Egyptian government, he headed for his dream city to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his famous brand.

Four-hundred international celebrities descended upon Luxor to view the collection. The one and only Andrea Bocelli sang an aria from the Opera Aida. What a magical night.

A lavish feast was set up. The applause grew louder as garments representing Egypt were displayed.

Ricci was not the first couturier to think of Egypt as a backdrop for his luxurious collection.

Last November, renowned Lebanese designer Elie Saab presented his haute couture collection at the Royal Abdine Palace, the former King Farouk’s opulent residence. What is making Egypt such a draw for the kings of fashion?

There is more. Maison Dior is set to unveil its men’s collection on 3 December, with the Great Pyramids of Giza as its backdrop. The appeal of the Parisian label is sure to draw more tourists to this ancient land.

Egypt is back on every tourist’s list.

Could it be in the stars that Egypt will be another fashion capital?

It looks like it already is.

And since we are in a fashion mood, cool breezes are reminding us of the change of wardrobe as winter is knocking on our doors.

The key words for the season’s fashion of autumn/winter, 2022-23 are leather and faux fur. Get that and you have less to worry about.

Luckily the runways have blessed us with many trends — so there is something to please everyone. From cargo pants to robe coats, the trends are fun, will keep us warm and brighten up the coldest days.

Ever considered a hot pink coat? This is the season to be bold and to go barbicore.

What is barbicore, we asked ourselves. We soon discovered. It is all about pink with a little Barbie energy thrown in. The trend is rooted in an overly optimistic fantasy world. We are all for it, go barbicore.

Mini, micro, and nano skirts never seem to go away. Boots thigh-high help with a little decorum. Lovers of maxi-length skirts, rest easy, and stay maxi. Seen at Saint Laurent, Chanel, Dior and many more, you are stepping in style.

Remember the baby doll dresses of old? They are old no more. Big in the 1990s, they are big again as seen at Molly Goddard and Sandy Liang, with puff sleeves and full skirt. They are not for 16-year-olds and under, but for housewives as well.

Perhaps rock stars will go for the trend and again those high thigh boots will help. They keep getting higher and higher to accommodate dresses slit thigh-high in the front.

Bright colours are the trend after a dreary coronavirus hiatus. Illuminating red is joyful and hopeful. A key colour seen at Versace, Dolce & Gabbana in jackets and coats. Greens are also in, with nuances of verdant grass to sober olive.

While the pink fuschia still holds its own, the Colour House of Panetone, which dictates the season’s colours, prefers lavender or what they call “very Peri”. It is a bluish-purple hue, which derives its name from the periwinkle herb which bears flowers of this perfect violet/blue combination. The herb was used in olden days to sooth pain. It still possesses this power.

If you do not have sculpted eyebrows, so what? Just overline your lips, which in the past was a big no-no. Who can use purple blush and look normal? That is what makeup experts recommend.

Glitter, glitter everywhere, corsets, shoes (make them platform high), jackets and even coats. Your biker jacket, in leather of course, can be worn on a ball gown for casual warmth.

If you have a long scarf, wear it around your neck, casually. It will dress up any outfit.

Your tote bag will do, be it canvas or leather. Glittery ones are also available in all sizes.

If nothing else a leather item or a faux fur coat, or even a collar will do.

Accessorise with jewellery, bags, shoes, and metallic.

If you dare, try a school girl outfit, or a flirty baby doll. You will get stares of admiration from some — maybe shocks from others.

What do you care? Dress for yourself. Happy days are here again — in Egypt.

“Fashion condemns us to so many follies; the greatest is to make oneself its slave.”

 Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821)

*A version of this article appears in print in the 3 November, 2022 edition of Al-Ahram Weekly.

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