Fall's New Form: Arwa Al Banawi

Laura Beaney

September 14th 2017

I [have] just returned from my summer holiday. I was in one of the most beautiful places on earth – the Amalfi Coast in Italy. I spent a few days in Ravello, a beautiful town upon a hill and then journeyed by boat to Positano, where the pasta was perfect and the sun was just warm enough to get a golden tan. The coast was brimming with life and colour; it was the perfect summer break to get inspired and meet some of the most talented artisans, from ceramic painters to dressmakers and chefs. Since my return, I’ve been crazy [busy] at my studio in d3 as fashion week is just around the corner. Sometimes I’m up until the wee hours from two till six, working on my designs when the late night inspiration kicks in. On regular workdays, I start early checking my emails, orders and production but this never really stops at the weekend. I’m currently working on spring/summer18 and [I’m] very excited about all the activations we’ll be doing on a global scale. I’m also working on a capsule collection that focusses on sportswear in collaboration with a local music artist, which will launch in the autumn. [I believe in] uplifting women and carrying that message in to my collections; the capsule will symbolise [this through] strength and empowerment.

Considering how both travel and music will continue to shape my work for the season ahead, I realise I’ve always been an old soul; growing up I was one of those kids who listened to Miles Davis and Billie Holiday. Don’t get me wrong - I love pop music by Britney Spears and Madonna, but jazz has always been my favourite genre - I love having it on in the background while I sketch or cook. When I travel, I enjoy hitting jazz clubs and my best experience by far was during a recent visit to New York – it was a cool, underground, venue called Mezzrow. Smalls Jazz Club is good too, one of the waiters is an artist and his work is spread across the walls – I actually bought one of his pieces and it’s now displayed in my home office. I’m a traveller and foodie at heart – taking after my mother who’s an amazing artist and chef, and father who’s been collecting art for decades. They both have impeccable style and recently took me to [visit] one of the oldest, luxury bespoke suit makers, Caraceni in Milan. I think the family business has gone through three generations already and it was really inspiring to see the grandfather and his nephew in their studio. Experiences and people like these really inspire me to innovate my brand! As a lover of all expressions of creativity, it thrills me to join forces with emerging musicians and innovative brands. Last season, I worked with one of the most delightful women in town, Layla Kardan. She’s a soul siren and talented songwriter who I collaborated with for her song, The Suitable Woman, which she performed at my autumn/winter17 Fashion Forward presentation. Recently, Layla and I have been hanging out and brainstorming again - she just understands me and my brand – we’re preparing another song and it has been simply awe-inspiring hearing it come together; it encapsulates the woman I wish to be. It’s out soon, so stay tuned 

SENTIMENTS OF THE SEASON

Book to read: Shoe Dog by Phil Knight

Local café to frequent: The Lighthouse in d3. I start with their penne arrabiata and then move on to the Blondie for dessert

Back to work footwear: I’ll be switching between the Adidas EQT and Gucci’s Princetown slipper

Event in the diary: Abu Dhabi Art, Sole DXB and Paris Fashion Week

New season skin saviour: Obagi, Jumeirah. Their cleansing facial is the perfect way to reset the skin after a summer of travel and overexposure.