Dubai: Hend Al Mutawa may just be the only woman to have gotten reality TV star and Dubai's darling Kim Kardashian to cover up her curves.
Having designed an abaya to constrain Kim's free-flowing curves, Hend is still unable to believe that her idol agreed to shed all inhibitions against being fully clothed and agreed to wear the traditional black robe that defines the Emirati culture.
After all, this is the woman whose "leaked" sex tape shot her to overnight stardom. That and her reality show, of course. So it's a really big deal that Kim agreed to don the abaya and pose for the cameras in this loose, free-flowing robe that hid every single asset the TV star worked so hard to flaunt.
In fact, it was such a shocker, not just to the celebrity-hungry paparazzi-loving types, but to the 23-year-old designer herself, that she couldn't resist saying that she was "surprised at first, but so delighted that Kim actually went out wearing my design! The abaya was a gift. I wanted her to have a taste of our culture". Although well aware that Kim comes from a culture far removed from her own, Hend was insistent that her idol understand the fashion of the land and, more importantly, partake in its fashion.
"Giving her an abaya meant a lot to me. But an abaya that I designed for a woman that I love and watch on TV regularly, takes everything to a new level," says the founder and designer of Nabrman Fashion & Designs, a boutique in Jumeirah. In keeping with the hype surrounding Kim's luscious figure 8, did the Emirati designer create an abaya that would over or underplay those notorious curves?
Surprisingly, it was the latter. Hend's design for Kim was long and loose. Try as we may, not a glimpse of shape was visible, even to the most discerning eye. "I wanted her to be in an abaya that matched her personality. I see Kim as a simple, dignified and elegant woman. The abaya she would wear had to match that criteria," says Hend. The result was a black chiffon robe embellished with Swarovski crystals. It's stylish yet dramatically understated at the same time, reflecting the person Hend believes Kim to be.
Despite its simplicity, creating the perfect robe was no mean feat. It took Hend over a month to get every nuance and detail just right. The obviously loose fit was intentional. "An abaya is not meant to be tight. It's a dress that represents our culture. While conservatism is high on our list of priorities, it doesn't mean that it can't have elements of modernity to it," says the designer. "Embellishing the abaya with Swarovski shows that this is a woman of style and substance. When I came up with the final design, I had already spent hours taking Kim's dress sense into account. I was familiar with the kind of clothes she wears and imagined an abaya that would flow easily over all those dresses."
Maybe that explains the lack of figure-hugging details that Kim's clothes are notorious for.
And yet, despite it all, Kim went ahead and did the unimaginable. She covered up. Just the way Hend wanted her to. Giving the world a glimpse of the Kim that, thus far, existed only in the designer's mind.