Dubai: Fashion of all shades was celebrated on Thursday night at the inaugural Vogue Dubai Fashion Experience, with shows, special offers for shoppers, a charity gala and some of the world's top fashion celebrities.
Naomi Campbell, Roberto Cavalli, Karolina Kurkova, Maya Diab and Dean and Dan Caten sat front row at a fashion show on Dubai Mall's catwalk, casting their eye over the work of eight designers mentored by Franca Sozzani, editor in chief of Vogue Italia and one of the drivers behind the event.
"It's such a pleasure to be here," said Sozzani to an audience of Dubai fashion insiders and hundreds of mall visitors viewing from the gallery above. "This is the start of a big moment. Thank you to all the fashion designers and celebrities for being here to share this moment."
Designers included Wadah Al Hajri from Qatar, Mohammad Ashi from Saudi Arabia who brought his Ashi Studio, Razan Alazzouni from Saudi Arabia, Lulwa Al Amin from Bahrain, Ituen Basi from Nigeria, Andrea Incontri from Italy, Esme Vie from Russia and Simone Rocha, the daughter of famed Irish designer John Rocha. There were no Emirati designers.
Kurkova and a Balmain-clad Diab both named Saudi Ashi Studio as one of their favourites.
"I liked Ashi studio, Simone and Basi but they were all amazing,” said Czech model Kurkova, checking her notes.
"I thought it was a great show and nice for people in Dubai to experience a true fashon show,” Cavalii, who celebrated his wife Eva's birthday the night before at his Dubai club, said.
Donatella Versace was mobbed by hundreds of fans as she visited her brand's three stores in the mall, taking one of the electric "taxis" in between, while Bollywood actress and self-decribed "shopaholic" Shilpa Shetty was the guest of honour at an event celebrating shoes at Level Shoe District.
Shetty told Gulf News shopping was her "biggest stress buster".
"I am here to do what I do best. Shop,” said Shetty, the mother to 17-month-old Viaan. “These days I enjoy shopping for my son. They have such cute stuff that you don't always need but love."
The Life In A ... Metro star who gained instant stardom globally after a racism row in reality show Celebrity Big Brother is currently enjoying a self-imposed sabbatical from films.
"It's a choice I have made and I don't regret it," said Shetty, before guests at the private event were entertained by West End dancers.
By 9pm the mall was teeming with shoppers, many dressed up extravagantly for a night of standing out against families enjoying the start of the Eid holidays.
Symone Kayyem, a visitor and a lover of all things fashion, said: "Such events shine a light on new designers. We already know the established names, so it was great to see what's out there."
Later the stars had moved onto the Armani hotel in the Burj Khalifa for a change into eveningwear and a gala fundraiser for Dubai Cares.