HOUSE OF MUAMUA during the Arab Fashion Week taking place aboard the Queen Elizabeth 2 cruise liner in Port Rashid, Dubai. Image Credit: Antonin Kélian Kallouche/Gulf News

Although things were clearly running over an hour behind schedule, the Queen Elizabeth 2 set a majestic backdrop for Arab Fashion Week this year.

The opening night of the four-day event drew in the designer names (we spotted Saudi Arabia’s Arwa Al Ammari in the second row), along with Dubai’s top socialites, influencers and fashionistas who were teetering on their high heels as they made their way up the gangplank to take their seats on deck 5 of the grand old lady.

The opening night unspooled with well enough drama and delicate countenances to ensure the next couple of days of fashion week will present a lot more in terms of excitement.

Amato Couture cruises in

The hotly anticipated show of the night was Furne One’s capsule cruise collection for Amato Couture.

Opening AFW with Dubai’s who’s who elbowing their way into the front rows (we had several), the off-white line was a fun and feminine homage to glamour from the 90s.

Intricate beadwork, Swarovski crystals, capes and feathers trailed behind the glamorous models, forcing many of the city’s fashionistas to reel their stilettos in lest they rip up the stylish soiree.

Off-white is the clear winner of fall 2018, making recurrent appearances on the fashion runways of New York, Paris and Milan. Even the recently concluded Met Gala saw model and fashionista Kendall Jenner channel that into the Heavenly Body theme of the night. While we’re still on the fence on whether that actually worked for Jenner, Amato Coutre rarely ever fails to impress.

The collection is bound to do the circles at Dubai fashion soirees over the coming months.

Tatiana V Layalina plays up the feminine

Bubblegum pink, cupcakes, ruffles and even a teddy bear spelt out the very feminine Dolce Vita line by Tatiana V Layalina.

The Dubai-based fashion house brought their resort collection to the Queen Elizabeth 2 in a burst of colours, which was a vast contrast from Amato Couture’s cruise line. Tatiana explained the inspiration behind her collection was Marie Antoinette, a woman in history who spelt luxury and fashion.

Speaking to us through a translator, Tatiana said the work on the collection started in January for her debut Dubai show. “I’ve been shuttling between Moscow and Dubai for the past 10 years, and I hope I can now conquer this city with my fashion.”

The young design house also presented stunning, handmade shoes on the catwalk, which, we are told, took all of four days to put together these 20-odd pairs.

Marina Ross, who specially designed the shoes for the fashion event, revealed the main inspiration behind the line was Tatiana herself, representing the feminine spirit.

Mua Mua must-haves

After debuting at AFW in Dubai last year, the young, playful brand from Bali has been going places. Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld himself snapped up 700 of their Mua Mua dolls to be retailed across their stores in Europe, while the demand for their funk pop take on Arab fashion even drew them to the runways of Riyadh last month.

The collection by designer Ludovica Virga is so young — three months she tells us — that the hectic schedules hasn’t give her much time to give it an official name as yet. However, the style and the colours spell out fun, fun, fun for the summer.

Kaftans, flowing robes, glitter, sequence and frills, nothing was left behind to make this collection spell out summer fashion in big bold colours. But few know that the style statements are rooting for a charitable campaign as well.

“We are still a young brand, only here today because of Karl’s faith in me,” Virga tells us. “We started out with the Mua Mua crochet dolls to raise money for the islanders of Bali, my home for the past 15 years. But now, with this new collection of mine, we are trying to create awareness about plastic waste.

“Our beaches back home are littered with plastic and there is no government initiative as such to recycle there. Which is why proceeds from sales are given to a private company that collects the plastic and recycles them.”

We see big things for the brand, especially the playful handbags that Virga has also recently ventured into.