latifa at talent show at MOFT in dubai and in metaverse
Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum (second from right) attended the show at Museum of the Future, marking Italian fashion and design school Istituto Marangoni’s Middle Eastern debut in Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and Member of the Dubai Council, has attended a unique talent show at the landmark Museum of the Future (MOTF), marking Italian fashion and design school Istituto Marangoni’s Middle Eastern debut in Dubai.

The innovative concept blended the physical fashion show at the MOTF with digital catwalks in the metaverse, showcasing the creations of five top students of Istituto Marangoni Fashion Design Courses. The talent show took place simultaneously at The Museum of the Future and in the metaverse. Real-life models were joined on the catwalk by their avatars, resulting in a unique event that combined tradition with innovation and where reality and virtual reality coexisted.

Located in Gate 8 at the Dubai International Financial Centre, Istituto Marangoni Dubai offers undergraduate and professional courses in Fashion, Interior Design, Product Design and Visual Design.

latifa bint mohammed at show at MOFT in dubai
Sheikha Latifa during the event Image Credit: Supplied

Design hub

Sheikha Latifa said: “Istituto Marangoni’s Dubai branch is a valuable addition to the city’s rapidly developing creative and cultural landscape. Its diverse offering will provide creatives in Dubai and the region with the right tools to launch their design careers.”

She added that Dubai had consolidated its status as a global hub for design, one of the primary goals of the Dubai Creative Economy Strategy launched last year by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. In line with the strategy, Dubai Culture works to strengthen the education in the creative fields and, in turn, support the emergence of creative talents within the industry while establishing an ecosystem of creators in the emirate.

“Bringing global institutions with decades of experience in the field of design to the region reinforces our commitment to the sector and to being a cultural and creative hub. We look forward to the incredible talent that will graduate from the Dubai-based institute in the forthcoming years,” said Sheikha Latifa.

Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, said: “It gives me great joy to welcome a globally renowned fashion and design school to Dubai. I see a great partnership in the making where the UAE and other MENA countries will have the advantage of a world-class design school while Istituto Marangoni will benefit from the untapped talent waiting to be harnessed.”

She added: “The UAE is making waves in the creative space and building an ecosystem for future generations to contribute effectively to the creative economy. We are focusing on developing our cultural and creative industries to make them a more significant part of the UAE’s economy. We believe nurturing talent is critical to developing the creative sector, and Istituto Marangoni will play an important role in achieving that. Imparting world-class education and specialised skills to our youth will boost their creative energy and support emerging talent.”

Showcasing talent

Stefania Valenti, managing director of Istituto Marangoni, said: “It’s an honour to celebrate the opening of Istituto Marangoni Dubai at the Museum of the Future with the warm endorsement of [Sheikha Latifa] and [Noura Al Kaabi], and in this museum where our immersive experience found its perfect space.”

With this launch, Dubai joins the ranks of other world fashion capitals, including Milano, Firenze, Paris, London, Mumbai, Shanghai, Shenzhen and Miami, that host an Istituto Marangoni school. Valenti said that with qualified professional staff from Italy and an innovative “learning by doing” approach, students at Istituto Marangoni Dubai will gain the skills to translate their passion and talent into successful careers.

“Today’s event showcases what Istituto Marangoni students can achieve. With the opening of our school in Dubai, we are offering local aspiring fashion and interior designers the opportunity to acquire the skills and knowledge required to kickstart their careers. Istituto Marangoni is committed to playing an active role in the Middle East to encourage a new ecosystem of talent, institutions, stakeholders and industries. We hope to contribute to fostering a new generation of fashion designers in the region, with special attention to empowering women in their aspirational field of interest, be it fashion, design or arts,” said Valenti.

The catwalk featured the works of the five top graduates of Istituto Marangoni’s Milan, Florence, Paris, London and Shanghai fashion design courses. The show’s grand finale saw luxury fashion designer and Istituto Marangoni’s famous alum Rahul Mishra display his work. The first Indian designer to showcase at the Paris Haute Couture Week, Mishra paid homage to his alma mater by bringing on the catwalk some of his creations that blend traditional Indian designs with modern luxury fashion trends in a “sustainable, ethical, ‘slow fashion’ approach”.