And the two elegant fashionably creative ladies clad in the traditionally modern abayat, with their heads held high, walked the ramp with their showstopper model. As the grand Eiffel tower stood witness, Dar Naseem Al Andalous made Bahrain proud as they launched their Haute Couture Fall Winter 2014/15 collection in The J Autumn Fashion Show, onto the world’s newest catwalk at the fashion capital on October 31st, 2014. Straight from the ramp of pride, we had the mother-daughter designer duo, the face of the brand; give Bahrain This Week an exclusive look into their unique collections and the journey so far.
Opening the lanes of memorable past, Ms. Nabila AlAissaoui, the Design Director and mother of the Creative Director Ms. Hayaa AlFadhel, remembered the flair for handmade creations that run in her blood line. “My mother and her sister made all the dresses that were required during my wedding. It was never a business for them but definitely was their passion. ” Even though coming from an educational background of being an electrical engineer, the fervor for designing apparels and accessories to match them encouraged Ms. Nabila to start on her own. “I saw Hayaa too had good taste for fabrics and designs and we wanted her to do what she really wants.” Ms Nabila continued.
Ms. Hayaa, who had tried her hands on experience in Architectural Engineering, soon found her real interest lying in apparel designs and is now doing her fashion designing course at the Royal University for Women. “Since my childhood I had a life around sewing machines, fabrics and threads. And I used to think it was the same in all homes.” Hayaa chimes in. “My grandmother used to send heavily designed authentic Jalebiyas from Morocco to my mother. But the type of traditional wears that we have towards this part of the Middle East is very different from there and my mother would always redesign them to fit the style being followed here”. She continues, “She never thought of taking her fine skills with fashion to business. But with the constant support from friends and family, we finally decided to launch our own brand”.
When we asked her about the long and unique name of the brand, Ms. Nabila explained. “I grew up in the North of Morocco across the mesmerizing land of Andalusia. The beauty of the creations at the place is way beyond words and I took those memories with me when I came here. Dar Naseem Al Andalous means Breeze from Andalusia”, Ms. Nabila completes with a smile. Officially launched in 2010, it took till 2012 for the brand to be known outside Bahrain. It was the show in Abu Dhabi that turned the spotlights on Dar Naseem Al Andalous as experts in bridal collections. “The haute couture line that we showcased in Adbudhabi was the runway hit. People liked our idea of mixing the Moroccan and Khaleeji craftsmanship and designs. We still get orders for the ones we showcased during the show.” Ms Hayaa noted. “I still remember our first bride. She was a US lady at the naval base here who bought our designer wear for her wedding back at home. We currently have orders coming in from across the globe, lately from Hongkong as well.”
Ms Hayaa finds her inspiration from the architecture of old buildings that remains as memoirs of our rich past. The Haute Couture Spring Summer 2014 collection from Dar Naseem Al Andalous had the designs inspired from the historical Majorelle Garden in Marrakech city in Morocco. The traditional Moroccan belts are inevitable in almost all ensembles from this brand. The traditional straps are given a trendy touch by the designer duo, using delicate silk threads, hand woven to meet the perfect shape and design. “It is true that fashion changes with time. But traditional designs and styles are eternal. And today’s generation is going back to their roots.” Ms Nabeela noted about the trends in the fashion world. “There was a time when using belts were never fashionable but now they are finding their space in every wardrobe.” Ms Nabeela adds in. “More over it helps enhance the feminine figures.”
Dar Naseem Al Andalous collections are well known for its uniqueness in flattering any woman who wears them. “We don’t design our collections for size zero or for the lean and the tall. Every woman has the right to look beautiful.” says the young designer Ms Hayaa. “We assure that the fabric, its colour, the pattern everything matches the person who wears it. Only then we will be able to achieve the perfection that meets eyes.”
Ms Nabeela gave BTW team an opportunity to have an exclusive look at their stunning collection showcased in Paris. Original Voutton fabric with Swarovski crystal sequences and pearls and The Italian lace works. Hand-woven flowers using pure silk threads all the way from Morocco, Chiffon, Organza, brocade works and more. Each and every entity of the collection is nothing less than luxury and elegance. “It’s really hard to find the right materials. We deal with luxurious fabrics and we care about the quality of our products. We have dealers that provide us fabrics from France, Italy, Turkey and India and our next step is manufacturing our own fabrics and textiles.” Ms Nabila explains the effort behind each collection. “Our hard work is always appreciated by our clients.” Ms Hayaa says with pride. Arab celebrities like Mayssa Maghrabi, Lojain Omran, Nada Fadel, Sabrin Burshaid and Balqees Fathi favored the brand’s unique and lavish designs and were seen dressed in signature pieces in several occasions.
Ms Haya shared the secret behind their unique designs, “Of course, at times I do fight with my mother over designs she had approved. But they will look amazing on the ramp and I have to give it to the experience she carries with her”. Ms Nabila smiles at this and comments “But I do accept when I know am wrong.” From the brand logo to the last thread used in the caftans, everything beams this quality of the sincere hardwork taken by the team. It is no wonder that in a relatively short span of time Dar Naseem AlAndalos proved to be a brand that can compete with international luxury brands.