RIYADH: The Saudi 100 Brands exhibition opened its doors yesterday in New York, displaying the works of 100 Saudi designers that reflect the culture and heritage of the Kingdom through demi-couture, bridal wear, bags, jewelry and much more.
Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud, the Saudi ambassador to the US, inaugurated the opening ceremony of the exhibition with a speech.
“I will tell you that the collections that you see here are inspired by Arabia, but they are made for the world. That is the magic that the Saudi Fashion Commission has brought by bringing the collections to New York, the heart of the fashion world,” she said.
“Creativity is not born in one country. Culture is not defined by a border.
And what you’re about to see is a symbol that has nothing to do with politics, that has nothing to do with governments, but has everything to do with the human spirit.”
The Saudi Fashion Commission, under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture, hosted the exhibition and chose the designers based on the uniqueness and cultural relevance of their pieces.
The fashion exhibition will take place from July 26 to Aug. 7, 2022, at the Iron23 venue in New York.
Among the attendees at the opening ceremony were Venezuelan-American fashion designer Carolina Herrera and Lebanese fashion designer Reem Acra.
The Saudi 100 brand is a global traveling exhibition featuring a curated selection of clothing and accessories from 100 Saudi designers.
The designers were chosen from a pool of 1,500 and finalized into the top 100 based on their pieces.
The exhibition is split into eight categories: ready-to-wear, modest, concept, premiere, demi-couture, bridal, bags and jewelry.
One of the 100 Saudi brands chosen is Loodyana, which was established in Jeddah in 2001 and has been creating pieces for the past 21 years.
The brand is known for its luxurious kaftans and ready-to-wear evening dresses. The designers behind the brand are the Al-Haqbani sisters, born and raised in the Kingdom.
The designers shared that their brand values and design inspirations are rooted in their love for family and the balance women bring to life.
The brand uses intricate embroidery and modern silhouettes to combine traditional and contemporary features together in distinct pieces that reflect the culture of the Kingdom.
“We were so excited to go through a new experience,” Abeer Al-Haqbani, cofounder of Loodyana, told Arab News.
The designer said she was grateful to be one of the Saudi fashion designers chosen to present their work in New York. “We are making history today,” she said.
The Loodyana design highlighted at the exhibition is a black off-the-shoulder dress with a set of embroidered gloves.
“Women are the backbone of the family. Our gown design is the beautiful armor that protects the delicate spirit of the woman inside the dress,” Al-Haqbani said.
The design team shared that they drew inspiration from memories of the family gatherings they had growing up in the Saudi mountains.
The hard outline of the distant mountains is the inspiration behind the A-line shape of the gown design. The mystery created by the darkness of the thick fog enveloping the mountains is reflected in the gray shine of the beaded hand embroidery applied to the fabric,” Al-Haqbani explained.
The cofounder highlighted that the intricate design took over four months to create.
“Just as there is a fragile and delicate allure hidden in the rough-edged mountains and rocky landscape, there is exquisite femininity hidden in the strong silhouette of our dress,” she said.
The designers initially discovered that their brand had been selected for the exhibition when they received an email from Princess Reema and Manuel Arnaut, the editor in chief of Vogue Arabia.
The exhibition will continue throughout the upcoming week and is open to the public. Admission is free, but attendees must request a ticket through the link