Selected as part of Vogue Italia Fashion Talents for Arab Fashion Week in 2019, Nora Al Shaikh talks about her journey as a designer as well as her creative process.
For the Fall/Winter 2017-18 season, I took inspiration from visits to museums and art galleries in Oman, Paris, London and LA over the course of a year. In Muscat, I took in traditional costumes and tools on display at the national museum. While at the Tate Modern, Centre Georges Pompidou and LACMA, I explored the work of contemporary artists and abstract impressionists such as Willem De Kooning, Joan Michell, Helen Frankenthaler and Lee Krasner.
For Spring/Summer 2017, Saudi designer Nora Al Shaikh looked to the South of France, where she spent two weeks sketching her collection, which was also inspired by the images of Louise Dahl-Wolfe, Harper's Bazaar’s groundbreaking photographer, who created Technicolor images of models posing in sun-drenched outdoor settings wearing streamlined clothes by mid-century designers such as Claire McCardell. “There is a modern casual attitude to the way they are dressed that served as the starting point for Spring/Summer 2017,” says the designer who titled her collection La Croisette, after the seaside promenade stretching two miles along the Bay of Cannes. “It’s interesting how seaside cities such as Jeddah, Alexandria, Rio and Beirut all boast a corniche where people go to see and be seen. So I began designing individual looks capturing the spirit of these legendary promenades around the world.”
For our Spring/Summer 2017 look book we teamed up again with Dubai-based The AgenC to work with their talented team, which included photographer Mariah Jelenak, makeup/hair by Annesofie Begtrup and our gorgeous model Anna G. To capture the collection’s chic vacation vibe, we went with long hair this season styled in loose wavy tresses, complimented by light makeup in warm earthy tones. The shoot took place at the 8th St. Studios in Dubai, a space we’ve become very familiar with, where we spent a packed day working together to bring the images to life.
For our Fall/Winter 2016-17 look book we teamed up with Dubai-based The AgenC to put together a team composed of the talented photographer Mariah Jelenak, videographer David Kominek and makeup/hair by Annesofie Begtrup and our gorgeous model Tanya. In keeping with the collections modern relaxed attitude we styled the model in a messy wavy bob (our homage to the ‘90s) and minimal makeup with a striking dark red lip. There was great fun and energy during the shoot at 8th St. Studios in Dubai and the team pulled through with amazing images.
I recently moved my design studio to the cosmopolitan port city of Jeddah overlooking the Red Sea. Serving as a gateway to the Kingdom, for centuries Jeddah has attracted pilgrims and traders from across the globe, resulting in a city of cultural fusions. I wanted to capture the relaxed cosmopolitan atmosphere of the city in this collection. I called my Fall/Winter 2016-17 collection the Empty Quarter, in reference to the legendary swath of Arabian Desert. This is reflected in skirts and dresses with layers of undulating organza and chiffon, recalling sand dunes.
At Nora Al Shaikh, we’ve always been inspired by the worlds of art and design, so we jumped at the chance of creating a unique showcase for our latest collection at Riyadh’s Alāan Artspace. Since its opening a few years ago, it has become a creative hub for art and design in the city, and we look forward to showing in this unique space in the future.