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Author Topic: Out of public eye, Arab women power haute couture  (Read 1008 times)
jannah
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« on: Dec 02, 2012 09:36 AM »


Wowz! I did read the royal houses of the arabs are the one's keeping these haute couture places in business! Really sad actually. Especially when they hate Muslims so much!!

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Out of public eye, Arab women power haute couture


 (Reuters) - They are rarely spotted on the front row of a fashion show and favor discretion when placing orders, yet women from the Middle East have become the world's biggest buyers of high fashion.

The trend may surprise given that many Arab women, particularly in the Gulf region, are traditionally kept under wraps.

But their social calendar, which usually consists of 15-20 weddings a year and private parties every month, creates much bigger demand for couture than the occasional charity ball and high society party in Europe and in North America.

And wearing the same dress twice is not an option.

Traditional buyers of exclusive designer clothes tend to include members of rich industrial or royal families and expatriates.

The biggest buyers of haute couture today center around the Gulf -- Saudis, Kuwaitis, Qataris and nationals of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) who do not hesitate to spend 50,000 euros on a low-cleavage lame for an event where no men will be present.

"All the royal families of the Middle East are our customers," Catherine Riviere, head of haute couture at Christian Dior, told Reuters at the brand's show at Paris Fashion Week which ends on Wednesday.

Middle Eastern customers have also recently shown growing support for Lebanese designers such as Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad.

Fashion executives say the Middle East is likely to remain the top couture client for the foreseeable future if the economic environment deteriorates in Europe and North America.

The luxury goods industry has not yet been hit by the global slowdown but many analysts fear it will not come out of the downturn unscathed, particularly if China's growth starts to slow down.

"Women from the Middle East are our top buyers and they are likely to remain so,"
said Jeffry Aronsson, who became chief executive of Emanuel Ungaro three months ago, having run Donna Karan, Oscar de la Renta and Marc Jacobs in the past.

UNIQUE, EXTRAVAGANT AND CHIC

Reem, the daughter of a major construction tycoon in the Middle East, spends much of her time flitting between Paris, London, Dubai and Beirut and is a regular buyer of couture. She has also started to design some of her own jewelry.

"I want to be different from others," she said in an interview at her Paris flat in the leafy 16th arrondissement, asking to be identified only by her first name.

"What I want is unique pieces, extravagant and chic. I do not want to pay 5,000 or 6,000 euros for a dress, as it happened to me with a Pucci outfit recently, and see it on somebody else the same evening."

Generally at weddings in Gulf countries, men and women are split into two separate groups, attendees say. Thousands of women gather together in one big ball room -- all wearing haute couture -- and some are not afraid to wear provocative and revealing outfits.

"Some women go for deep cleavage or even transparent fabrics," said Reem, who regularly attends such weddings and buys between 30-40 designer dresses a year. At a royal wedding, the dress code calls for more restraint in terms of style, neckline and hemline.

Valued at 700 million euros ($930 million), designer clothing is by far the biggest segment of the luxury goods industry representing 42 percent of overall luxury goods sales in the UAE, the biggest buyer among Gulf states, with women's designer dresses and skirts leading the way, Euromonitor International said in a report published in June.

"For us, with China, the Middle East is the market that is growing the fastest," Hermes Chief Executive Patrick Thomas told Reuters at Paris Fashion Week. "These markets for a long time preferred a more ostentatious type of luxury and now want a more refined and discreet style," he added.

Thomas said the Middle East only started to pick up strongly two to three years ago and now generates 30-35 percent in annual sales growth a year.

For Dior, Chanel, Valentino, Stephane Rolland and other luxury labels favored by affluent Middle Eastern women, the biggest challenge is keeping a detailed track record of who buys what, to avoid selling the same dress to members of the same circles, attending the same event.

"A good retailer must know the whole family of the buyer and ask her as many questions as possible as we are not allowed to make mistakes," said a Dior sales assistant based in Western Europe, specializing in the brand's Middle Eastern clientele.

Very often, the race was on for the most expensive dress, not for the most elegant or stylish, she said, declining to be named.

With weddings lasting three, and sometimes up to seven, days, each client needs at least 5-10 different outfits -- good news for fashion companies but complicated to keep track of.

"Of course, we cannot centralize everything but we try," said the Dior sales assistant.

STATUS AND SUCCESS

For Middle Eastern women, couture is a symbol of social status and success. At parties and weddings, they want to shine and impress potential mothers-in-law scouting for eligible brides.

Fashion experts say Middle Eastern women opt for dresses which use a lot of crystals, gems or heavily embroidered and embellished fabrics.

"I had the opportunity to see a wedding that was recently held here in Dubai. 4,000 women were invited to the reception and everybody in the room was wearing haute couture,
" said Simon Lock, who works as creative director for Dubai Fashion Week. "And there are lots and lots of weddings to attend. The wedding season is very expensive here.

"I have known of many occasions when a couturier will be invited to a private home for a showing. The hostess will buy maybe 20, 30 couture outfits for a season," says Lock, adding that prices start at $3,000 and can reach $75,000. A Dior wedding dress can fetch $1 million.

Dior, Chanel and many other major luxury brands also stage private shows at hotels in the Middle East or in the comfort of the home of their most regular customers.

"Royal families are our buyers," said Dubai-based fashion designer Rabia Z. "They will call us for an appointment and we go as often as they ask us to come. They love the fact that we give them the option of changing the color, or making it shorter or longer."

But many prefer to fly to Paris, Milan or London than shop locally so they can have more choice and see up-to-date collections, fashion insiders say.

The shopping season usually starts in Italy in June. In July and August, it tends to concentrate around the Riviera, where many Gulf women spend holidays, and it finishes in September in Paris and London.

CENTRES OF GROWTH

Qatar, the world's richest nation per capita, is one of the few economies in the world enjoying strong economic growth with a GDP growth forecast of 19 percent for this year, according to analysts.

Qatar is organizing its first fashion week with a target date of March 2012. One of the biggest supporters of the fashion event is Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser al-Missned, the glamorous wife of the emir of Qatar who regularly features in Gulf tabloids along with Queen Rania of Jordan.

Sheikha Mozah -- regarded as one of the world's biggest buyers of couture, according to fashion experts -- is also behind the creation of the Qatar Luxury Group in 2008. Based in Doha, it hired designer Stephane Rolland to create a fashion brand from scratch that it is aiming to unveil next spring.

The secretive group, financially supported by the Qatar Foundation the Sheikha created, made its first acquisition this year when it snapped up Paris-listed leather goods maker Le Tanneur for 26 million euros, and is on the lookout for more European brands.

The group is headed by Gregory Couillard, a former executive at the world's biggest luxury group LVMH, which owns Dior and Louis Vuitton. Couillard declined several requests for an interview.

($1 = 0.753 Euros)
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 02, 2012 10:38 AM »

This Simon Lock dude had the opportunity to see the women's section of a wedding?Huh? And some of these women wear 'deep cleavage' and  or 'transparent fabric'

It happens rarely, but words fail me. And I'm not even going to talk about the waste of money over dresses that will apparently only be worn ONCE, when neighbouring countries are being bombed to oblivion & could do with less than a cost of a dress to help rebuild their infrastructure.

Subhanallah

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 02, 2012 04:56 PM »

Such a wastage!!Sad indeed.

And all this for dresses with little quantity of actual cloth in it? Tongue

May Allah grant them hidayah.It is very disappointing to know that they actually are our fellow muslims who are indulging in such a show off.
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« Reply #3 on: Dec 02, 2012 11:04 PM »

I find this so disappointing - but then again that entire suppressed pampered Gulf culture is so counter-productive, women have nothing to do but go to weddings and dress up and get married. Even the way kids are brought up is so unhealthy - all video games and toys, no outdoors nor any kind of productive recreation.

At my school we're constantly talking about sustainability - and in the end, I came to the conclusion that Islam offers (of course!  Smiley ) , that it all depends on us, the individuals, living with what we need, rather than being ostentatious. Zuhd anyone?
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 03, 2012 10:40 AM »

Well let's admit that if we had the money we might splurge on a few designer gowns and accessories non?!! But 30 per season.... is pretty wow. And supporting the entire haute couture industry!! One of the fashion mavens over there should start the re-wear trend like Michelle Obama or Kate. It might catch on?
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« Reply #5 on: Dec 03, 2012 01:55 PM »

I actually wouldn't buy designer.

It's a personal thing, but I have strong moral objections against ALL the couture houses.

On the other hand I prefer pj's to wear around the house and I very rarely attend functions if at all as I do not like being around people.

If I had silly money, there's a lot more I could think of doing with it before buying clothes costing hundreds of thousands. Having lived in two extremes of the economic spectrum I just personally could not now jusitfy it to myself, never mind answering for it in the hereafter.

Perhaps when I was younger and dafter, but not now

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 03, 2012 05:36 PM »

Wasalam

am with Fozia on this one...could not justify spending that amount of $$$ on a dress. period.  I like nice things, we all do.  They dont have to have a designer label to be nice, and they dont have to cost a fortune...growing up, everyone wore designer jeans and shoes, and it was just not a priority for me (maybe also because my mom refused to buy the designer labels from the start!  Cheesy)

the whole principle behind this is just suspect: WHY are these women buying these gowns? When I think of it that way, maybe it opens up a whole new discussion?  Why would you want to buy the one and only Versace gown? Surely not only because it is beautiful...You would want it because nobody else could get it, because it was the one and only, because everyone would envy that you had the one and only, because everyone would know how much $$$ you had to be able to get the gown etc etc... see what I mean?  Not just the gown, but the intentions behind...its whats wrong with the whole culture really...

That just aint me, but I am not saying dont go out and buy every designer gown you can afford if it makes you happy. 
Just my 2 pfennig
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« Reply #7 on: Dec 04, 2012 08:50 AM »

wsalam,

lol I do wish we could wear pajamas around everywhere!! life would be so much more comfortable.  alarm  i think like all things there needs to be a moderate view. somewhere between pajamas and versace!! we have to admit nice things, especially quality things that look nice are $$$! some people, even poor people, spend this on their houses or cars or clothes can we judge them and say they should instead be giving all their money to the poor ummah. i think each person has to make this decision for themselves. the best lithmus test is probably thinking about how you would justify/explain yourself in front of Allah for how you spent/used your money.
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« Reply #8 on: Dec 04, 2012 09:31 AM »

i found something related and disturbing....

http://www.emirates247.com/news/region/in-saudi-who-is-to-blame-for-high-divorce-rates-2012-03-20-1.449351
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« Reply #9 on: Dec 04, 2012 10:01 AM »

I'm thinking out loud here.

I've often found that I really really really want something and usually it is ridiculously expensive and specialised. I want it really badly, then when I get it, it is flung aside and ignored after the initial euphoria.

Perosnally for me now, I don't think I would go there. I know myself too well, I would buy a wardrobe full of Louboutins and not give them a second glance after taking them out of the box, as walking barefeet is far more comfortable (for me)!

I have a test for myself. How much will I use this thing, and mostly its prolly not much at all once I have it. So I don't buy it (this is very easy when when the other option is buy it and starve till payday).

I completely agree you have to have nice things and comfort. But I can't bear reading about these women and their only to wear once clothes when their neighbours are undergoing so much hardship. It makes me feel like I have a huge hole in the pit of my stomach. The ridiculous thing reading this article is, I bet if one of them went and bought a dress from Zara/monsoon or something they'd be the only one wearing that dress and be unique! All for a fraction of what they are spending now.

The older I get the firmer my belief, that everyone should go out and work for a wage, they will then at least perhaps learn the value of the roof over their heads and the clothes on their backs.


I do love PJ's I have a drawer full, a certain sis usually knows when I drop by her house wearing PJ's as I keep my abaya on, she pretty much goes, oh don't mind her she's wearing PJ's so she wont take her abaya off. Reason 18373056649 why I like wearing abayas! :p

I recognise this is not a practical or sensible approach to dressing. I'm not judging anyone who wants to buy beautiful clothes that's fine and good even, you should look gorgeous for your husbands/yourselves/for Allah to show your grateful, but buying a dress that costs the amount of the national debt for one wear is beyond my comprehension. A dress that comes with the above price tag needs to be worn till it falls apart, then you take the rags and sew a dress for your kids and then you use the rags after that for cleaning floors and wiping up spills, you use it till it disappears. NOT JUST ONCE.

On the other hand can anyone imagine what the second hand shops must be like in these places?

And when My servants question thee concerning Me, then surely I am nigh. I answer the prayer of the suppliant when he crieth unto Me. So let them hear My call and let them trust in Me, in order that they may be led aright. Surah 2  Verse 186
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« Reply #10 on: Dec 04, 2012 01:18 PM »

lolll sr fozia  Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy Cheesy
some of my childhood clothes that didn't even cost that much were serving the family till recently. From me to brother to cousin to other cousin to other cousin to the nth cousin. A few of mine and bro's are tucked away in trunks waiting for my kids to fit into them!!! wow! we know some resource management  Tongue
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« Reply #11 on: Dec 04, 2012 07:49 PM »

Wasalam

the whole principle behind this is just suspect: WHY are these women buying these gowns? When I think of it that way, maybe it opens up a whole new discussion?  Why would you want to buy the one and only Versace gown? Surely not only because it is beautiful...You would want it because nobody else could get it, because it was the one and only, because everyone would envy that you had the one and only, because everyone would know how much $$$ you had to be able to get the gown etc etc... see what I mean?  Not just the gown, but the intentions behind...its whats wrong with the whole culture really...


Agree completely with Sr Shahida's comment.  Ain't nothing wrong with buying nice clothes if you have the money but one wear for something exclusive that no other person has which costs mega $$$?  That does not sit well with me.  I don't know much about middle eastern Gulf culture but from what I've read, it strikes me as rather shallow and taking the worst aspects of Western culture e.g. materialism.  And maybe I'm a prissy South Asian, but wearing cleavage showing clothes at weddings?  WHY?  Especially in front of other women??  ain't nobody there to impress with that!  lol.  I remember a friend of mine forgot to wear her dupatta draped over her chest and her mom flipped out.  I also forgot and got a death glare   niqabisis

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