The Moiré dress. Photo: Courtesy of Noura Sulaiman
With Halsey’s upcoming film, Noura Sulaiman has become one of the first few Saudi designers to have their creations featured in a large-scale Hollywood production.
The luxury ready-to-wear designer’s dress can be seen on the official poster of the star’s highly-anticipated feature film. Titled If I Can’t Have Love, I Want Power, the movie explores the themes of pregnancy and childbirth, marking award-winning singer Halsey’s debut as a scriptwriter and lead actor. Set to release at select cinemas on August 3, it also features music from her forthcoming album of the same name.
Noura Sulaiman. Photo: Supplied
Sulaiman’s Moiré dress, from the designer’s debut collection, was selected for the feature film by LA-based celebrity stylist and image architect, Law Roach. “This dress has always been an extremely special piece for me because it represented that moment when I could share my baby’s arrival with the world,” said Sulaiman. “To have it selected by Law Roach and have it worn by Halsey, at a time she was pregnant, for her first-ever feature film which explores the theme of childbirth, is a real privilege.” She continued, “It is an honor to have a piece from my debut collection selected for this opportunity, and to be able to represent Saudi fashion on a global scale.”
The Moiré dress. Photo: Courtesy of Noura Sulaiman
The dress, crafted from ivory moiré fabric, is emblematic of Sulaiman’s affinity for blending classical, quintessential feminine cuts with artful, architectural details. Featuring a clean, A-line silhouette accentuated by an off-shoulder neckline and cascading Russian tulle sleeves, Sulaiman had initially designed the Moiré dress to wear to her own baby’s reception. However, due to popular demand, she decided to include the piece within her debut collection. The dress has been featured alongside the designs of international fashion heavyweights such as Vivienne Westwood within the movie.
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The Moiré dress. Photo: Courtesy of Noura Sulaiman
Noura wears Sunlight Earrings, Sunlight Pendant, Piaget; Aseel wears Sunlight Earrings, Limelight Gala Watch, Piaget; all clothing, Noura Sulaiman. Photographed by Taha Bagel
Piaget opens a new chapter by introducing automatic movement for the first time in its history in the Limelight Gala collection. It is made for all women all over the world, including courageous, powerful, successful, independent creatives and inspirators. Here, two sisters, Aseel Al Hamad and Noura Sulaiman, dazzle in the latest creations of Piaget’s Limelight Gala and Sunlight collections.
Aseel Al Hamad
Possession Earrings, Possession Pendant, Possession Ring, Possession Open Bangle Bracelet, Sunlight Ring, Winter Sun Watch, Piaget; all clothing, Noura Sulaiman. Photographed by Taha Bagel
Intelligent, passionate, and graceful is how one would describe Aseel Al Hamad. An inspiration in her own right, there’s nothing she cannot do. Since graduating from Prince Sultan University in 2009 with a degree in interior design engineering, Al Hamad embarked on her career as an interior designer and established her firm IDegree Design. Over the years, her firm has worked on major residential and commercial projects all over Saudi Arabia.
Art and science are where Al Hamad’s initial interest in interior design stemmed from. It’s also where her passion for cars came from. “The combination of design and technology” is what she calls it. When asked what inspired her to set up her own company, the designer says, “Entrepreneurship connects a lot with me because it’s all about creativity, and being open to opportunities. I was always driven by the idea of being independent and creating my own future.” Although Al Hamad makes being a business owner look easy, it is no unchallenging task. “The biggest challenge can be to be flexible to fail at any time because being a business owner is risky,” she says. “It needs constant motivation and courage to keep moving forward. People who do not have courage might easily quit, so you must have confidence in your knowledge.”
Sunlight Earrings, Sunlight Pendants, Limelight Gala Watch, Possession Open Bangle Bracelets, Sunlight Ring, Piaget; all clothing, Noura Sulaiman. Photographed by Taha Bagel
Like Piaget, Al Hamad references natural elements like sunlight in her designs. “The more we take advantage of daylight, the brighter a space is with natural light sources and less of artificial ones.” The designer also recalls one of her designs where she created a sunroom in the middle of a villa that complemented the daytime and the beautiful night sky. She says, “This sunroom made a big difference, by relying less on artificial lights during the day, and reducing energy consumption. At night, the space looked totally different.”
Besides elemental influences, Al Hamad cites the iconic architect Zaha Hadid as an inspiration. The Saudi interior designer learns from the challenges that Hadid faced in the industry. “Zaha not only designed remarkably beautiful buildings around the world, but, because of her artistic background, she also created a new architectural design school by thinking out of the box,” says Al Hamad.
When asked about the next steps in her design career, Al Hamad revealed that she is gradually moving towards hospitality design. “I am looking forward to specializing more and more into hospitality design and looking forward to designing iconic projects in Saudi Arabia and hopefully win international design awards,” she says.
The designer also feels a sense of joy in seeing her projects come to life. Further down the line, Al Hamad says that she hopes to accomplish many projects internationally and hopes to leave an artistic mark in this world.
Sunlight Earrings, Sunlight Pendant, Limelight Gala Watch, Possession Open Bangle Bracelets, Piaget; all clothing, Noura Sulaiman. Photographed by Taha Bagel
Noura Sulaiman is on a mission to bring Saudi style to the forefront of international fashion. The designer launched her eponymous label to represent her dedication to fashion design as it reflects on her reverence towards her rich culture. The Riyadh-based designer’s tryst with fashion design began at the age of 12 when she designed her first dress for a cousin’s wedding. Ever since then, it was no turning back for the trailblazing designer. In 2011, Sulaiman graduated from the Riyadh Art and Skills Institute’s fashion design program and embarked on her career, creating abayas and dresses for friends and family.
She saw the need to incorporate sustainability and practicality in her designs to meet the demands of modern life. When asked how her approach to design has shifted over the years, she says, “My approach to design used to be driven by the alluring messiness of creativity, but with experience, I have found a balance by adding organizational and productive skills to my creativity.” The next step for her label is to launch internationally. “I hope to take the Saudi fashion, such as farwas and sudairyas, to other countries and cultures,” she says. In addition to launching internationally, Sulaiman also hopes to create timeless pieces that appeal to the modern Saudi man.
Possession Pendant, Possession Open Bangle Bracelets, Possession Watch, Piaget; all clothing, Noura Sulaiman. Photographed by Taha Bagel
Sulaiman’s source of inspiration is a rather sentimental one, as she cites her daughter. She says, “I am inspired by my daughter in wanting to show her that she can follow whichever path that brings her joy, as fashion design does for me.” Confident, elegant, and unbothered by trends is how the designer views the Noura Sulaiman woman. An equally important inspiration for Sulaiman is the strong fashion sense and powerful sense of self Saudi men and women exude. She actively listens to feedback from clients on designs to inspire her future collections.
She also describes the international buzz around Saudi’s burgeoning design community as “exciting and humbling,” and commends the Saudi design community for their immense talent and creativity.
Noura wears Sunlight Earrings, Sunlight Pendant, Limelight Gala Watch, Possession Open Bangle Bracelets, Sunlight Rings, Piaget; Aseel wears Sunlight Earrings, Sunlight Pendant, Possession Ring, Limelight Gala Watch, Piaget; all clothing, Noura Sulaiman. Photographed by Taha Bagel
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Photography: Taha Baageel Hair: Tarek Akel Makeup: Tilda Production: Specter Productions Creative direction: Camilla Fitz-Patrick
Saudi designer Noura Sulaiman launches her refined ready-to-wear brand this month.
Noura Sulaiman beams as she recalls the first dress she ever made. “It was a blush pink, long tail dress made with a special headpiece that I designed using fresh baby roses.” If her design acumen has matured since the dress she made at 12 years old, it still carries airs of purity and joy.
With the support of her family, including interior designer sister Aseel Al-Hamad, who is always spotted in her designs, but particularly her mother (“Her smile could last for days and this gave me so much confidence, allowing me to fully tap into my own creative freedom”), Sulaiman enrolled at the Arts and Skills Institute in Riyadh, earning a degree in fashion design. Over time, Sulaiman developed a fondness for elegant, chic, and timeless designs. Long, regal silhouettes, modest and precise tailoring as seen in abayas, vests, and dresses from the Middle East are her particular forte. Meanwhile, the grace and welcoming nature of Saudi women is always at the forefront of her mind when putting pencil to paper. As she launches her eponymous brand this month, she reveals that each piece has a sustainable aspect.
Contemporary farwas are designed with faux fur and all-natural fabrics are chosen meticulously from Italy and France to reflect the season. The clothing is crafted in Riyadh and Europe. “I believe in creating long-lasting and high-quality pieces,” she says of her brand that will offer seasonal drops and Ramadan capsules and is retailed through e-commerce.
“We are coming to an era when Saudi women are rising and to me, that is very important. I want my designs to empower and bring joy to such women in our region,” she affirms. Not one to rest on her laurels, she’s focused on future goals. “In five years’ time, I hope for my brand to have gained regional and international recognition; for someone to spot a design and say, ‘This is a Noura Sulaiman dress.’”
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Originally published in the December 2020 Issue of Vogue Arabia