Qatar

Hermès Unveils its Largest One Floor Store in the World at Doha’s Place Vendôme

Hermès Unveils its Largest One Floor Store in the World at Doha’s Place Vendôme

Photo: Xavier Ansart. Courtesy of Hermès
Qatar‘s luxurious shopping destination of Place Vendôme in Doha is now home to Hermès‘ biggest one-floor store in the world. Unveiled today, the sprawling 633 square meter space is abundant with details inspired by the country and its historical landmarks, and materials hand-picked specifically for the store.
Photo: Xavier Ansart. Courtesy of Hermès
The store is set between the desert and the sea, and is flooded with natural light from the double-height windows on the exterior walls, which are complemented by its interiors of marble and stone in cream and white, contrasting with amber and earthy tones. Other rare textures spotted in the store include sculptural waves on the ceiling, made to mirror sand dunes in the nearby inland sea of Khor Al Udaid, while the terrazzo’s hand-laid inserts with marble, mother of pearl, and pearlescent seashells evoke the rock carvings of Al Jassasiya. The store façade itself, with its hand-hewn travertine walls, is reminiscent of the wind-carved limestone rock formations at Ras Abrouq in the Northwest of the country.
Photo: Xavier Ansart. Courtesy of Hermès
Customers will find all 16 métiers of the house, including beauty, homeware, accessories, and more at the store. Designed by Parisian architecture agency RDAI, it features an area dedicated to Hermès‘ much-loved silk pieces, which also serves as the axis of the rest of the store which can be accessed in three directions. Each space, or “universe” as the house dubs it, comes equipped with VIP salons for one-of-a-kind service. To the left, the watch and jewelry métiers are present in two successive intimate salons, and across the equestrian and men’s silk collections are men’s ready-to-wear and accessories. On the right, customers will find a series of rooms going through to the leather goods, and homeware, before arriving at the womenswear universe. Colored in rich amber and honey hues, it features hand-painted embossed wallpaper with palm-frond motifs.
Photo: Xavier Ansart. Courtesy of Hermès
Step outside the store, and customers will be greeted by a private garden that comes alive with lush greenery and flowers selected by Hermès’ in-house perfumer Christine Nagel. Also elevating the store’s uniqueness and grandeur are a number of art pieces that position the new Hermès store as one with the most artworks in the world. Besides the hard-to-miss life-size sculpture of a blue horse by French artist Assan Smati, are artworks from the private collections of the Hermès family, and Wissam Al Mana, managing director of Qatar’s Al Mana Group, which operates Hermès in the Middle East. Among other artwork are earthenware vases by artist Julian Stair, a winged horse by sculptor Christian Renonciat, and repurposed works created by the late Tunisian designer Leïla Menchari for the windows of the 24 Faubourg Saint Honoré store in Paris.
Photo: Xavier Ansart. Courtesy of Hermès
Present alongside Al Mana at the opening of the store today, Florian Craen, Hermès’ executive vice-president—sales and distribution, welcomed journalists and clients with a speech that spoke to the store’s individuality. “It is always very very emotional—much more than you think. We don’t have that many stores in the world—we have 300 stores and each one of them is different, and this one is special in many ways,” he said. “It is one of six in the Middle East and the one and only store we have in Qatar. It has taken eight years of talks, and months and years of construction. So, for us, it is an end of a very long story as well as a new chapter.”
Read Next: Revisit the Rich History of Your Favorite Hermès Bags at a Brand New Exhibition in Qatar

Revisit the Rich History of Your Favorite Hermès Bags at a Brand New Exhibition in Qatar

Revisit the Rich History of Your Favorite Hermès Bags at a Brand New Exhibition in Qatar

This month, the National Museum of Qatar is inviting visitors for a very special exhibit. From May 28-June 11, French fashion house Hermès will be hosting a showcase titled Once Upon a Bag at the iconic space.
Preceded by three successful exhibits by the brand—Harnessing the Roots, which focused on harnesses; Rouges Hermès, which celebrated the brand’s deep connection with shades of red; and In Motion, which spotlighted objects that bring about a desire for outdoor elements—Once Upon a Bag is the fourth chapter of the Hermès Heritage cycle, and will share the rich history behind the fashion house through its bags.

Put together by Bruno Gaudichon, curator of La Piscine museum of art and industry in Roubaix, and scenographer Laurence Fontaine, Once Upon a Bag will help visitors trace the parallels between about 50 models and objects from Hermès’ Conservatoire of Creations and the Émile Hermès collection. The display will begin with a history of the Haut à courroies bag, a creation with equestrian roots which first came to be back in the 20th century. The exhibit will also help fashion connoisseurs understand the special stories behind its many different types of bags, ranging from clutches to ladies’ bags (like the iconic Kelly, along with  Constance, and Simone Hermès), and men’s bags (such as the Sac à dépêches, and Cityback basketball backpack), to travel bags and the sports bag. Visitors will also get to take a closer look at the brand’s intricately detailed clasps in a special room dedicated just to this facet of bag making, and can check out more eclectic creations, such as the ‘Bags of Mischief’ collection from the 1980s, which was designed by the chairman of Hermès from 1978 to 2006, Jean-Louis Dumas.
Inside the Hermès showcase. Photo: Kyung Sub Shin
The aim of Once Upon a Bag is to offer a deep dive into the label’s archives, and to highlight how bags at Hermès have transformed with the times and evolving societies. It was close to 1923 when Hermès came up with the Sac pour l’auto, its very first model to feature a functional zip, and since then, the French design house has put in great efforts to make its carry-ons more innovative, and even lighter. The trend hasn’t ceased today. Enthusiasts of the brand will agree that few manage to reinvent their pieces quite like Hermès does.

The Hermès Once Upon a Bag exhibit will take place from May 28-June 11 at the National Museum of Qatar, and is open to the public free of charge. 

Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli Puts a Haute Couture Spin on 15 Unique Abayas

Valentino’s Pierpaolo Piccioli Puts a Haute Couture Spin on 15 Unique Abayas

Valentino’s abaya collection. Photo: Courtesy of Valentino
Valentino creative director Pierpaolo Piccioli has designed a 15-piece collection of haute couture abayas. The modest designs evoking the Italian luxury house’s signature craftsmanship will be unveiled exclusively in Qatar’s Doha Design District. The pieces have been created to mark this year’s edition of #QatarCreates, a week-long cultural initiative aimed at uplifting the country’s fashion and design scene.
Photo: Courtesy of Valentino
While nearly every piece in the collection showcases the graceful and feminine silhouettes associated with abayas, each one is unique in color and fabric. Think: a bold color palette of turquoise and royal blue, rich reds, and bright pink in luxe velvet, crêpe, and cashmere. Standout designs that are bound to be favorites in the region include a gold lurex abaya, entirely embroidered with gold sequins which are offset with a pale rose light cashmere lining. Another is a deep red, faille abaya with voluminous bows on the sleeves, and paired with a pink-sequinned dress. All abayas are also hooded for a more cohesive look, with some fully embellished. The special installation will house the couture abayas alongside Valentino’s fall/winter 2021 couture collection and the 12 artworks that inspired it.
Valentino FW21 couture collection presented in Doha. Photo: Courtesy of Valentino
With this collection, Valentino joins Dolce & Gabbana, Oscar de la Renta, and Tommy Hilfiger in the luxury and high fashion industry’s bid to be more inclusive by creating hijabs, abayas, and other modest pieces. Piccioli’s work is not the only couture collection to grace Doha this season. From November 6 to March 31, Dior will display more than 200 haute couture gowns for the first time in the Middle East at the Christian Dior Exhibition “Designer of Dreams” in Doha’s M7. It will include nine looks from the collection of Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser, co-founder and chairperson of the Qatar Foundation.
Valentino’s exclusive abaya collection will be available on private appointments from October 31 to November 5 at Doha Design District.
Read Next: Is Fashion Art? Pierpaolo Piccioli and Manuel Arnaut Discuss Over an Exclusive Preview of Valentino’s Couture Collection

How Qatar’s First Couture Fashion House is Connecting Cultures with Exquisite Craftsmanship

How Qatar’s First Couture Fashion House is Connecting Cultures with Exquisite Craftsmanship

Photographed by Shaikha Al-Thani

Mother and daughter design duo Shaikha Alanoud Alattiya and Shaikha Shaikha Al-Thani are reflecting on their brand’s beginnings. Tiiya was launched in 2015, following the success of their ready-to-wear label Noblesse Oblige, which was founded in 2006 as the first “made in Qatar” brand whose product was something other than oil and gas. “At the time, we were informed by the Ministry of Trade that they only have import licenses and had to produce the export license especially for us,” recalls Alattiya. Today, the Doha-based atelier has six permanent petites mains who craft the garments, creating two collections per year in accordance with the couture fashion calendar.
The labor of love derives from the duo’s shared passion for ethnography and anthropology – the study of cultural attire, motifs, and references that can be found in archival imagery and from nature. “It’s not just designing, it’s the entire process of being inspired together. We spend so much time discussing form, cut, embellishment, and vision for each collection – from the imagining and planning of the gowns to the presentation and right up to the photoshoots,” comments Alattiya. “We are also both the stylists and creative directors of our shoots, while Shaikha takes the photographs.” Their bond thrives outside the atelier, too. Alattiya describes “tafakur,” a discipline of contemplation and seeing magnificence and grandeur through the beauty of creation. “We can lose ourselves for hours watching documentaries on history, culture, and nature; in fact, we plan our vacations around the discovery of these passions,” they comment, adding that they intend to travel to Alaska, Tanzania, Italy, Portugal, and Korea, once global travel restrictions lift.
Photographed by Shaikha Al-Thani

For the two women, fashion has long been a family affair. Alattiya shares how being born into traditions of cultural etiquette whereby social practices involve receiving guests – “wearing beautifully embellished gowns, first traditional, and then contemporary, as a staple amid women of society” – shaped her mindset. Alattiya’s early childhood recollection starts with her paternal grandmother, Shaikha Fatima bint Abdullah bin Jassim Al Thani, whose father, HH Sheikh Abdullah, was Qatar’s second Emir. Her grandmother’s trousseau featured a collection of silk thoube nashels of different colors. They were commissioned for her in India in the late Thirties and early Forties. Alattiya now owns the last of the trousseau collection, a purple royal thoube, which is on loan to the National Museum of Qatar. Another woman whose style served as inspiration is Alattiya’s mother, Kuwaiti Sharifa Al Sayer, of who she shares, “She was well-traveled, well-read, and cultured, and was one of the first women in the Gulf to wear Dior when it was sold in the Al Jameel stores – the Harrods of Kuwait – during the Fifties through to the Seventies.”
Photographed by Shaikha Al-Thani

Alattiya’s parents lived in Iran during the reign of the shah, with her father as one of Qatar’s first ambassadors. “In Iran, my mother had to present herself and the shared culture of my father by wearing our thoube nashels at formal events. By then, this cultural garment had evolved into intricately beaded renditions that were still commissioned in India, which until today remains the heart of haute hand-embroidery. However, to cater to my mother’s discerning tastes, my father arranged two visits to Paris annually so she could attend the couture shows.” Growing up among her mother’s couture collection, including Balenciaga, Givenchy, Torrente, Jacques Fath, and her favorite Dior, Alattiya would often open the clothing linings to discover the secrets of their construction. Her mother nurtured her interest in fashion, suggesting she commission her own designs. “In the late 90s and early 2000s, my aesthetic sensibilities stopped wandering,” she recalls. “I settled on Gianfranco Ferré as my all-time favorite at that time. While living in London, I sent him some of my sketches and he responded by asking me to join his atelier. Sadly, I could not, due to personal reasons.” Her daughter Shaikha was born that year in 2000. “She has since grown to become my protégée and co-designer and often exceeds me with her designer talent and eye for detail, coupled with her wonderful ability to amalgamate my thoughts into something unexpected,” beams Alattiya of her child. “It’s as though I see the fine details and she creates the frame to encapsulate them within.”
The latest collection, photographed exclusively for Vogue Arabia by Al-Thani, features gowns and ensembles resembling Asian-inspired porcelain vases. While comprising few colors – blue, white, red, and gold brocade – it invites the eye to admire the craftsmanship of the silhouettes. These remain lightweight due to the use of silk gazar, Mikado, and vintage Japanese obi textiles. “The motifs created in fine hand-embroidery are inspired by blue and white pottery and the celebration of connecting cultures through the shared legacy on a journey through the Silk Road,” say the designers. “The origin of this decorative style is thought to be Iraq, where artisans in Basra imitated imported white Chinese stoneware with their white pottery and added their own decorative motifs in blue glazes,” says Alattiya. This decorative style evolved into foliage sprawling across the object. Blue and white decoration first became widely used in Chinese porcelain in the 14th century when the cobalt pigment for the blue began to be imported from Persia.
Photographed by Shaikha Al-Thani

Alattiya graduated with a postgraduate degree in museum studies from University College London and worked at Qatar Museums, and her expertise lies in the study of intangible cultural heritage, which is the predominant form of the region’s cultural history. Al-Thani, currently a student of filmmaking at Northwestern University in Qatar, considers that today, film and media are the language of the masses. “Media is the lingua franca that unites the entire world through ideas, thoughts, and trends. At the risk of autochthonous voices being lost in translation, I think it’s imperative that each culture finds its voice within the language and dialogue of the media.” As luck would have it, couture can do that too.
Read Next: This Qatari Label is Empowering Arab Women with its Contemporary Abayas
Originally published in the March 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia

This Qatari Label is Empowering Arab Women with its Contemporary Abayas

This Qatari Label is Empowering Arab Women with its Contemporary Abayas

If Qatari ready-to-wear label 1309 is looking beyond its shores, it’s only after strengthening bonds with Arab women at home.
Photo: Courtesy of 1309

Qatar’s only ready-to-wear brand, 1309, is pushing sustainability and fashion forward. Its founder and creative director, Ghada Al Subaey, shares that its textiles are vegan, packaging is biodegradable, and it practices zero waste. “I want to empower the Arab woman,” states Al Subaey of her vision. “Throughout the years, we’ve dressed in brands from the West – but what do we want to wear? And how do we make it contemporary and even futuristic?”
Photo: Courtesy of 1309

Also Read: How the Abaya is Giving Saudi Women Identity Ownership
She started with conceptualizing the abaya, which she notes, in Qatar, was historically very traditional. “Teenagers who transition to women and start wearing the abaya – it’s something no one talks about – it’s very hard. It was black, and personally, I felt like it put me down,” she shares. “I want to put it on and feel feminine; like it adds to my outfit.” Her brand, established in 2015, embodies a cool, contemporary vibe that celebrates women through empowering silhouettes, bold colors, and hand embroideries. “I’m trying to speak to women of every age. Western designers want to get into the Arab market but it’s time for us to reach the global market and make abayas fashionable.” She doesn’t hesitate to collaborate with regional counterparts, with a recent collection created with Jordanian brand Nafsika Skourti. “You see designers from around the world trying to redesign the kimono – that’s what I want to inspire with the abaya.”
Photo: Courtesy of 1309

The designer comments that today, women are “very different.” Arab women are “ambitious, with big dreams, and are on the go. They want to evolve and take care of themselves.” Her desire to reach out to women saw the birth of the 1309 community, launched during lockdown. “Everyone’s mental health had become affected,” she notes. She hosted Saudi Nouf Hakeem, who spoke about maneuvering a fast-paced life, and recently held a beach cleanup, as well as hosting meditation sessions. “Women don’t need another fashion brand,” she states. “What we need is a solid brand with values that heal, rather than add to the toxicity of the world.”
Read Next: Qatar’s Sheikha Reem Al-Thani on Bringing Arab Art and Museums Into the Future
Originally published in the February 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia

Here’s What the Reunion of the GCC Means for the Arab Fashion Industry

Here’s What the Reunion of the GCC Means for the Arab Fashion Industry

Creatives in the Arab world are rejoicing over the reunion of the GCC. The restoration of diplomatic ties will allow for more collaboration and “cross-pollination.” “A collective sigh of relief” is how Anum Bashir and her family reacted when hearing that countries in the GCC would be restoring diplomatic relations with Qatar. The Dubai-based consultant, creative […]
The post Here’s What the Reunion of the GCC Means for the Arab Fashion Industry appeared first on Vogue Arabia.

5 Qatari Fashion Brands to Know and Love

5 Qatari Fashion Brands to Know and Love

Tiiya. Photo: Instagram/@tiiyaofficial

As one of the biggest consumers of luxury fashion in the Middle East, with a thriving local fashion industry of its own, Qatar is home to many ready-to-wear and haute couture labels.
Here, Vogue Arabia highlights five of Qatar’s best fashion brands to know.
Tiiya
Tiiya is an haute couture label that was established in 2010 and has gone from strength to strength since. Named after its founder, Qatari designer Alanoud Alattiya, the brand is known for its opulent gowns and dresses in rich fabrics laden with beading. Alattiya had been the first Qatari to export a non-gas and petrol product with the label “Made in Qatar,” when her brand became the first in the Arabian Gulf to ever be stocked in Harrods, London in 2008.
Hissa Haddad
Hissa Haddad. Photo: Instagram/@hissahaddad

Hissa Haddad (HH) is a luxury footwear brand of Italian-made shoes, established by Qatari entrepreneur and designer Hissa Al Haddad. Having launched her eponymous label in October 2017, during Paris Fashion Week, Hissa Haddad is the first Qatari female designer to manufacture in Italy. The brand is known for its satin and leather heels with designs inspired by the architecture of Qatar, and historical and Islamic art. HH had also been selected by the British Fashion Council to be showcased during London Fashion Week in their dedicated designer showrooms.
Yasmin Mansour
Yasmin Mansour. Photo: Instagram/@yasminmansourofficial

Yasmin Mansour is one of the first luxury womenswear labels based in Qatar, which is inspired by Arab culture and traditional women’s clothing. Qatari designer Yasmin Mansour established the brand in 2014, with the aim to empower women with her unique and one-of-a-kind designs that are also sustainable. Her feminine yet bold pieces have also found fans in regional stars like Raya Abirached and Tara Emad.
Ghada Albuainain
Ghada Albuainain. Photo: Instagram/@ghadaalbuainainofficial

Ghada Albuainain is a fine jewelry brand founded by Ghada Rashid Al Buainain in 2015, with her belief in the transformative power of jewelry and her distinctive perception of it. The Qatari designer had been one of the first two from the country to showcase her work at New York Fashion Week in 2019. She finds inspiration in the beauty of everyday objects and turns them into wearable objects using unconventional metals that elevate the “industrial” look of her pieces.
Harlienz
Harlienz. Photo: Instagram/@harlienz

Harlienz is a contemporary fashion brand founded by Qatari designer Haya Al Adsani in 2013, out of her desire to use apparel as a visual outlet for her travel inspirations. Alongside Ghada Albuainain, Harlienz had been the first Qatari label to be on the New York Fashion Week schedule in 2019. The self-taught designer Adsani creates easy-to-wear, versatile, and must-have essentials in the form of abayas and jalabiyas that can take you from day to night. Her minimalistic abayas have been worn by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, as well as renowned designer Diane Von Furstenberg.
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