Two of Egypt's most prominent fashion designers, AminaK and Deana Shaaban, recently launched their fall/winter 2011/2012 collections. Although the new collections have little in common, they both reflect a young and fresh take on Egyptian female fashion.
In recent years, a number of local fashion designers have made their way into the Egyptian market – in many cases taking the place of European designers as Egyptian society’s most coveted brands. Names have come and gone – collections have presented themselves and designers have disappeared – but with each passing season the few strong designers on the Cairo fashion scene have worked themselves to the bone, designing and organizing themselves into what seems to be a new hub for fashion in the region.
One sign of this is the seasonal collection – and what was once a sporadic eruption of pieces throughout the year has now become two months annually during which designers bring out fully fledged collections for the season. Egypt may be a far cry from the fall release of the spring collection – a Paris/New York/Milan/London fashion tradition that has never really made sense to people outside the industry – but watching these young designers become increasingly efficient, professional and innovative over the past three years has been a pleasure for every fashion hungry Cairean.
Deana Shaaban, Cairo’s queen of playful funk, has grown quickly over the past year with fashion shows, sneak previews, and daring combinations. This fall, she presents an all-encompassing black and white collection that reflects simplicity and comfort. Shaaban's designs have always been confident and it's no wonder: the designer has shown remarkable development from the collection she presented last season. Toned down on the funk, many of this season's pieces are good choices for everyday activities.
Shaaban uses her favorite fabrics for fall – satin, silk and crepe – and the collection seems to be inspired by several eras, including some striking Roman influence. The collection is elegant and yet has enough of Shaaban’s unique magic in it to keep it away from the high street trends. Shaaban develops the “summer skirts” collection by giving her fall skirts (topped with a new set of beautiful blouses) new lines and producing a collection with a more feminine feel.
Shaaban has always excelled in a strong sense of body consciousness, creating flattering lines for the typical Egyptian pear-like body shape, and this talent is an advantage not many designers have.
AminaK established herself before Shaaban and was automatically associated with very local designs and fabrics, basing many of her pieces on galabeyas and using khayameya (tent) designed fabrics. While this is AminaK’s signature, the young designer draws new colors and new fabrics into her fall/winter 2011/2012 collection with turquoise, purple, lime green, and fuschia embodying the designer's vision for this winter. AminaK juxtaposes the sunny disposition of these color choices with typical colors of the season: burgundy, camel, grey, royal blue and brown.
Suede, chiffon, wool and crochet knits are AminaK's new fabrics of choice and despite the venture out of her comfort zone, she still draws inspiration this fall from Egyptian heritage and folkloric design, pairing her pieces with unusual accessories.
The signature piece in the AminaK collection this fall is the scarf – Amina builds on her typical patchwork designs and mixes in plain and printed crochet knits and pom poms.
AminaK's belts are also in a constant state of change and development, coming a long way from the belts in her first collection. Printed and checkered wool and cotton are still AminaK's best materials for shirts but her galabeyas give way for chiffon blouses for fall.
AminaK's consistency is what makes her work solid and recognizable. Whether you are fan or not, you can always recognize an AminaK piece.