With good cool weather blessing Egyptians recently, and fall collections hitting stores from Beymen to Zara, fall fashion considerations are taking up much of one’s thoughts. As always, the question is how to translate what’s on the runways and in stores to Egyptian streets and one’s lifestyle in the city?
Cairo is not a hip and happening place for fashion. It does not develop on the streets such as New York nor does it directly influence collections being produced in Paris. Still, the Middle Eastern woman, especially in the wake of the recession has far more purchasing power than her American or European counterpart.
Now it’s quite clear, while Cairo does not directly influence fashion design considerations internationally, the Middle East has recently become a treasure trove of inspiration for designers abroad. And we’re the ones benefiting from it all.
It was all about the sexy abaya dress at Givenchy a few months ago, and Rachel Ray and Paris Hilton have been wearing Otrera brand scarves emblazoned with the evil eye. Motifs and themes of the exotic and the global traveler were all the rage in the spring and summer of 2009 and some elements continue into fall: jumpsuits with harem pants shapes, loose silhouettes, gauzy ethereal materials such as chiffons and silk-cotton mixtures.
These styles are ideal for a hot city like Cairo, and – practically speaking – it’s best to dress modestly while on the street.
Sfera in CityStars is great for finding a variety of colors and items to layer, breezy tops and colorful accessories. Massimo Dutti in Mohandiseen is slightly on the classic side, but carries great chambray shirts this season.
What’s been interesting to note is that fall trends are veering towards casual classic styles and silhouettes: blazers, tailored pants, classic dresses, classic knitwear. Interesting is the use of unconventional material such as flannel to make blazers and sweater dresses (of which Zara carries a wide range of interesting designs).
It’s a great mélange of old classics with a modern twist. And the colors are quite subdued: grays, beiges and some shades of blue-gray here and there.
Somehow all in this mix, a little bit of punk appeal is thrown in with leather jackets and metal studded statement shoes. Thinking recession? It’s not about looking bling, it’s about looking casually chic by day and rekindling elements like leather and casual wear materials.
Gray soft pants are being paired with aggressive booties in Zara, and Karen Millen has some great blazer jackets. Leather pants were also spotted and leather is creeping into skirts and dresses. Take note from Charlize Theron who sported a beautiful silver leather number recently.
Whereas golds and bright colors were summer staples, silvery metallic sheens for night hold a lot of ladylike appeal. Kate Perry and Charlize Theron wore metallic cocktail dresses while out supporting New York’s Fashion Night Out – an initiative to help spur consumer spending.
The stars were out all over New York the night of September 10, sporting outfits that hint at the beginning of fall.
And as the spring 2010 collections debut on New York’s runways this coming week, where do we in Cairo stand? We have until December to take out those chunky cable sweaters, if ever. And try to catch up to the spring trends.
The casual layered look will be feasible, and since we’ve been doing just that during the month of Ramadan, that will surely follow through. As for punk-inspired booties, sometimes it’s hard to wear such trends out on the streets of Cairo. It looks out of context, and wholly impractical with regards to the city’s uneven pavements and hot weather.
Personally, I’m stocking up on flannel and chambray, harem pants and classic white shirts. It’s a formula, but never fails to work and carry one through the day from work and into the night for play. It’s not as exciting as New Yorkers’ current fall trend choices but these items are practical and easy to purchase around town.
But I will never compromise on those high heels, and a little shine and sheen is good for you by night.