By Heba Elkayal
After the sour, confused mood of late, young Egyptian businesses and brands are flourishing, giving a clear statement that regardless of all ongoing political and economical turmoil, all is well and all shall be well. Nothing reflected that attitude more articulately than the spring and summer collections of two Egyptian designers: Amina Khalil and Deana Shaaban.
Although the two young women produce clothes of entirely different looks, they share a similar approach to the collections, highlighting femininity and comfort.
In this summer’s collection, Khalil elaborated on her ideas of kaftan-inspired silhouettes and local prints whilst Shaaban thought of combining two themes: Little House on the Prairie, the much-loved American children’s’ novel, with African prints.
The two collections are very different, but they overlap in their sense of optimism.
Khalil premiered her collection at a trunk sale and runway show held at the Nile-side restaurant, Leftbank. Models walked the runway wearing flowing harem pants with bright flower prints, gauzy vests made from chiffon, cotton knit and jersey, and tailored shirts deconstructed so that the wearer can play with its hood and layers to wear according to their desire and comfort.
Magentas and purples were some of the most striking colors in the collection, and Khalil used geometric motifs, inspired by Egyptian carpets, on bags and belts. The collection is modular and many items can be bought and combined together by the wearer.
Khalil has managed to stick to her brand’s identity and objective of using Egyptian-inspired silhouettes and patterns, moving away from the revolution-themed colors and motifs of last year. It is interesting watching Khalil’s collections and tastes grow as the brand ages, but I would like to see that same attitude of Egyptian themes and comfort being used for more streamlined looks one can wear in the city. Khalil’s looks are ideal for beach or casual wear at night.
Shaaban’s collection was exhibited at the new pop-up event venue 18.213 in Maadi, a perfect spontaneous backdrop to the designer’s energetic self.
Though Shaaban’s collection is more muted in color — mustard yellows, olive greens, some reds and blues — the shapes were energetic: skirts, voluminous billowy pants and tops were knotted, layered and cut with origami like slits.
Though I didn’t like her choice of fabrics, finding them dull and flat, I think Shaaban has talent that can produce clothes that don’t necessarily have to be mainstream, but are in line with more global trends, because her approach to silhouettes is creative and original. More contemporary fabrics would have pushed her collection to the next level.
Pieces by Amina Khalil can be purchased at:
24 Thawra Street, Dokki, Mohandiseen, 7th Floor.
Pieces by Deana Shaaban can be purchased at:
Theodor’s: 12 Emarat Al Shahid, (opposite Villa 1.), Rd. 15, Maadi.
A design by Amina Khalil incorporates jersey and free flowing chiffon.