The minute you step onto the red carpet, several photographers race each other to take your photo, until you walk into one of Cairo’s most captivating open spaces. The next thing you know, all that is related to fashion unfolds around you.
For one whole day, fashion influencers and followers took over Cairo Festival City’s Amphitheatre to celebrate Cairo Fashion Festival’s fourth round. From booths to presentations and glamorous runway shows, this season did not leave anything out.
Unlike the norm, this time the event was divided into three main segments. The usual bazaar and runway shows, plus the fashion presentations, which were added for the first time this year.
As an event that is often defined by its constant support for the youth, CFF’s team wanted to give a hand to designers who cannot afford to create a complete collection yet. Set in the bazaar area, which does not require an invitation, the presentation’s mini stage created a perfect warm-up to the day.
Each presentation introduced a short story that consisted of less than 10 looks. Randa Torky’s Haute Couture capsule collection could be described as a beach wedding with six models dancing in delightful short dresses. Shaima Eshmawy’s ready to wear line “Reviled” celebrated summer with a funk theme.
Moreover, Ghada Hashash, another designer, went with a classic theme, as a male model pretended to be drawing the models that held antique photo frames. Hashash’s dresses were all black with gold embellishments that gave the impression of belonging to the baroque era.
The presentations gave several upcoming talents the opportunity to share their inspiration and concept with the crowd. With the designers sitting among the audience and the models moving freely on stage, the crowd felt a stronger connection with the garments.
The tendency to break the strict old rules of a show only continued throughout the day. The runway area was opened to the crowd after a slight delay, only to surprise them once again. Contrary to the regular long-straight runway, CFF4 went with a different style.
The round stage provided a better view of the garments, as the models walked in circular directions. However, placing the VIP guests right in the middle of the runway did cause a few distractions.
From high-street brands to Haute Couture designers, the third part of the day was all about raising the bar. Fashion Republic, run by Karim El-Bialy, was in charge of the shows’ choreography, and after last round’s dancing catwalks, this time the team wanted to come up with something newer.
Meanwhile, Splash, Max and Timberland had their upcoming collections presented through classic and simple shows depending on fashion stylist Ghadir El-Agabany’s ability to amaze the crowd with the way the garments were styled. Rockport, Levi’s and Quicksilver were presented through a different route.
Rockport’s show embarked the unconventional direction, with the models walking and dancing on stage holding two pairs of shoes and hanging the third around their necks. Meanwhile, Levi’s segment was a great example of turning a boring show into an interactive entertaining break.
Being a denim brand, the team was faced with the challenge of keeping the crowd interested in seemingly similar all-denim looks. As an entertainment trick, the models were sent on stage with red caps and pressure balls and asked to toss them to the audience. Just like magic, the random giveaways gave the audience a great incentive to stay focused and meet Levi’s summer collection.
Meanwhile, Quicksilver introduced a surfing diversion. The models, along with their surfing boards, were the perfect declaration that summer is here.
Soon enough, the final part of the day was set to start: the haute couture shows. Esmeralda Radwan, a local fashion designer, started the segment with a true oriental collection. Using the traditional belly dancing costume as her main inspiration, the collection showed a range of metallic shades and evident presence of brass coins as the key accessory.
Her collection’s main strength point was her ability to showcase a cohesive collection with looks that can be defined as one-of-a-kind showstoppers, plus other far more wearable suits.
Viviane Moawad, who is a fledgling designer, followed next with her fresh designs. Moawad’s collection included the perfect must-haves for the upcoming season. Her black and white jacket had a clear tuxedo influence, while still being a modern piece.
At the same time, the rest of her collection showed minimal embroidery and unexpected fringes that were located smartly. Even though the collection did not seem to follow one key umbrella, each group of garments introduced an interesting unconventional concept, such as the monochrome with a pop of colour story, yet each set of garments went in a different direction than the other.
For her second time at CFF, Alia El-Nahhas unveiled her second spring- summer collection this year, after dreaming away with her all white collection, which was displayed for the first time last month. This time she displayed a much more colourful collection.
El-Nahhas’s latest creations represented a much simpler direction, as she kept her intricate embroidery touch, while mixing it up with plain satin dresses. El-Nahhas also kept her feminine cuts, building on the romper silhouette as her base. Even though the garments were mainly neutral, the colour pops were very notable.
Mariam Adel’s collection took the minimal trend one step further with her plain and neutral garments. The highest peak of her series was certainly the white romper, which she added extravagant long white sleeves and a gold collar to, in order to differentiate it.
Cairo Fashion Festival usually debuts a brand new designer each round, and this time it was no other than Sarai Omar. Despite her young professional life; Omar’s line cheers for the retro and old Hollywood style. Her collection was based on timeless cuts, with a touch of lace, embroidery and drape.
The highlight of the show was defiantly the first and only men’s wear designer Moaaz El-Behairy. El-Behairy’s collection was both creative and absolutely wearable. While Egyptians are not quite open to avant-garde men’s wear, El-Behairy introduced a few never-before-seen designs, while sticking to classic guidelines.
His blazers changed the usual central line of buttons to spread them on the sides. Moreover, a couple of his jackets could be best described as wrapped blazers, Diane Von Furstenberg way, with one button located on the side rather than the centre.
The day included several more climaxes, such as Plush Studio’s short videos, which were played ahead of each and every show to put the audience in the right mood. The event’s hosts, Amina Khalil and Ashraf Hamdi, were also a highlight of the day, as they returned for the second time in a row this season.
Finally, hair and makeup gurus Pace e Luce were the unseen armours of the day, as they worked around the clock to cater for the beauty side of the event. The models’ looks varied from simple and outgoing for the street-style shows, to daring with heavy makeup and dramatic hair to match the haute couture garments.