After escaping the congested jungle of twinkling taillights, a classic black and white window sign greets the visitors at the end of a quite side alley. Under the timeless sign stands a graceful mannequin that does not require neither company nor accessories to grab the attention.
The window mannequin speaks of the women, who seek this homegrown haute couture label for nights that often mark their most celebrated milestones. She stands with a short detailed black dress. While white embellishments erupt from the dress’s hemline all the way to the waist, white feathers crawl on the sides. This manifestation of timeless womanhood accompanied with the dress’s long tulle tail is only a glimpse of what Alexandria’s Vivian Moawad has brought to Cairo earlier this week.
The local designer has been turning heads with her romantic designs for quite some time. After taking part in various fashion shows around the capital, the haute couture master decided to take two fashion-forward leaps ahead of the new season.
Moawad fulfilled her promise to the label’s growing base of clients in Cairo with an intimate branch in the city. Meanwhile, she has also surprised them with a new capsule bridal collection; marking the designer’s first white attempts.
“Zamalek was my dream location for a Cairo-based store. Location scouting did not long; once I found this one, I knew that it is perfect,” said the designer with a proud smile on her face.
After walking through the vintage black doors, a white sculpture of an angel leads the ladies to the spiral stairs towards the second floor, where the designer’s gowns hang inside the silhouette of minimalistic bird cages.
“The interior designer is one of my best friends. Manuel studied interior design in France; therefore, aside from being friends, I was confident that I am in good hands. We brainstormed together, before he took over and handled the process,” said the designer as her black grown trailed in her steps.
The new space manifests few similarities with Moawad’s first store in her hometown Alexandria. Nonetheless it is notably bigger.
From the white walls to the black racks and significant angels, the space is a modern-time romantic novel that harbors the delicate petals embroidered by the designer. The monochromic color pallet also allows Moawad’s displayed designs to further stand out.
“I am obsessed with the classic combination of black and white; accordingly, our main theme was built upon this infatuation. Our main target was to unfold my identity as a designer in the structure. Meanwhile, by definition, as an haute couture designer I have a flair for luxury. Therefore, we added antique accessories to correspond with the brand’s aesthetic,” said Moawad as she gestured towards the center sculpted table.
The definitive duality of black and white has controlled a great deal of the label since its early inception. According to the designer, the monochromic theme started its association with the brand when she first thought about a logo; the duo came as a natural choice. Then collection after another, it became a subtle signature.
Nonetheless, lately Moawad has started introducing new colors and patterns. For her SS17 collection, currently on display at the new store, Moawad stepped far from her pallet of choice to capture the season’s rainbow of serene blue and rose.
With that said, the store also aims to introduce a new concept in terms of interior design. “Every season the entire decorations will be changed to reflect the new collection. Starting this December, the store will be updated to match my upcoming FW18 collection; Moulin Rouge,” said the designer excitedly.
The fashion and interior designers behind the new couture spot plan to give any person that walks in, the opportunity to stand amid a fashion show. This avant-garde experience is set to start in December, on parallel with the launch of the new collection.
“Tonight could be considered a soft opening, the big event will be in December; in celebration of the new theme.” The designer added “This is a dream come true for me. I can currently say that I have a proper showroom in Zamalek with my latest collection displayed everywhere. On the other hand, I cannot describe my happiness to see everyone here walking among my designs.”
The designer often launches her collections over two phases. The teaser, which features three or four looks that represent the collection then the main reveal. For the SS17 collection, Moawad launched the teaser of four dresses through a photo shoot earlier during this season. Meanwhile, customers can currently view and try the full collection at her Zamalek store.
On the other hand, as the new season is rapidly approaching, the designer gave her loyal clients a sneak peek of her awaited new collection during the opening event.
With a princess bridal gown facing the second-floor window in the background, a number of models posed to prove that Moawad’s upcoming collection promises to make black a synonym of bold statement. The dresses embraced the year’s most evident trend, exaggerated sleeves along with wide necklines and playful ruffles.
“On the walking models, you can see a teaser of the upcoming Moulin Rouge collection. Naturally, I was inspired by the renowned Parisian cabaret and the glam invested in the show business. Standing here tonight and watching the models walk around me in their dresses gives me a front-row seat at one of the world’s most famous shows,” said the designer.
While many businesses have been impacted by the recent economic turmoil, fashion does not stand as an exception. With luxury at the core of her business, Moawad remains confident and even more encouraged to push further.
“I have my own client base that has not wavered under the recent circumstances. Despite the current turbulence, this country has a stable foundation of haute couture appreciators that are still loyal to this form of art,” stated the designer with obvious determination.
As for her future plans after this noteworthy milestone, the designer plans to remain in her headquarters in Alexandria while showcasing her new collections in Zamalek. With that said, she will also be taking couture appointments at the new store.
“According to my grand plan, my third branch is set to open its doors in one or two years. My next destination is somewhere in Europe. I believe it will be about time for the brand to have a permanent home in a different continent,” concluded the designer with a grin.