Kate Middleton may have chosen Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen to prepare her wedding dress, but in the Arab world, Rami Ali of Syria is a hot designer. His “Wedding collection Spring/Summer 2011” is the dream of every princess bride.
There’s lace. But the use of lace is restrained and it looks very much like Chantilly lace, too. The one with the bodice made of lace is my favorite. It’s got a sash and I think it adds to the look of the dress because it gives it structure. This is a dress that could’ve easily floated down the aisle of Westminster Abbey. Someone should have alerted Kate.
There are other noteworthy dresses, too. Quite a few of them are “fairytale” romantic with veils and trains and frills and flounces and crystal embellishments and of course, lace. They look dreamlike and ethereal. Mr. Ali does not confine himself to romance and also does highly sophisticated, chic wedding gowns. They are all superbly cut and one of them leaves the shoulders bare.
The Dubai-based Mr. Ali is world-renowned. In May 2009 he was recognized as one of the 50 most influential Arabs in the world. He says, “I am what I am because of what I do, and what I have accomplished is because of my own efforts and hard work. So, my work is my identity and my key to other cultures and societies, which gave me recognition on the international fashion platform.”
The year 2009 was the year of reckoning for Mr. Ali because that’s the year he walked into the international fashion arena with his first show at Alta Roma in Rome, Italy. And he continues to dazzle the press with his unique style of women’s evening and bridal wear. In Rome, he has built a reputation as the fashion ambassador of the Middle East as his collections are demure with an Arabic sense of glamour and modesty.
Mr. Ali has garnered attention from global brands such at Swarovski and was handpicked to be a part of “Unbridled,” a book published by the global Austrian crystal brand, featuring leading couture veterans Giorgio Armani, Vivian Westwood and John Galliano, among others. The collaboration has demonstrated Mr. Ali’s ability to participate in a forum of the Who’s Who of fashion.
About the direction of his work, Mr. Al Ali says, “I noticed that the region here was missing the blend between eastern and western styles. The dresses were either Arabic or ready made brands, and sometimes too European. The clients were looking for something that was a blend of both.”
Born and raised in Syria, Mr. Al Ali was greatly influenced greatly by the Syrian heritage; its art, architecture and handicrafts were a great source of inspiration. This inspiration comes across in his collections such as his “Damascus Rose.” He says, “The seasons we have in Syria, where you get to explore and feel the four different moods and colors of nature. This, surely, has enriched my visual memory, which was enforced by the academic study at the Faculty of Fine Arts, in Damascus.”
His entry into the realm of fashion design was a natural progression. Mr. Ali says, “I remember my attention to details in my childhood, how I used to enjoy watching fashion shows and following the latest trends and changes in style, which was later reflected through sketches and designs I used to prepare as special requests for friends and family. When the results began to look promising, this passion turned from being a simple hobby into academic aspiration and ambition and later on became my profession.”
What is the type of woman who wears Mr. Ali’s creations? He says, “Women who wear my designs are sophisticated, selective, intricate, graceful and very refined.”
Now that could be said of Kate Middleton—or shall we say, the Duchess of Cambridge.
(Umita Raghu Venkataraman of Al Arabiya can be reached at: [email protected])