Sukeina designer Omar Salam designed almost his entire spring 2023 collection in red, all the better to showcase his signature textural folding and braiding techniques, as well as rich fabrics like artisanal lace and honeycomb mesh.
But it actually had less to do with that than with conveying the spirit of noncomformity and radical acceptance, as embodied by red cardinals, which unlike other animals are not camouflaged in their surroundings.
“They stand out and are OK with that, it’s quite inspiring,” said Salam, who speaks in almost metaphysical terms about his clothing, which is rooted in the aesthetic traditions of Europe, Africa and America, and has been worn by Naomi Campbell and Amal Clooney, among others. “The greatest gift you can offer the world is you. That may not be popular or in demand, but it’s you.”
A strapless cocktail dress with origami-like box folded pannier skirt was striking, as was a red crochet lace tube dress. And Salam’s blouson sweater with lace embroidery on the sleeves, worn with sleek cigarette pants, was handcraft in a more subtle way.
“Many designers have tackled the very dressed up and done it quite well, and through the pandemic and prior the dressed down has been done and done,” said the CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund nominee. “So I tried to tackle times of the day where you don’t need to be that dressed up but still need to look well put together. I find it a more interesting subject to be in the middle of the fray.”