DUBAI — A fast rising star in the Middle East, Emirati designer Madiyah Al Sharqi has traditionally shied away from attention on herself. Photographed for the first time here in WWD, the daughter of the ruler of the emirate of Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, grew up in a palace in the sparkling seaside emirate with a personal atelier that served the members of the royal household.
Fascinated with the design process, she followed an unconventional path for a princess, choosing to launch her own label in 2012. Al Sharqi’s work embodies everyday luxury with delicate fabrics, bold silhouettes and subtle color palettes.
In her most recent fall 2018 collection, Al Sharqi draws on romantic, rich tones with fabrics ranging from a sheer lilac lame and sage polka-dotted lace, to high-shine embroidered sequin, mustard and deep burgundy velvets.
Al Sharqi’s signature fabric is lace, which she incorporates into every collection. “It’s romantic and feminine but can take so many forms.” Known for her beautiful embroideries on lace, Al Sharqi has evolved from eveningwear toward separates in strong silhouettes to create statement looks that can work from day to night.
“As the Madiyah Al Sharqi muse grew up, so did my vision for the brand evolve,” she says. She is designing what she calls “more tailored pieces that can work as elevated daywear, but still with a hefty dose of sophistication and spirited attitude.”
Al Sharqi describes her client as “strong, very playful and not afraid of experimenting in life.” Which she admits is a lot like her. “I’ll be wearing something modest and you’ll see something unexpected peeping through. Her clients range in age. “I would say from her 20s through 40s, you can’t limit a woman to clothes by age.”
At home in the Middle East, Al Sharqi wears the traditional dress, an abaya, and covers her hair with a shayla or veil, out of respect for the cultural modestly in the region.
She has a big fan following in the Middle East, describing it as her “bread and butter,” but she has her eyes are set growth to new markets. “We had very strong sell-through in places like Five Story and Curve,” she says. “I would love to build on that momentum in America.”