The designer, who is of Romanian-Jordanian heritage, said she’s been mulling her creative concept since before the pandemic. It comes to life Monday.
“I really wanted to do something meaningful that would be an ode to my Arab heritage, a celebration of our culture,” Muaddi told WWD. “Evidently, I wanted to work with creatives that could understand and embody that concept, so it was crucial to me to work with almost entirely an Arab crew and production lead by [visual artist Dexter Navy’s] lens, who is half Egyptian, and starring Imaan [Hammam] who is of Moroccan-Egyptian origins.” Styling was done by Jahleel Weaver.
The campaign was shot entirely in Cairo, Egypt, where palm trees unique to the region or pure-bred Arab horses can be seen as a backdrop to the gem-dripped shoes.
But really, it’s about visibility for a culture that hasn’t been widely recognized in the global fashion space.
“This project is important because it’s really close to our hearts. In a way Dexter, Imaan and I are all de-rooted Arabs who are also looking to feel closer to our own heritage, to find a way back home,” Muaddi said. “We root for each other simply because there isn’t nearly enough representation and spotlight on people with our background. Because of this, in our industry we don’t often get to see the beauty of the Arab traditions and community.”
Along with the cultural message, the luxury label is looking to expand beyond its best-selling Begum styles — though the styles characterized by the crystal buckle will, of course, remain a brand staple — with new buckles, heels and detailing. New bags are also part of the collection.
“There are so many new styles in the collection. I always challenge myself to create newness because otherwise I don’t feel stimulated. Our jewelry and our handbag collections have expanded as well,” Muaddi said. “The new Camelia slingback pump has a special crystal adornment inspired by an Art Deco mirror that we worked on for a long time and a square stiletto heel; it’s one of my favorite new styles that I think will become a classic. Many styles are inspired by the under the sea universe that I am always fascinated by. I must have been a fish or mermaid in another life. The Lily slipper with crystal flowers is another favorite, but there are many to choose from.”