For her first presentation at Paris Fashion Week, Honayda Serafi drew inspiration from her childhood memories of seeing Bedouin women in the countryside in her native Saudi Arabia.
Their traditional outfits inspired the seashell-embroidered belt she layered over a silky white cape-sleeved top, and the geometric patterns on a hooded dress worn over matching pants. The layered silhouettes are a pragmatic choice for Bedouin women out in the elements, but Serafi gave them a seductive allure.
A black bustier jumpsuit was overlaid with a sheer tunic with graphic silver sequin embroideries, while dramatic floor-length capes added pizzazz to buttoned-up long-sleeve shirts and pants. The designer titled the collection “Evolution,” saying it was a vision of how women could evolve from one generation to the next.
Serafi has done her bit to challenge social attitudes in Saudi Arabia by introducing colored and embroidered abayas in previous collections. This time, she showed variations on the traditional caftan, such as a white column dress with a pleated half cape. “This for me is the new generation of caftans: dress caftans,” she explained.
The collection was heavy on the kind of red-carpet fare that has won over celebrities including Priyanka Chopra, Lupita Nyong’o and Lindsey Vonn. Standouts included a scarlet tuxedo dress with floor-sweeping pleated cape sleeves, and an ice blue bustier dress embroidered with transparent sequins and tiny pearls.
Serafi enjoys playing with cutouts, slits and transparency, but strategically. “I’m totally against the vulgar look, although it’s a personal choice and I respect what every woman likes to wear,” she said. “But when I draw, I always think you can be sexy and confident, but not everything is out there.”