- Title: FRANCE: Omani designer Nawal al-Houtia dazzles audiences at the Paris UNESCO
- Date: 29th October 2007
- Summary: MORE OF FASHION SHOW
- Embargoed: 13th November 2007 12:00
- Location: France
- Country: France
- Topics: Fashion
- Reuters ID: LVA1L8MGG1183RWU5OYQGLKOMS4Q
- Story Text: Omani fashion designer Nawal al-Houtia presents her traditional designs during a cultural evening at UNESCO.
Omani fashion designer Nawal al-Houtia put on a dazzling show in Paris on Thursday (October 25) at a UNESCO cultural evening showcasing Omani culture.
Although formally untrained in fashion design, al-Houtia quickly developed a passion for fashion and dressmaking. Her modest beginnings started when she began designing her own clothes, then those of her family.
"I started by designing my own clothes, even casual wear and clothes for my family. I was always very pleased when someone asked me to design something for them. It made me very happy to see something I conceived come into being. That is what made me move further in this direction,"
Although traditional Omani themes form the backbone of her designs, al-Houtia says she always adds a touch of modernity and European sensibility.
"Omani heritage, and we inherited a lot, informs my designs. I incorporate tradition and innovate upon it while preserving it. I can add any European element as long as it does not distort the original design," she adds.
The UNESCO fashion show featured hand-embroidered fabrics, flowing silks, elaborate mirror work and delicate designs.
Al-Houtia's blend of the contemporary with the traditional, the Orient with the Occident, has earned her many fans.
"God bless Nawal, she rides all the waves. She is a great designer. She fuses Omani tradition with all kinds of other styles. I can't even find the words to describe her style. She is the best," enthuses Joumana Hassan, daughter of Ambassador Jaafar Bin Hassan, Permanent Delegate of the Sultanate of Oman to UNESCO.
Al-Houtia also heads the fashion department known as Sanad at the Omani Labour Ministry, which develops local skills in fashion design, embroidery and dressmaking.
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