What do you do when the founder of your brand, the creative force, the lifeblood, suddenly passes away?
Last year, Khalid Al Qasimi, son of the ruler of Sharjah, Dr Shaikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi, passed away suddenly. His tragic and untimely death caused waves across the region and left a hole in both London and the GCC’s fashion world.
Later that year, Khalid’s twin sister Hoor announced that she would take her brother’s place and assume the mantle of leader at Qasimi, keeping the label alive to honor the memory of her brother.
“It’s difficult for me to come in at this stage – fashion is a business that I have to learn. It’s very different from the art world. But I would go to the ends of the earth for my brother.”
And, with the help of Adam Rice, the brand’s head of design, Hoor oversaw the eponymous brand’s triumphant return to the London catwalk at LFWM, yesterday.
There was sharp tailoring in rich colours and fabrics- burgundy cords, mustard velvet- that sat alongside a modern interpretation of smart-casualwear. London’s bespoke tailoring influence was evidenced in the properly waisted, pleated trousers, but so was its streetwear influence too, pairing said trousers with a printed long sleeve T-shirt.
Textures and silhouettes were broken up and rearranged with heavily shoulder-padded suits, and puffer coats worn over button down shirts. It felt natural and easy to wear but never lazy. Instead, it was elegant.
And then there were the poignant motifs. Qasimi said in their show notes that “sunset to sunrise, the cyclical nature of every day seems infinite and yet each day itself so finite.”
And that “Every sun has to set – to rise again.”
These quotes could be found embroidered on key pieces throughout the collection. One such jacket featured a setting (or rising, depending on your point of view) sun emblazoned on the back. It suggested a new day, a new dawn, and an end to darkness.
The first new collection made without Khalid, this A/W season is a fitting tribute to his memory, the strength of the Qasimi family and the rebirth of the Qasimi brand.
As the final line of the show’s notes read:
“Renewal, Rebirth, Immortality’ – a promise to strive to continue Khalid Al Qasimi’s legacy.”