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An evening with Walid Atallah

I reckon we are super lucky to live in a city that has amazing fashion designers and Walid Attalah has to be one the leading ones not just regionally but Internationally. Afterall he is internationally known for his exquisite evening and bridal designs, and for his skillful use of diamonds, precious stones and Swarovski crystals – remember that beautiful wedding dress worth U.S. $ 1.2 million that created waves in the fashion industry (I think that’s when I first really noticed his work).

We are both born in 1973 so I totally admire the fact that Walid has reached so much higher success than I could ever do and love listening to him about his journey to where he is in the fashion scene today as inspiration. Thanks to Ashraf and his impromtu coffee timings, I got to spend an evening early last week with Walid for a tour of his shop and got a sneak peek on what’s coming next and what drives him creatively for his awesome collections.

Walid was born in Beirut in an affectionate family who were inspired by beauty and style. He naturally followed his heart, studied fashion designing and graduated from University of Chicago. I was fortunate to watch him work as he flitted through his base in Dubai looking, touching and contemplating his designs in progress. Walid chose Dubai to launch his fashion-design career using fascinating designs mixing the charm of the East with the West. He was the first designer to add diamonds in his collection – every woman desires his outfits, which makes his final ensemble very irresistible.

Today Walid has made his mark in the to fashion capitals of the world by introducing numerous collections of dozens of memorable fashion pieces at his shows which have been a success throughout the Arab world, Italy and France, where he received the International Design Excellence Award of the Association of French Fashion Designers. He has made two appearances at the Couture Fashion Week in New York two years in a row with a favorable and enthusiastic response from the audience and peers in the fashion industry. He has also done shows in London and Toronto that he is very proud of.

While walking around looking at his gowns, I also discovered that Walid has his own line of luxury jewelry made of diamonds, rubies, sapphires, emeralds, blue pearls from the sea and Tahiti, and fine watches. Not only that, this talented and versatile designer has also launched a Ready-to-wear line called “W”, which includes jeans and tops for women in fashion and modern today.

It was also interesting to see beautiful shoes as I walked around looking at Walid Atallah’s dresses and he tells us how after the shoes and jewellery, his next venture will be to do a perfume. Naturally his passion for always spending time sketching as a hobby has paid off. Initially he was designing dresses for his sister, including once making a dress for her from a blanket and then did costumes for theatrical productions at school. He knew he had made the right choice when he felt immense joy after seeing the end product of his dress made out of diamonds and emeralds.

Walid who is married with one daughter and two sons is delighted that his daughter is showing an interest in the fashion design industry. He feels more inspired now to continue his expansion plans to other Emirates as well as Qatar, Saudi and Oman. And although Walid feels he has become more moderate with his designs, its only because he wants to concentrate more on the creation of originals which reflect different types of femininity. He is inspired by beauty, by dreams, flowers, nature, gold, birds and other elements of nature and he feels the variety is reflected in his new collections.

My first introduction to Walid and his beautiful wife was at a fashion show that Walid specifically worked on for Mercedes-Benz. Since then, he has done various unique shows, all very commendable with Rolls Royce, which I thoroughly enjoyed in Abu Dhabi and with LG and Philips. To make the optimum use of his time, Walid likes to focus on work during his most productive and creative hours. If this comes at 5am, then he will get up and sketch instead of keeping to the usual working hours…. I am a strong believer in this way of working after talking to so many successful people in the creative industry.

Walid hopes now to continue to expand his business with more branches in UAE, Qatar, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and Libya and is looking at other vibrant markets….I know he will make it happen!