Franca Sozzani, editor in chief of Vogue Italy organizes around forty events based on the fashion industry. The style globetrotter, goes everywhere in the world where the magazine is surely read by everyone and where she intends to make it the bible of fashion lovers.
This week end, Dubai was celebrating the second edition of the Vogue Fashion Experience. The event was organized by the Dubai Mall, a shopping center doesn’t sound very chic, but the number of people visiting is exceptional, around 65 millions per year, Franca insists, “ It’s incredible! where can you fit so many people at an international standard ? no where else than Dubai !” I have to admit it was very weird to watch a fashion show in the middle of a hive activity, where people would go to the cinema, where tourists were looking for Zara. Fashion is certainly glamorous, but still is an industry like any other, and this is why we were there.
Franca exports what she already does best in Italy : Discover and promote young designers and independent labels. During four days, we meet them and end up being on first-name terms with some of them. We could have had expected only “Local” designers but Franca has a “Global” vision, the most realistic editor pushes goes further and proposes that some sort of “tutorials” should be giving to young designers that are attached to their ethnic style, enabling them to create and produce clothes that will be worn by the French or New Yorkers, not only people from the same origins. But making it more commercial won’t curb their creativity ? “No because it isn’t necessarily coming to a compromise.” She gave Stella Jean as an exemple, who brought together two different worlds in her collection. Wax and stripes. Those fabrics reminds her of her father’s origins, of Turin, Haiti and her mother. In her latest collection of spring summer 2015, notably shown in Dubai, she integrated handwoven textiles by embroideresses, made in Burkina Faso and Mali and jewelry from Haiti.
We may regret that there are no clear criteria of selection like in Italy where designers inevitably must produce their collections in Italy, no matter what his nationality is. Sara Maino, the right-hand woman of Franca Sozzani and her team opted for subjective criteria that are originality, concept and the designer’s personality.
Last year, the Vogue Fashion dubai experience was stuffed into one day. For the second edition, Franca Sozzani and the Dubai Mall extended the experience for a period of three consecutive days. The perfect occasion to promote fresh talents that did not show their collection, such as the talented Saoudian Reem al Kanhal, there were those rounded tables where major personalities of the fashion world, lent themselves to a question/answer game with the public, exhibitions were held in the Dubai Mall accessible to everyone and to bring to a close the gala charity dinner in favor of the worldwide food program of the United Nations that brought together a good number of local and international celebrities.
It could provoke a smile, the fashion world that advocates extreme slenderness but remains philanthropic towards the rest of the world. This would mean not really knowing Franca Sozzani, she’s the one who launched the Black Vogue, she’s for diversity in the fashion world and before the Vogue US decided to show Lupita Nyong’oa on the cover, it’s under her direction that the actress Kenyane got photographed. She is not only interested in what’s happening in Europe, and she informed me that they are planning to launch a Vogue Talent in Africa…
What do we keep in mind about the Vogue Fashion Dubai Experience ? A fashion melting pot much to the image of the Emirates, they represent 10% of Arabs forming Dubai’s population, all the rest are foreigners.