November 08, 2012 12:00 AM | by The Fustany Team
Getting to Know Judith Duriez
How did your fashion career start?
I was brought up in an environment with a true love for art; my parents passed their passion on to me, and I was introduced to the science of colors and sketches at an early age. I studied fashion design at the very prestigious Ecole de la Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture de Paris. For almost a decade, I perfected my skills whilst working side by side with master craftsmen for some of the most renowned French Haute Couture houses.
How did the name Arabesque come to your mind?
When I was working in Christian Lacroix’s Atelier in my early days in Paris, “Arabesque” was the name of one Haute Couture Collection masterpiece, and since then I had this name in my mind.
Having lived and studied abroad, how did it influence your designs?
The years spent in those prestigious fashion houses gave me a solid technical foundation of the French Haute Couture ‘savoir faire’ that I perfected through years of experience and hard work. Working with some of the masters of Haute Couture brings a unique French touch to my designs; to achieve the higher grade of quality as per French Haute Couture standards and the creativity Arabesque designs are famed for.
What are the main differences between being a fashion designer in Paris and in the UAE?
I don’t see any big difference between being a fashion designer in Paris and in the UAE, because on a day to day basis, the creative process is the same, the way I design and create my designs is exactly the same as when I was working in Paris. I do private fittings with my customers just like I did in Paris, and I set up my atelier in the UAE just like I would have done it in Paris.
What are the challenges of designing abayas and yet giving them a modern edge?
There is no doubt that today abaya has become a fashion statement, nevertheless, it is a traditional garment, a strong symbol of national identity, an essential part of Emirati culture. This is the most important thing to keep in mind while creating a new design. This is why I stick to black color, because I don’t want to distort the traditions. It might seem restricting at the first sight as you have to evolve within the limits of traditional shape and color, but in reality it is a blessing! Black is the fashion color by definition, it is eternally trendy and elegant, and it is a perfect base to work with. Whatever color is your embellishment, it will come out nicely on black.
How would you describe Arabesque in 3 words?
Creative, unique, French chic.
How would you describe the Arabesque woman?
We are targeting trendy local ladies in the GCC, and our aim is to cater all age groups. This is why we have a wide range of designs suiting for different occasions and for different styles. As a consequence, our range of price is quite wide, from the simple abaya to the most embellished one! The price differs according to the material used, such as embroideries, Chantilly lace, sequins, chiffon, etc. Our customers are looking for quality abaya with a perfect fitting and finishing along with innovative designs.
What's a fashion crime you can't tolerate?
Following blindly the trends without considering your own taste and personality, wearing clothes in which you don’t feel comfortable.
Who do you consider a style icon?
I would say without hesitation Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser Al Misnad’s, because she is a very elegant figure. She is a woman of timeless elegance, classic and simple, modest and humble even though she is one of the most powerful women in the world.
How would you describe fashion in the Middle East?
I think fashion in the Middle East is following main stream fashion trends from Fashion capitals like Paris, London, New York… Fashion has gone global nowadays.
Who from the international designers would you like to collaborate with?
It has to be Balenciaga! I love the brand for its minimalist designs, it is very avant-garde and trendy, plus they use the high quality materials and innovative processes.
What's the advice you would like to give to young up-and-coming designers?
I think that my best advice to a young designer would be to spend years studying technique in a good fashion school and to train with famous couture houses, so as to get a strong background and sharpen their skills.
Your favorite travel destination?
Far East for relaxing and Paris for work and inspiration.
My husband’s French cooking
And your favorite movie?
The King’s Speech