YOU SHALL GO TO THE BALL

AN­GELA BEITZ CAUGHT UP WITH AMANDA WAKE­LEY TO TALK COU­TURE, THIS SEA­SON’S SIL­HOU­ETTES AND HER IN­TRIGUE BE­HIND THE MID­DLE EAST­ERN ABAYA

Emirates Woman - - Frontrow/Interview -

“I’VE CRE­ATED MY OWN SIZE RANGE THAT ISN’T NUM­BER BASED SO IT’S EI­THER CALLED SKINNY MINI OR SU­PER LUXE AND SO ON”

O n meet­ing Bri­tish de­signer, Amanda Wake­ley, it wasn’t just her ex­quis­ite gowns that we were taken with. It was her enthusiasm be­hind her col­lec­tions and her pas­sion on de­sign­ing dresses for ‘real’ women – that and be­ing pos­si­bly one of the warm­est de­sign­ers we’ve ever met. CON­GRAT­U­LA­TIONS ON YOUR LAT­EST VEN­TURE WITH ETOILE. TELL US ABOUT IT… I’ve in­tro­duced 25 styles of gowns that are semi-cou­ture. I feel that women need some­thing more be­spoke and I have given them the op­por­tu­nity to do this. They want qual­ity, lots of em­bel­lish­ment and ul­ti­mately to feel spe­cial. You may see one of the dresses in the collection and it may be white with sil­ver bead­ing, but you can or­der it cus­tom-made in navy with gold bead­ing and so on. WHAT CAN WE EX­PECT FROM THE DEMI-ATE­LIER COLLECTION? All of the dresses are named af­ter iconic women or god­desses and that’s ex­actly how I want the wearer to feel. There is an el­e­ment of ro­man­ti­cism in the collection and I feel that they trans­form and em­power women the same way a nicely cut suit can em­power a man. I was re­ally in­spired by this and I can’t tell you enough how much I just love fabrics. The feath­ers, the bead­ing, the beau­ti­ful fabrics; they are sim­ply stun­ning.

“I FEEL THE EL­E­GANT STYLE OF THE HERA GOWN WILL AP­PEAR TO A MORE CON­SER­VA­TIVE MID­DLE EAST­ERN CUS­TOMER”

DARE WE ASK, WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE PIECE? I al­ways laugh as it’s sup­posed to be so non-PC to pick a favourite but I have to say I am par­tic­u­larly taken with the Cleopa­tra (a low back navy blue gown). It’s so strik­ing and has real wow-fac­tor. AS A WOMAN DE­SIGN­ING FOR WOMEN, HOW DO YOU WANT PEOPLE TO FEEL IN YOUR CRE­ATIONS? I want women to feel gor­geous. I’ve cre­ated my own size range that isn’t num­ber based so it’s ei­ther called Skinny Mini or Su­per Luxe and so on. I don’t like giv­ing women a num­ber such as ‘you’re a 10, or you’re a 12’. I like to be re­spect­ful of women as my clients. It’s im­por­tant that I am in­tu­itive about these things. DE­SCRIBE THE TYP­I­CAL AMANDA WAKE­LEY LADY? She’s 32 in her mind, she’s age­less. She wants to com­bine out­fits that are time­less but very glam. She wants ver­sa­til­ity and prac­ti­cal pieces that are also very fash­ion for­ward and that need to work hard. I be­lieve women want longevity and rel­e­vance from their pieces. HOW DID IT ALL BE­GIN? I to­tally taught my­self to de­sign. My mum can’t sew a stitch and my dad is a sur­geon so he does an­other kind of stitch­ing. From a very young age I started to teach my­self how to sew. I’ve al­ways been re­ally ex­cited by beau­ti­ful fabrics and tex­tures so I started to make clothes for my­self and friends – that’s how it all be­gan. YOUR DE­SIGNS WERE FEA­TURED IN BOND MOVIE SKY­FALL, IS THIS A BENCH­MARK FOR YOU AS A DE­SIGNER? That was such a ‘wow’ mo­ment for us. We went to the pre­miere and when we saw Bond girl Naomie Har­ris wear­ing one of my yel­low gowns in the casino scene we couldn’t con­tain our ex­cite­ment. WHAT ARE YOUR THOUGHTS ON WOMEN’S STYLE IN DUBAI? I think it’s fab­u­lous and I’m com­pletely taken with the abayas, the em­bel­lish­ments and the way women are cre­at­ing their in­di­vid­ual style with them. I can’t stop look­ing at them. I think there’s a de­mand for be­spoke dress­ing here, which is why I de­cided to bring this collection here. I also feel Etoile of­fers a very per­sonal shop­ping ex­pe­ri­ence so it fits well. DID YOU HAVE ANY PAR­TIC­U­LAR WOMEN IN MIND WHEN DE­SIGN­ING THE COLLECTION? I didn’t have one in mind per se, but I was in­spired by the sen­su­al­ity of the abayas and the way the fab­ric moves. I feel the el­e­gant style of the Hera gown will ap­peal to a more con­ser­va­tive Mid­dle East­ern cus­tomer. WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOUR BRAND? We are open­ing out flag­ship store in May­fair. I’ve thor­oughly en­joyed pick­ing the in­te­ri­ors – ev­ery­thing from the suede touches on the ban­is­ters to the plush car­pet in the change rooms. It’s an ex­cit­ing time for Amanda Wake­ley. n The Amanda Wake­ley Demi-Ate­lier collection is avail­able at Etoile, Mall Of The Emi­rates (04) 3505333

THE WOMAN BE­HIND THE STUN­NING GOWNS

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