Creating an oriental style moodboard is easier said than done. It is quite a challenge to define ‘oriental style’ since it is a broad term which can be interpreted in different ways. And so I started browsing Stylight’s fashion database to find contemporary looks that fit the label ‘oriental’. Reviewing Indian and Middle Eastern fashion designs and writing about it on a weekly basis has given me a good idea of what ‘oriental fashion’ is all about. I decided not to go for the stereotypical definitions of oriental fashion like ‘the colorful hippy chick’. Instead of taking the easy road and selecting all items with Indian prints, I decided to search for subtle ‘oriental’ details hidden in contemporary fashion designs. I came up with this approach after seeing the Elie Saab Haute Couture A/W 2013 fashion show at Paris Fashion Week. Elie Saab is a well known Lebanese designer who creates magic on the runway with his fairytale gowns. Whenever I look at his contemporary pieces, whether it is haute couture or ready-to-wear, I feel there is a hint of the orient incorporated into his designs. Some gowns are draped and embroidered similar to Indian gowns, other gowns are very modest, simple, in maxi lengths and resemble a Middle Eastern look. These subtle hints are what makes a fashion orientalist like me very excited! Designers often draw inspiration from their exotic travels abroad or feel nostalgic for their oriental roots, which is translated into their designs.
So what makes a look oriental? I decided to go for two themes: Bright, Bold and Colorful, referring to Indian fashion and Sophisticated & Modest reflecting Middle Eastern styles. The key ‘words’ that pop up into my head when I think about Indian fashion are: colorful, draping, pleated skirts, sheer fabrics, sparkly, intricate embroidery, prints, patterns, palazzo pants and so on.
When I step into the world of Middle Eastern fashion design I think of the following words: modesty, conservative fashion, maxi length dresses and skirts, harem pants, kaftan dresses, loosely fitted clothing, scarves, simplicity and effortless sophistication.
With my list of guidelines and keywords I started my quest and eventually found a few items you can use to create your own oriental look. I opted for warm colors like pinks, corals and peaches along with some softer pastel tones that are beautiful for a summer look. I chose: pleated skirts, exotic prints, embroidered dresses with a touch of sparkle, florals and statement gold accessories to finish the looks. I tried to be innovative when selecting the looks and kept an international mindset while trying not to miss out on the traditional elements that are important to the eastern way of dressing. Check out the gallery for the result!
View our Fashion Orientalist profile on STYLIGHT: http://www.stylight.nl/fashionorientalist/
Items in order of appearance: 1. Cocktail dress from French Connection. 2. Hairband by Deepa Gurnani. 3. Top, Ralph Lauren. 4. Skirt by Manish Arora. 5. Dolce & Gabbana trousers. 6. Ralph Lauren maxi skirt. 7. Supertrash dress. 6. Isharya earrings. 7. Supertrash blouse. 8. Blugirl maxi skirt. 9. Pallazo pants by Roberto Cavalli. 10. Ralph Lauren maxi dress. 11. Sweet Deluxe necklace. 12. Fornarina top. 13. Isharya bracelet. 14. Ralph Lauren shorts. 15. Fendi purse. 16. Dolce & Gabbana skirt.
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