The 8th Edition of Cairo Fashion Festival (CFF) just took place last Friday at Cairo Festival City (CFC) and our fashion writers attended for a healthy – or not so healthy – dose of fashion addiction and gossip. Lobna EL Zayan had already attended and organized previous Cairo Fashion Festival events, while it was Mariem ELTagoury’s first attendance. Today they dish out their critique and reviews on Cairo’s biggest fashion event of the season.
CFF is one of my favorite seasonal events! I can definitely see progress happening. Regarding the organization of the event, I noticed a huge number of organizers in the place – and I recall back then we were around 10 volunteers in season 2, including our supervisors. I love that the event is growing with all its tiny details, starting with the number of volunteers to all possible details.
One of the major turn offs I experienced this season is the separation of the bazar and the main event spot. Definitely the timings were horrible for me! I know that timings in such events are not sharp, but why would they state that the event starts at 3 PM and ends at 10 PM while it started at 7:30 PM and by 10 PM the event was not even close to ending…?
I loved the addition of chairs to the theater, as previously we would sit on the theater’s ground steps; the band and its private stage, that was a very nice addition as well; the glimmering CFF sign and DHL’s huge banner as well. I loved the theme of the presentation stage, which looked like a carousel; I also liked the fact that there were a lot of photographers covering the event and how friendly they were.
For an event that stirs so much digital hype, I expected more. When you drive into CFC there are no signs or indications as to where the event is located. The security personnel at different gates were also confused since there are around 3 other ongoing events in the place so it was not easy for them to figure out which one fits the ticket. It took me 45 minutes to reach my desired location. I thought I was late, since it stated on the ticket that they start at 3pm. They started around 7.30pm! FOUR AND A HALF HOURS LATER! If you want to become an international item, you shall have to take timing more seriously; an hour delay is understandable, but 4 plus hours is a huge deal.
Add to that the idea of trying to cram everyone into very limited high seats and not allowing them into the atrium just did not make sense. If there are not enough seats in your waiting zone, do you expect people to wait while standing for 4 plus hours in desert heat to get into an atrium!? Extreme! The music was great though; I really did enjoy the band, and it was such a shame they couldn’t stay until the opening of the atrium!
Mariem: I was telling Lobna that the enjoyable thing about fashion events is you get a show on the runway and off the runway. I would like to give an applause to Oppo’s choice for their reps; I kind of like the sleek white dresses they were wearing for the event. I noticed that a lot of attendees were wearing lingerie inspired dresses and tops, mesh was also dominating the scene; I cannot say I was a fan. One of the trends I did like though was “the sleek belted jumpsuit”; definitely something up my alley and I would love to try it very soon.
Lobna: I did not recognize a huge number of fashion icons nor celebrities like the former seasons. The ones who showed up arrived relatively late. I recall only seeing Hana Shiha, Hany Adel, Yara El Gendy, and Wadih El Najjar.
Some of the attendees were young and others not so much, but were generally not into the fashion industry; they only wanted to attend a glamorous event, take some photos on the red carpet to share with their networks and prove how cool they are! No offence, but I believe the initial seasons’ invitations process was more suitable, as the organisers knew the attendees’ details and invited those they believed would be genuinely interested.
Lobna: I believe the number of tables and chairs offered to the attendees for sitting and waiting until the main theater is opened were relatively few considering the heavy traffic and the late theater opening.
Mariem: I think it was quite retarded to present some of the designers’ works on a side stage at the entrance with limited seats and other designers’ works presented on the main runway stage in the atrium. So as an attendee, you are sort of split between two locations: one which had limited seatings and the other with unguaranteed seatings! Also, where was the event’s programme?!
Lobna: From daring and glamorous to Barbie doll style and simple monochrome dresses…I loved her collection although there were a couple of dresses that seemed very mainstream for me. But overall, I loved that she made dress for almost every girl’s taste and personality.
Mariem: Can we take a moment to compliment the choice of music for this one? The French Dalida songs in the background were just a turn on! My personal favorites were her shiny evening gowns; one was in white with feminine florals, the other was a more daring asymmetrical black.
Mariem: I liked her signature touch of butterflies and birds, which was a key inspiration note in the collection. I also liked how she included different styles in the collection: the nude toned, one shoulder dress had a more feminine touch, the black dress – seen in the photo – had a rocker chic vibe, and the full skirts were on the preppy girly side. A twist for every fashion taste while still maintaining a signature note; it is something I really appreciate in a designer.
Lobna: I loved the last two dresses, since they were very elegant. I loved the fabrics, cuts, and the nature-inspired icons she added, like the butterflies. Overall, Eva’s designs were delightful.
Mariem: From the design that won her DHL’s competition, it is apparent that Norine is about interesting cuts rather than extravagant embroidery. I think making the fabric the centre of attention was a smart move that really made her stand out from the crowd. My personal favourites were her dreamy maxi dresses and skater-like mini dresses.
Lobna: THE FABRICS! The colors and inspiration theme were a wow for me; I really loved them. I believe her cuts were not new as she focused more on how to show us the fabrics’ design in the suited cut.
Lobna: The lovely winner of London College of Fashion; I loved all of her collection, she has real talent and deserves it!
Mariem: Her designs were bold and different. Her signature for this collection was all white empowered with golden details. My personal favourite… the jumpsuit she was wearing *sigh*!
Least Favourite Designers
It was a below-average collection in our opinion. It was not just that most of the outfits were not new or interesting, but even when you started to like an outfit, you would question the season. It is supposed to be a Spring/Summer RTW collection; you see a sexy bodycon dress with a side slit, puffed Juliet-like sleeves, a turtleneck, and a badge that looks out of place and think “interesting”…for a creative formal event in December that is! The poncho-inspired items were fine, but the floral fabrics were poor and felt more suited for PJs. We did not like the materials used for this overall collection.
Politics still made it to the runway, however we weren’t sure what that political/satirist statement was supposed to be!
Lobna: I will always love this event and check it out, even if I don’t attend it. Cairo will be the capital of fashion once again soon enough.
Mariem: In spite of my frustration with the organisation, I do want to attend the next event. I am quite proud of all the young Egyptian designers giving Cairo a spot on the fashion map.
Do you find the event relatable for average young Cairene youth? Did you perhaps attend the event? What are your expectations from such an event? Let us know your thoughts in the comments.