MBFWA review: Said Mahrouf, master of minimal draperies

By Anna Portella

The world’s elite league of fashion weeks are getting their catwalks ready to host the new FW17 collections over the following month – starting at New York and followed by London, Milan and Paris. However to witness rather uncommon, risky and less market-driven (and probably less budget) fashion concepts we should step back to second-raw platforms.

For example, the 080 Barcelona Fashion is closing today and Amsterdam has just hosted the 26th edition of the Mercedes Benz Fashion Week Amsterdam (MBFWA).

Said Mahrouf “Lines and panels” opening show

From orange sweatshirts and fur coats to Chanel bags and high-heel sandals, all were most welcome at the MBFWA’s official opening. It was an extravaganza to honor Dutch and Belgian fashion that took place at De Gashouder and Said Mahrouf’s SS17 collection Lines and Panels fired the opening shot on Friday 27.

The Dutch-Moroccan starring proposals for 2017 are loose long trousers and dresses or (over) skirts, many trailing behind. The designer opts for high-waisted lower body garments combined with asymmetric crossed tied shirts or crop tops furnished with overlapped pleats.

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Mahrouf proposes loose long trousers, dresses and (over) skirts for SS17.

In particular it stood out some outfits of crossed V draped blouses over pants that evoked the traditional Indian and Pakistan outfit salwar kameez. Certainly long side or front-tied blouses wrapping shorts or long trousers gives the collection a discreet exotic air. Possibly Mahrouf’s experiences in Jakarta and Dubai have influenced his last creations.

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Some suits evoked traditional Indian salwar kameez (right). Pic by MBFWA (left) and Haya Creations (right).

“Lines and panels” also counts on Mahrouf’s never-missing tight-high slit dresses. This time black dresses with V deep depicted cleavages that exalted woman’s refined neck leaped out; altough a stylish long-sleeve leg-baring dress in a golden ochre hue caught the public’s eye.

However the Casablanca-based designer’s quintessential flagship is the all-present draperies and overlapped creases, fruit from the creator’s use of moulage or draping.

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Drapes and pleats that remind of origami shapes. Pic by MBFWA (left) and Saper Galleries (right).

This technique consists of working on the stand by draping and pinning fabric remnants, as if the designer were making rope origami shapes onto a mannequin, until the garment’s silhouette is defined.

Said Mahrouf is himself recognized in an occasion that the use of draping determines his final compositions.

Indeed the designer’s garments are easy to identify because of their asymmetrical flowing draperies, creases doubling over one another and crossed ties that turn the seam lines spotless. All in all it gives the impression that Mahrouf tries to confuse the spectator – Is that a dress? A blouse? An overskirt? All them tied together?

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 Mahrouf’s plays at confusing the spectator – “Is that a dress? A blouse? An overskirt? All them tied together?” Pic by MBFWA.

This is why “Lines and panels” designs come to be “360 garments” since the climax only comes after circling round the outfits for a complete viewing – ideal to surprise “turning heads”. In “Lines and Panels,” for example, while dresses’ front sides are an exhibition of origami fabric works, backs are left for a game of cut-outs, knots and laces.

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“360” outfits – surprising backs with laces, knots and cut-outs.

The use of moulage also allows Mahrouf to use the same dresses’ fabrics for decorative purposes so that although the final creations may seem a disarray of folds over folds and knots, the use of unobtrusive monocolor textiles makes the overall compositions look minimalistic.

Compared to the last collection he presented at the MBFWA and although “Lines and panels” looks are for the SS17 season, Mahrouff has turned his colour palette’s light off. Combinations of green bottle&black, grey&golden beige, bordeaux tones and basics black&white fitted with golden threads that make the outfits glittery at distance.

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One of the most colorful looks of the collection – a red, silver and black striped dress.

“Lines and panels” displays Mahrouf’s expertise in drawing elegant woman’s silhouette. The complete collection was already presented at the Fashion Forward Dubai in October 2016, where his brand’s reputation is growing. Indeed chosing Mehdi Flifli’s music, a Moroccan musician, with exotic voices over an electronic rhythm base for the show helped to catch the collection’s gentle eastern influences.

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