Creativity knows no bounds at Al Raha Beach in Abu Dhabi
Creativity knows no bounds at Minbart. Kate Dobinson discovers its latest collection.
Shopping is an art to fashion entrepreneur Alia Al Qassimi. Minbart, derived from the Arabic word minbar, meaning ‘platform’, combined with art, is the name of Alia’s Abu Dhabi boutique gallery celebrating its first anniversary with a new spring/summer collection. The modern store stocks an upbeat collection of cool fashion items, avant-garde accessories, artworks and furniture, and is a launch pad for local and regional artists and fashion designers.
The store is soon to launch its online shop where fashion devotees can ‘join the tribe’ and Dubai shoppers can peruse the range without trekking down to Al Raha Beach. Minibart was originally conceived from an idea that creativity should know no bounds. It is aimed at women who are hungry for inspiration, says Alia. ‘Minbart is all about capturing, educating and investing in today’s modern women. The idea was born from my passion for creativity and a desire to add something different to the market place. The SS15 “As Delicate As You” range is our most exciting collection yet, featuring pieces from designers who have never showcased their work in the UAE before. Minbart brings the modern woman a runway-inspired collection of wearable styles, perfect for their action-packed lifestyles.’
The new collection marks one year since Minbart first opened its doors and features high-quality silk, chiffon and cotton with contemporary designs such as the midi skirt silhouette, tailored culottes, laid-back-luxe essentials, and classic gowns with a modern twist.
Minbart stocks more than 40 designers such as Lulu & Co, Frame Denim and Bionda Castana, but its heart is in finding and championing lesser-known, but exciting local, regional and international brands. Alia has spent the past seven years specialising in helping entrepreneurs develop their ideas and supporting young Arabs in unlocking their creative potential, through her previous role as advisor for creative campus and outreach at twofour54, the media hub near the capital’s Khalifa City. And perhaps not surprisingly, Minbart organises a number of creative initiatives, such as its shoe design competition – where more than 250 people painted their own Flossy plimsolls and shoes over three days and a percentage of the profit was given to charity.
In marking Minbart’s one year anniversary, Alia has not only released this new collection, but has collaborated with four artists from the UAE, Bahrain and Lebanon to create a limited-addition selection of T-shirts, which will be on sale in the store soon. ‘We are very excited for what is in store for us this year,’ Alia says. ‘We are launching our ecommerce site shortly, so customers can browse the latest collections and buy online. There are also more events to look forward to that will inspire our customers.’ Open daily, 10am-10pm. Al Muneera, Al Raha Beach, Abu Dhabi, www.minbart.com (02 552 2332).
Alia’s SS15 look book
Carven demonstrates this season’s girl is urban with a touch of couture. Its feminine sportswear shows how embroidered cottons and stretch materials can work seamlessly together.
Tibi gives the elegant midi skirt a nautical stripe to the silk-gazar style. It sits high on the waist with a pleated A-line shape and features side-seam pockets. Wear it with the matching ‘tromp-l’oeil’ top and sleek black accessories.
Culottes are the must have of the season and offer a relaxed fit. Wide-leg culottes accentuate the waist and create flattering volume with pleating on the front. Wear accompanied with a cropped sweater or a slim-fit blouse.
Bazza Alzouman’s SS15 collection is a follow up to the launch of her first namesake collection in the fall of last year. This collection, ‘Wild Romanticism’, is a slightly unravelled display of the female form. It is comprised of pieces that accentuate and flatter the body through an effortless combination of classic silhouettes with modern twists.
Power to the people: the stores giving small names a big voice…
Maya’s Closet Fashion that is handmade with attention to detail that is not easily found anywhere, is Sawsan Ghanem, its founder’s promise. It features a mélange of Western fashion concepts and the exotic mysticism of the Middle East. www.mayas-closet.com.
Carla Douss is the brains behind this online boutique stocking items from Sass & Bide as well also lesser-known designers such as Australian label Maurie & Eve. www.carlas-closet.com.
Features quirky designs that think outside the box, such as Arabesque Deco by Ralph Masri, inspired by Arabian architecture. www.shopatsauce.com.