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Elie Domit on Fashion: Story of a Lifetime

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Fashionistas and shutterbugs are convening in Dubai next month for a much anticipated fashion photography exhibit to be staged by The Empty Quarter Gallery. A grand show set to open the exhibition season, Fashion: Story of a Lifetime brings together an exquisite collection of vintage and modern prints by celebrated fashion photographers whose lifetime stories are woven into the very fabric of 20th century high fashion.

Iconic images, many of which are to be seen in Dubai for the first time, are paired with the remarkable story of Parveen Shaath, a true fashionista avant la lettre from Saudi Arabia.

Miss Shaath dedicated her life to the very subject of these photographs, haute couture dresses, collecting the best specimens for the inner circles of Saudi society.

A number of these dresses, by fashion houses of note, such as Belville Sassoon– known to dress royalty – Victoria Royal, and vintage labels like Paul Louis Orrier and Nettie Vogues – who supplied Princess Diana’s formal engagement dress – will be on display in the gallery.

The result is a museum quality exhibition offering a rare opportunity in the Gulf region to experience the magical power of fashion.

Offering vintage couture, sartorial frames, and an enchanting life story of a true-blue fashionista, we are absolutely certain the exhibition will sell itself to the most exciting crowd in Dubai. But we want to know much more than what’s going to be on offer – Why is it here? How does it relate to the local industry in the UAE?

We ask Elie Domit, curator of Fashion: Story of a Lifetime and creative director at The Empty Quarter Gallery, to spill the beans to La Moda Dubai.

What is the objective of this exhibition and how does this exhibition relate to the fashion industry here in the region?

The intention of the exhibition is to present the unique aesthetics and narrative approach of the many iconic photographers presented in this group show. Furthermore, the exhibition alludes to social and cultural issues that have passed over several decades.

Everyone of the photographers exhibiting in this show has worked for the most important magazines and publications from the middle of the 1940’s onwards. They were also known and praised for their innovative and fresh approach to experimentation, many of them, such as Lillian Bassman, never actually used any assistance or hired an art director on the set and they printed their own images.

We were fortunate enough to dig deep into the archives for shoots done in locations within the region, including Lebanon, Egypt and Morocco. The show illustrates the internationalisation of the work due to extensive traveling.

Documents and archival material give a brief outline of the photographer’s long career. For more than four decades of fashion photography, these photographers practically wrote the book on fashion history with their work and shaped the perception of fashion photography. They have set the stage for the ever-changing vogues, defined postures and gestures of models, chose props and locations and thus reflected the ideals of beauty and the history of fashion against a changing social background.

Click through to the next page for the rest of this exclusive interview with Elie Domit on Fashion: Story of a Lifetime.

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