“I am deeply passionate about Arab culture,” says Christophe Beaufays, senior designer and creative director of Lomar, a Saudi Arabian fashion brand known for its stylish men’s thobes. The Belgian designer, who once worked for Jean Paul Gaultier, recently shifted his fascination toward womenswear and, together with Saudi Arabia’s Princess Safia Hussein Guerras, created a 24-piece capsule collection of exquisitely tailored abayas. Lomar + Safia, launched at the end of January, is a modern statement of individualism and refinement, designed to attract women far beyond its headquarters in Jeddah.
“I’ve always wanted to make abayas that not only attract Saudi, Arab or Muslim women, but any woman who does not want to reveal too much, or likes to dress more conservatively,” explains Beaufays.
The collection, titled “Khaleeki Chic” (stay chic), has been designed for a sophisticated woman of international style, offering an alternative to the polyester abaya that falls shapelessly on the body. “We’ve kept the abayas mostly black and beige,” says Beaufays, “so that the focus is on the cut. And, while remaining minimal, we’ve added some shape and voluminous forms.”
The use of innovative fabrics, leather trimming, stylish belts and hand-embroidered detailing enhances this fashion-forward approach, referencing the Bedouin culture of embellishing beautifully structured outfits.
One of the abayas, made of a firm light-colored neoprene – a material traditionally used for wetsuits – has a collar of black embroidery with raw fringes. Another is made from a highly textured embossed nylon, informing its use in wet weather. “It’s a raincoat abaya,” says Beaufays. “The first of its kind!” He acknowledges that rain is not the predominant climatic condition in Saudi Arabia, but says that Lomar + Safia’s abayas were never designed to remain in the country. “We want women to wear these pieces wherever they travel. They can be worn anywhere, and they are suitable for all women in every part of the world.”