Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Recalling Villa Moda Damascus

Widely responsible for putting Kuwait on the fashion map, Villa Moda recently began shuttering its locations across the Middle East. This week the Polyglot looks back on one of its most stunning outposts.

In March of 2006 Sheikh Majed Al-Sabah unveiled what could best be described as his most unique and luxurious Villa Moda outpost to date. Nestled in the heart of Damascus’s old souk, this stunning fashion emporium was housed in a former 17th Century Caravan-Sarai. Al-Sabah poured millions into its restoration, covering its courtyard with a glass ceiling from which hung a monumental crystal chandelier the color of rubies.

In contrast to its much larger outposts in Kuwait, Dubai and Bahrain, Villa Moda Damascus offered a more intimate venue, where one could browse through an eclectic selection of designer brands, displayed together with Syrian antiques, silver jewelry and lustrous silks sourced by Al Sabah himself.

No expense was spared on details, commissioning Syrian artisans to create display cases and tables in exquisitely carved wood, inlayed with mother of pearl; many of which could also be purchased. In this setting worthy of a Thousand and One Arabian Nights, patrons could browse through the latest offerings from Prada, Saint Laurent and Lanvin, displayed alongside furniture designed by Marc Newson, Capellini, Marcel Wanders and Frank Gehry.

To launch the new store Al-Sabah invited an international group of designers and influential editors from Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar and Wallpaper, who descended on Damascus for a glittering party at the new store, followed by a dinner in a historic Damascus residence. Some of the Kuwaiti guests in attendance wore Prada caftans designed exclusively for Villa Moda.

Sheikh Majed Al-Sabah’s innovative approach to retailing included commissioning Lebanese graphic designer Rana Salam and New York-based Egyptian photographer Nabil Youssef to create Villa Moda’s ad campaigns.

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1 comment:

Heba Elkayal said...

*sigh* why do fashion fairy tales of that sort have to end?