The fashion industry is taking notice of the Gulf and for all the right reasons. Our local designer’s creations that have graced the international red carpets and are worn by celebrities worldwide are turning heads with their artistic designs. We spoke to some of the savants of design who have put the Middle East on the fashion map
Furne One, designer and owner of the brand Amato Haute Couture has never been in higher demand than he is now. He quickly made his way up the fashion ladder and is regarded as one of the most anticipated designers on the global fashion stage
Who were your early influences in your life for your choice to be a designer?
I’ve grown up flipping through fashion amagazines where they featured the masters of fashion design. Yves Saint Laurent, Christian Dior, Gaultier and Coco Chanel were few of the many people who inspired me and opened my eyes to the wonderful world of fashion.
Did you face any obstacles growing up?
As a boy, I would keep to myself and spend most of my time alone with my imagination, sketching away dresses. As I grew older, I became a little rebellious. In time, I grew out of that phase and started focusing on my career to becoming a successful designer. I find the entire creative process very fulfilling, as it is exciting. From conceptualizing ideas and sketching the design, to the sewing and finishing, it still amazes me how a simple imagination can come to life. Being able to create a dress that people appreciate the most rewarding experience for any designer. Moreover, what matters is that you create something that speaks to your audience and make them see your vision.
Your designs are so beautiful and detailed, what inspires you to be so creative?
I always keep my eyes open for new sources of inspiration. I take everything from photography, music, art, travel and even everyday objects as sources of inspiration that I use in creating new collections. From what I heard from the people I’ve worked with, the Amato touch is defined by the intricate detailing, romance and drama all packed into one garment.
What made you move into ‘Ready to Wear’?
I think it has so much potential. Amato has such a wide range of followers and the demand for more casual and affordable dresses is actually overwhelming. With the power of today’s social media, fashion has become very accessible and with that comes the demand for whatever’s trending on the streets and the runways. That’s the reason I started Amato Pret-A-Porter in the first place. I wanted to cater to that younger audience. We wanted to be able to cater to all of our followers, not just the socialites and royalties but also to the everyday woman/girl who want to try being bold and edgy. Our ready- to- wear line consists of basic pieces but with a twist, of course! The goal is to create something that is plain and simple into something equally intricate and opulent as an Amato haute couture gown – but for a lower cost.
What made you choose Dubai?
I majored in Fine Arts in college. I left and started out as a Visual Artist for a mall in my country. I also dabbled in designing shoes for a local brand. My big break was probably after I won a major fashion design competition in the Philippines. Designer, Josei Natori took me under her wing and brought me to Paris and New York to work for her as an apprentice. I was young and adventurous. Dubai seemed like an exotic adventure for me. It was a new and growing city that held so many possibilities.
Do you remember the first international celebrity you dressed? Tell us about that moment. How did that happen?
I think it was Katy Perry. Her stylist contacted me and asked me to design outfits for Katy’s California Dream Tour. It was quite an overwhelming experience. After her, the rest of the celebrities followed. Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj, Shakira, Rita Ora and the list goes on and on. It also helps to make connections in the industry such as stylists, editors and photographers. I got to dress Katy Perry again this year, which is always an amazing experience. She’s just so beautiful inside and out.
If there a celebrity you wanted to dress, dead or alive, who would it be?
Cate Blanchett. She really is the ideal Amato woman. She has style and substance. Cate dares to wear anything out of the ordinary but still remains elegant and graceful. She isn’t afraid to look different from the other celebrities, which I think is what makes her an exquisite muse.
How long does it take to construct a piece?
It depends on the design of the dress. Most of the time our clients come to us requesting dramatic big ball gowns with intricate details and embellishments. It takes about three months or more if there are big adjustments or additional work. Haute Couture requires an eye for minute details and a unique taste. Unlike Ready-To-Wear, Haute Couture is a long and intricate process that needs dedication and patience.
When designing for a celebrity, what are things that you take into consideration?
When I designed outfits for Katy Perry’s tour, her stylist had briefed me of the theme/concept of her tour, which was colourful, playful and somewhat whimsical. The same goes with Beyonce’s Mrs. Carter Tour film, which was an all white avant-garde queen look and a couture fairytale theme for Nicki Minaj’s Va VA Voom music video. When it comes to their red carpet looks, I usually go for glamour and drama. It really doesn’t differ that much from dressing ordinary clients. But it definitely adds a skip to my step when you find out that a famous celebrity chose your designs out of all the many other designers out there.
What is your advice for upcoming designers getting into haute couture?
A lot of young designers think that the fashion industry is just about pretty dresses, fabulous parties and being famous. They often forget about the responsibilities that go along with it. The truth is,it’s all about having a clear vision of your aesthetic, good business acumen, hard work and perseverance.