In the beguiling world of haute couture, it is rare to witness history being crafted on the runway, yet the Ashi Studio Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023 show did precisely that. An opulent spectacle of creativity and tradition, this collection marked a landmark moment for the fashion industry, with Mohammed Ashi standing tall as the first Saudi Arabian designer to grace the revered official calendar at Paris Couture Week.
Emerging from his eponymous label, Ashi Studio, founded in 2007, the Saudi designer has sashayed his way into the wardrobes of the crème de la crème, from Beyoncé’s glamorous ensemble to the dazzling attire worn by Phoebe Waller-Bridge at the London premiere of “Indiana Jones and the Dial of Destiny“. Yet, this occasion demanded something more extraordinary, a metamorphosis of sorts, a factor Mohammed Ashi acknowledged candidly.
Indeed, “The process is different, the thoughts are different, everything is different“, Ashi remarked backstage at the Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris’s famed venue that hosted the darkened stage, shrouded in an atmospheric layer of dry ice, for the Ashi Studio Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023 collection.
With the intricate narrative of Patrick Süskind’s novel “Perfume: The Story of a Murderer” as his muse, Ashi spun a tale of “dark romance“. His imagination transpired into visually stunning creations that juxtaposed sharp geometric designs with plush tactile fabrics, mimicking the intricate beauty of perfume bottles and bringing forth an aesthetic reminiscent of Jean Paul Gaultier’s legacy.
Defying the stereotypes of Middle Eastern design, the collection was a testament to the evolution of Ashi Studio Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2023, challenging traditional norms with audacious creations. An architectural black velvet gown deftly carved open at the sides, diaphanous slips, and a shirred black dress with a daring cutout bodice pushed the boundaries of his design philosophy.
Even as Ashi carves his distinct niche in the fashion world, his efforts contribute to a larger narrative. The designer’s foray into Paris Couture Week was notably separate from the “Saudi 100 Couture Showroom” organised by the Saudi Fashion Commission. Yet, his presence, he feels, paved the way for other brands to emerge from the shadows into the global spotlight.
At this pivotal juncture, with the world watching, Ashi finds himself with the opportunity and challenge to refine his signature style further. Creations like the blush pink silk tent gown, perched on a chunky serpentine diamanté neckline, although potential red carpet hits, call for a distinct design mark that resonates with the stature of a great designer.
©Photo: Ashi Studio / Daniele Oberrauch