The name Atelier Zuhra is synonymous with luxury and creativity. It is no stranger to the world of fashion, owned by the Omani designer Rayan Al Sulaimani who successfully took her brand to great heights and gained recognition for her outstanding work on an international level. As she defines her signature as: “My signature aesthetic is classic and elegant. I like to keep my designs sleek and clean with a hint of bling.” Whilst showcasing her work at the London Fashion Week 2020 at the Royal Opera House, she featured her collection: “The Immaculate Flight of the Phoenix”. When questioned why this title, she explains: “Similar to the symbol of the phoenix which is a powerful specie in the mythical world, rebirths over and over again in one’s imagination; this immaculate bird represents the concept where the end is considered as the beginning.”
Remaining sincere to her Omani heritage, Al Sulaimani believes the Middle Eastern culture is a definite source of inspiration for all her creations. “Being born and brought up here, I have grown up with this beautiful culture and knowingly or unknowingly it is reflected in my designs. A lot of inspiration is derived from nature and art.” Her work blends beautiful tailoring with modern innovations as she emphasizes: “We have used a palette of black and grey representing the ashes, lilac and other ethereal playful colours since they are associated with the emerging sun and fire which illuminate the sky.” There is a greater emphasis on aesthetic in the recent collection which is “cohesive but with an extraordinaire twist” despite the pressure she faced but she describes it as a “good pressure with good energy around me” For her, the London Fashion Week experience is an excellent opportunity enabling her collection to gain exposure globally through this platform set in the heart of London.
When asked about her opinion on the fashion market in the Gulf region evolving and the role of governments and fashion institutions, Al Sulaimani points: “Things are changing quickly, I believe people appreciate and respect fashion designers more than before. For instance, people in Oman and the Middle East are entirely updated with the current fashion trends and internationally is becoming aware of our designers.” It is pivotal to support young and upcoming talent to receive more exposure. The role of classical music and watching interesting documentaries are vital ingredients for Al Sulaimani when brainstorming ideas for her collection. As she explains: “One of my favourite would be Diana Vreeland’s documentary which motivates me to work diligently.”
She emphasizes that the government has greatly supported her work which indicates the potential and the space to help this industry evolve. When asked about her favourite place to shop in the world, she expresses her admiration for Paris for its Parisian style boutiques: “The shops are very appealing and give a sense of luxury.” The one-piece of style advice she would give women is to “be confident and own to one’s flaws and flaunt them; confidence is the most beautiful accessory one can wear.”