Last September, I had the incredible opportunity of attending Denibi’s Spring/Summer runway show. It was their first Fashion Week runway show… and it was my first time attending one. Even to a fresh eye, designer Fadel Denibi’s collection was distinct.: “The garments were tailored perfectly to the models that wore them, showing that for what Denibi designs lack in age, they do not lack in quality,” I wrote at the time. Now, nearly five months later, Denibi’s Barcelonian collection was back in New York for February’s Fashion Week. And once again, it did not fail to impress.
On February 11 in the chic Pier 59 Studio in Chelsea, photographers, fashion-enthusiasts, and industry models alike (I was behind Shaun Ross, who sported a white hoodie, a moto jacket, a pair of sunglasses, and face glitter) brushed shoulders in anticipation for the show. An artist of many mediums, Fadel Denibi created an art piece in 2014 that would become the foundation of his clothing collections. Entitled Nostalgia, the matte white, wooden mask is cracked in the middle. Representing a melding of happiness and sadness, the mask, as explained through a brochure given before the show, “speaks to the feeling of sad because that joyful moment of your life is gone, at the same time, yet happy because you lived it.” Thus, Nostalgia became “the source of inspiration for the creation and development of the entire house.” With the mask accenting the front of pastel blue and yellow backpacks, Nostalgia permeated his Fall/Winter 2017 collection.
Feeling nostalgic myself, I thought back to the first show. I wrote of how well the outfits were tailored and this year, I saw the same, if not more, attention to detail. The collection featured a variety of form-fitting silhouettes, each of them a delicate balance between classic and contemporary. The color scheme of the collection was a narrative in itself. The show began with models dressed primarily in black, accentuated with dark green. The collection then transitioned into shades of sea-foam blue, lastly settling on ivory tones. An obvious attribution for the color choice would be to its illustration of the changing seasons. Being a Fall/Winter collection, deeper shades of green and black were indicative of that, and the transition into blue and white hinted at the coming spring and summer.
Two years after the creation of Nostalgia, Fadel formed Agatha. As a child, Fadel was amazed by the protagonist of an animated series that he now only has a vague recollection of. But he remembers that she was “a very enigmatic, curious, feminine, and smart girl who used to fight for equality and justice.” Translating this to oil on canvas, Agatha is Fadel’s first painting and in it are two characters wearing dark, turtlenecked garments— on the left, a woman with slicked-back hair and prominent cheekbones and on the right, a figure wearing Nostalgia’s mask. Filtering into Denibi’s Fall/Winter 2017 show, the flower accents throughout the collection are meant to represent Agatha’s femininity, while the high collars portray her mystery. The latter of the motifs is a shining example of Denibi’s ability to craft apparel that embraces the line between old and new. High necklines, communicating a certain sophisticated enigma, are a timeless silhouette. Denibi managed to put a stylishly quirky spin on this classic. In the final look of the collection, the model wore an ivory white wool dress paired with a stacked, scalloping scarf that brushed the bottom of her chin — a futuristic twist on a timeless classic.
Featuring twenty one looks, the 11:00 a.m. show concluded within the first half hour and, as I’m sure I’ve over-articulated at this point, it was amazing. Each outfit was essential to the story of the collection, and none had a discernible flaw. If there is one thing you can rely on from a Denibi collection, it is the sheer quality — the passion that Fadel puts into his work is palpable. His collections are the expression of crucial influences in his life, and his work as a whole exemplifies our motto at The Garnette Report: “Where fashion and art come together.”