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The Film Putting an Unprecedented Spotlight on Arab Fashion

From the MENA to London, this is a must-watch

What’s more dreamy than a night spent wandering through a museum? It’s the perfect exploration for any amateur adventurer wishing to peel through every corner of history in an intimacy that only very few have access to. It’s also the premise of a new short film we highly recommend you watch. The best part? It puts an unprecedented spotlight on the Arab world’s fashion designers. 

Starting off with a pink tailored costume and displaying an eclectic range of detailed dresses and colourful outfits, Friday Late follows Leila, a fashion student, through a lengthy four-minute journey as she accidentally falls asleep at a museum. 

Now locked inside and seemingly alone at first sight, our protagonist for the day wanders through deep alleys and dark halls stepping into a fantastical world in which objects, statues, and art pieces of all kinds come to life for the time of a night. 

Smartly playing on the polysemic nature of the main character’s name (one of the Arab World’s most common, meaning night in Arabic), the project, directed by visual artist Nadira Amrani, was shot at the Victoria and Albert Museum in the British capital of London commissioned by Art Jameel, a creative-focussed and art-led institution based in Saudi Arabia and the UAE. 

Featuring looks from Sheryn Akiki, Karim Adduchi, Tatyana Antoun, and Nabil Nayal, their inspiration and influences are subtly drawn from their own Lebanese, Moroccan, and Syrian heritage. 

“This commission was really about celebrating fashion designers from the Middle East and North African region. Having access to the galleries during lockdown it was quite surreal walking through the empty galleries with no visitors. I thought about my many visits to the V&A and came up with this idea of Leila, a fashion student who falls asleep in the Museum and is locked inside overnight.” 

Stumbling across creatures of all forms and shapes, the video blends a plenitude of creative visions which brilliantly shed light on various hand-crafted designs and thoroughly thought-through patterns that scream of ingenuity and imaginative artistry

“I took a lot of references from many of the amazing exhibitions I’ve been to at the museum, from “Postmodernism”, “David Bowie Is” as well as the recent “Tim Walker: Wonderful Things” exhibition. With a soundtrack from the amazing Dutch-Iranian artist Sevdaliza the film really has a surreal darkness to it,” explains Nadira Amrani. 

In a world where reality and fiction become increasingly difficult to differentiate, as the film unfolds, it becomes a playful ode and reminiscing trigger of the limitless borders a rich creative mind may hide within itself—elements that are only becoming more and more prevalent in the region. 


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