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Yousef Akbar’s SS23 Collection Is a Study of Complex Human Emotions

“I find the complexities of the human brain and emotions intriguing”

Sydney-based designer Yousef Akbar  just returned from Milan—he was part of the talented cohort that flew out to the Italian city to promote Saudi fashion — and now he is making sure to build on the ongoing momentum surrounding his native country’s creative bubble to shed light on his latest sartorial works. Titled “Collection IV – SS23,” the range is the Jeddah-born designer’s newest textile offering, sharing a spirited range that is equal parts chic and elegant.

In line with the season’s joie de vivre theme, Akbar’s line is one that highlights the body and celebrates the return of life  through vivid colors and dazzling fabrics. If this year feels like we’re finally done with the pandemic, stylists, designers and culture-making brand’s alike are making sure that each one of us is suited and booted for every opportunity to go out and live life like there’s no tomorrow, and Akbar’s eponymous label certainly encapsulates this mood.

“My journey throughout this collection has been very emotional, and I feel blessed to be surrounded by a lot of love and a sense of freedom opening up and being venerable. I hope that people feel the love and joy that I have tried to express in the collection,” the womenswear designer shared in a statement.

Akbar, whose sensual creations have found fans in singer Kelly Rowland and model and author Chrissy Teigen, makes use of different textiles and textures, while cuts are carefully tailored to the body. Of course, the brand’s signature adjustable gold chain detailing is punctuated throughout the 25-strong offering, worn as straps and an accessory.

The designer stated that the collection was born from his fascination with “two things that are so similar but at the same time so different.” This resulted in dresses that at first, look similar, but are actually far from it. “I wanted to interpret these emotions in the collection by designing dresses and using fabrics that are of the same color but different textures,” Akbar explained. “I experimented in the construction with techniques that are usually not paired together, such as combining couture draping with traditional tailoring techniques in the same garment,” he continued. 

This is most apparent in the fuchsia silk satin kaftan and the hot pink silk satin gown. In the look book, they look like the exact same dress, but closer inspection reveals different tailoring techniques, such as twist details and slits, that make them unique and set them apart. Meanwhile, the black jersey wrap dress with a built-in corset is duplicated in different stretch fabric and embellished with diamantes for a completely different effect. 

Instantly noticeable upon first glance at this polished evening-wear collection, the couturier’s line seems to weave, intentionally or not, the confinement felt this past two-years into dresses that seek to empower and harness these feelings.

“I wanted to express love through the design lines, I did this by creating dresses that wrap around the body tightly — like a warm hug, giving you feeling of love. At the same time, to express confusion and frustration and the feeling of being trapped I used knots, twists, and the chains wrapping around the body like a harness,” he said. 

Make sure to head towards Akbar’s website to pre-order his latest collection.

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