There is one thing for certain when I attend London Fashion Week, I generally enjoy myself more when I’m inspired by the incredible emerging talent we have in the UK, and one of the hottest stars this season had to be Nabil Nayal, with his contemporary take on demi-couture with an Elizabethan flavour. Nabil is a designer I’ve been excited about since 2011 when he was a finalist at Fashion Fringe, I fell instantly in love with the glamour and opulence of his incredible designs, and his spring/summer 2019 collection at the British Library brought a dash of decadence to the final day of fashion week.
I’ve always felt that Nabil brought something new to the fashion scene, his designs have always had a regal quality about them, and for spring/summer 2019 he was inspired by Queen Elizabeth I’s 1588 Tilbury Speech, which she delivered ahead of the attempted invasion of England by the Spanish Armada, with the words printed not only on the beautiful collection, the cape dress is divine, but also on the model’s faces for a truly creative presentation.
What I love about Nabil, other than the fact he probably loves tulle as much as me, his collection featured a 40-metre long tulle cloak that cascaded down the steps of the library, he has a way of making Elizabethan principles of design, such as the powerful silhouettes, the use of pleats and dramatic construction from the soft silk tulle ruffles to the stiff and starched on the front of the shirtdresses, and the regal drama of the floor-grazing cape-like semi-sheer organza dresses, contemporary, modern and wearable.
For a debut presentation it was beautifully constructed, filled with gorgeous designs, I adore the dramatic flowing cloak-like dresses featuring digitised images of the Queen, alongside royal insignias, historical cartography and hymn sheets, a great venue, marking the first time a designer had showcased at the British Library, and most of all it left me wanting more.
I’m excited to see what the future brings for Nabil Nayal, especially as the designer was named as one of the winners of the prestigious British Fashion Council Fashion Trust Grant, a charitable initiative that offers the eight selected designs a share of grants totalling £380,000 to build up their labels into global brands.