Dar Sara at Oxford Fashion Week 2011

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By far the most luxurious, high-fashion event of the Week, the Couture Show, held at Exams Schools, Oxford on Saturday 5th March, featured collections from designers renowned around the globe. Matthew Williamson’s flowing and delicate dresses were met with many envious smiles-slash-grimaces as they floated efortlessly down the runway in gorgeous, aqua prints. 

Pierre Garroudi’s refreshing, brightly coloured collection was met with rounds of applause for his mix of daring shades and shapes and evening gown elegance. The audience continued their applause for the exquisite collection by Viv Whelan; beautiful, elegant gowns with luxurious fur wraps and coats. Viv Whelan herself attended the show in a gorgeous bright red dress and white fur shrug – definitely had the ‘wow’ factor. 

Another crowd favourite was the disney princess-esque gown by Nina Jovanovic. Reminiscent of Cinderella or Sleeping Beauty the fairytale dress combined modern shapes with wide shoulders with sweeping blue satin fabric and a trail of pastel green and gold crumpled material, giving the impression of flowers in spring. 

The stars of the show, however, were without doubt the glittering collection of Dar Sara dresses flown all the way from Dubai. Encrusted with Swarowski crystals, the incredible series dazzled their way down the catwalk to rapturous applause and many intakes of desiring breath. The collection included one extremely regal looking dress, fitting in perfectly with the grandueur of the venue’s portraits. In grand reds and golds with a high, delicate neck piece, the dress was reminiscent of Elizabethan queens. 

The grand finale was their masterpiece wedding gown which, to many a girl’s delight was announced to be an item up for auction in aid of The Oxford Thinking Campaign. The ultimate bridal wedding dress was auctioned off amongst other high fashion items such as an Alexander McQueen clutch and a £250 Ted Baker spree. 

The dress is made up of the finest materials – Tulle Lagatolla combined with Crystal Chatton Bending – and took more than a month to create. It is covered in Swarovski’s new crystal bending which has not yet been launched in the UK. 

“This year, my inspiration came from a Romanian style concept which I combined with modern and simple textures which I believe will be popular with women internationally,” said Joumana Al Hayek, designer at Dar Sara Fashion. 

The dress brought in the highest bid of the evening, raising £1000 for the Oxford Thinking Campaign. 

Irina Higgins, executive producer of the couture show said: “we are so thankful to Dar Sara for their participation in the event and their exquisite donation. I’m thrilled with how everything went, it would not have been possible without the fantastic group of top designers from around the World who showcased their incredible collections.” 

“I am very grateful to all the designers and sponsors who have helped me organise one of the most exciting fashion shows at Oxford and help raise funds for the future generations of students by supporting the Oxford Thinking Campaign.” 

Carl Anglim, Executive Producer of Oxford Fashion Week said: “The Dar Sara dresses were a definite favourite, they caught the light fantastically as the crystals moved up the runway.” 

“We’re thrilled with the result of the auction and so happy that we could support the Oxford Thinking Campaign.” 

Photo Credit to Gerard Vong