Buro 24/7 Middle East Exclusive: Marina Qureshi Autumn/Winter 14
Inspired by the Château de Versaille
Born in Dubai of Asian-British heritage, designer Marina Qureshi attended Esmod University gaining a BA degree in fashion design and pattern making in 2010. Her innovative graduation collection was sponsored by Kurt Geiger and exhibited in 'Who's Next' Premiere at Madinat Jumeirah the same year.
Qureshi later studied at Central Saint Martins and worked for Alexander McQueen, before launching her own label, now based in both Dubai and London.
The results are feminine and romantic, successfully creating effortless looking eveningwear across gowns and cocktail dresses as a signature – picked up by the likes of Florence Welch, Lara Stone, Ellie Goulding and Amanda Seyfried.
Scroll through Buro 24/7 Middle East's exclusive collection preview above, and find out more from our interview with the designer...
What inspired this collection?
A lot of my inspiration points seem to have a touch of French style. Initial ideas came from the black and white chequered flooring under the Queen's staircase in Chateau de Versailles. Like the Chateau, this collection has an essence of historic grandeur to it, with a graphic punch. Working with these shapes and cuts to create a similar effect meant it was one of my most challenging collections to date.
Château de Versaille
Talk us through the materials and any special design processes
This season, I was keen on exploring ability with fabric alone, making different textiles the key feature of our collection.
A signature Marina Qureshi design always features delicate French lace. For this collection, we combined this intricate material with a smooth silk velvet and bold Mongolian fur to create texture. Lozenges cuts (a diamond shaped cut) combined with a hint of coral, embellishment on lace and silk also make an appearance.
The silk velvet used to create the lozenges effect is a special fabric; it was custom made for us in Italy and took over a month to be produced. Individual square-cut patches of black and white crepe were hand stitched to perfection, taking days to simply assemble the fabric.
Which is your favourite look?
I adore the maxi skirt and the lace chiffon cape with velvet trimming as there is so much drama. This one look also showcases what the whole collection embodies: Lace, crepe, organza, chiffon and velvet can all be seen in the design. It is a very strong piece and speaks volumes for my aesthetic. A UK based stylist, Neil Stuart, who understands my brand, did the styling for the look book and he managed to really elevate the pieces.
Who would you most love to see wearing Marina Qureshi?
I always love seeing Florence Welch perform in my designs. Her support by appearing in my gowns more than once has meant the world to me. I think she embodies what a true 'Marina Qureshi girl' is – fearless, ethereal and totally unique. Needless to say I am excited for one of her upcoming performances to see what she'll appear in next! There are also so many beautiful Emirati women who I'd really love to see in my designs. I think that there is a very natural elegance to the way the women dress here and they aren't afraid of a show stopping evening gown.
Florence Welch wearing Marina Qureshi
What was the biggest challenge when creating this collection?
Working with double layered lace is certainly something that has kept us on our toes. The black lace is placed on top of white lace, or black lace placed on top of coral lace providing a special dual colour effect. We had to be very clever in the placement of to allow its uniqueness and elegance to shine through and not lose the definition of the pattern.
Another technical challenge was the black and white patchwork; measuring each and every box and their accurate positioning took me back to high school, making me face my phobia of mathematics.