LONDON: Rarely is a designer able to capture the fashion highlights of a bygone era without retreating into theatrical nostalgia. Egyptian designer Maha Abdul Rasheed has managed to strike this delicate balance, however, with her line, Bambah.
While unabashedly harkening back to old Hollywood glamor, the line does not look like costume party couture — collections have drawn on a stock of modern, if vintage-inspired, silhouettes, from mermaid skirts and gowns with nipped waistlines to oversized bows — all exuding a Grace Kelly-meets-millennial vibe.
But it’s the Bambah Modest line and the Ramadan 2018 collection that are making waves this season. The Holy Month edit takes the traditional kaftan and gives it an elegant, regal update.
Luxurious jacquard with gold-flecked floral detailing add sheen to largely pastel bases, while cuffed sleeves on the Isabella Kaftan are a welcome structured update on the traditional flowing silhouette of the robe.
The Rosa Kaftan — with an ankle-skimming flared skirt mirrored in dramatically bell-cut sleeves — is also crafted from luxuriously thick, gilded fabric.
For those seeking a less traditional Ramadan look, the Bambah Modest line offers a number of on-trend alternatives. Billowy, high-waisted cargo-pants can be paired with the collection’s gold lamé blouse for a loose yet feminine silhouette.
A linen trench dress with clean collar lines and a waist-cinching belt recalls bygone days of travel by train.
True to the Bambah line, the modest pieces successfully marry a “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” aesthetic with tasteful coverage.
Vintage trends are a recurring theme in Rasheed’s fashion career. She initially opened Bambah as a stand-alone boutique in Dubai, selling a carefully curated selection of vintage pieces. While the concept of one-of-a-kind, pre-owned fashion was almost entirely new to the region at that time, Rasheed persevered, educating fashionable Emiratis about the kind of couture one can’t find in malls.
Vintage Valentino blazers and Dior dresses flew off the shelves and before long, the boutique became a hub for Dubai-based fashion influencers looking to add unique character to their wardrobes.
After noticing that her clients were drawn to the hyper-feminine princess skirts and sweet-heart necklines popular in the 1950s and 1960s, Rasheed began designing herself. In a few short years, the company has expanded widely, with a loyal, cross-continental client base.
Today, global A-listers known for their refined, high glam-style like Amal Clooney and Priyanka Chopra have donned Rasheed’s designs. A children’s line, Little Bambah, was recently added to the label’s repertoire.
The latest addition to the burgeoning brand is the Bambah Modest line, which launched last year. Inspired in part by Rasheed’s mother, a fashionable Dubai-based businesswoman who wears a headscarf, the line caters to women who want to embrace the old Hollywood sartorial spirit without giving too much away. As part of an effort to bring modest fashion into the mainstream, Rasheed raised the curtain on the new line at Torino Fashion Week in Italy last year. This year’s Ramadan collection is Bambah’s first dedicated Holy Month edit and it has been feted by local fashionistas in recent weeks across social media.