Wear art this Eid with Shatha Essa’s latest bespoke collaboration with award winning Iraqi calligrapher Wissam Shawkat. The collection of graceful hand-embroidered kaftans, capes and sheer organza dresses featuring crystal detailing is titled “Art of the Pen”, intended to expand the boundaries which limit Arabic calligraphy solely to paper. Emirati designer Essa honours the beauty of cultural calligraphy on the daily, sharing in her exclusive interview with Vogue Arabia “Arabic calligraphy fuels me. I have artworks all around my house showing beautiful works of different artists. I’m amazed by how it has been passed down over generations and how it was able to withstand the test of time, which inspired me to play a part in preserving this traditional form of art through my designs.”
“This collaboration, between a fashion designer and a calligrapher, is not a traditional one as my designs acted as the canvas to Wissam’s creations. He used different letters using different Arabic calligraphy styles for each and every piece,” shared Essa.
She went onto say “I was and still am inspired by the famous Arabic calligrapher Wissam Shawkat. His work transcends and truly depicts the work of a modern yet traditional artist. Wissam Shawkat, was once my teacher and I always thought of adding a special touch to my designs so I thought who better to collaborate with than my teacher. The Ramadan/Eid season seemed like a perfect time to blend two different yet beautiful forms of Arabic art.”
Essa went onto remark how “Wissam’s work exudes elegance while boasting minimalism.” Which in turn complemented the collection’s final fusion of his artwork and her hand-embroidered kaftans, “like you’re wearing an art piece made out of love. Those silhouettes and the delicate colour palette with exclusive calligraphy from a graceful aesthetic which is perfect for an Eid look.”
Regarding styling, Essa’s personal style-tip is to keep it understated with simple jewellery, your fave heels, a matte lip and a blow-dry of course.