Five minutes with Alanoud Alattiya
Written by Heba Hashem
Museum practitioner by day and couturier by evening, Alanoud Alattiya dazzled the world with her debut haute couture collection, integrating lush fabrics, sculptural shapes, and meticulously ornate beading.
Your Spring/Summer 2016 collection garnered impressive reviews. How did it all start?
It started a decade ago, in 2006, when I created a couture abaya line. It was the first product from the Arabian Gulf to be sold in Harrods before it was acquired by Qatar Holdings. It was one of the highlights of my career. I’ve always created dresses, just not in a formal manner. Growing up, my mother was an avid fashionista who loved to wear Christian Dior. My father would take her to Paris, where they would visit the boutique by appointment; the designer would receive them and the models would show the dresses. So I grew up in this environment. My mother would often find me dismantling her gowns to study their construction, but was always supportive.
So when did you launch Tiiya?
It was funny how this came about. I had just completed my graduate degree in Museum and Gallery Practice with University College London, and while fully immersed in the world of academia, I found myself yearning to be creative. So the minute I completed my masters, I created the collection and launched Tiiya, the haute couture line. Now I’m keen to do my PhD in anthropological and ethnographic studies. I’m always pulled between two worlds!
What’s on your agenda for 2016?
I’ll be showing my next collection in Arab Fashion Week (AFW) 2016; it’s inspired by gold and Asian touches. In 2015, Tiiya was selected from hundreds of applicants to partake in the inaugural Arab Fashion Week and I’m humbled to say that I was the only designer from the Gulf who was chosen. In my day job, we’re putting together all of our history and cultural heritage to establish the National Museum, which will tell the story of Qatar. I’m very excited to be part of this project.
Who do you enjoy travelling with?
My kids, especially my youngest, who just turned 15. She’s actually the manager of Tiiya! When we have a fashion show, she manages many things, with casting and the models; she takes care of everything. Most recently, she filmed and edited an epic video that we shot at Katara in Doha.
Where in the world will you go next?
I love travelling. Every year we visit Italy as we have friends there. We usually pass by Capri and Sorrento, but we also explore other parts. London is also a second home, and so is Paris. In the future, I would love to see Africa, Japan, and most of all, South America.