by Lyndsey Steven
  • 4 minute read
  • July 30, 2019
The Young Emirati Designer Behind Cabochon Is Creating Couture For All Ages And Body Types

Amidst the suburban sprawl of Khalifa City in Abu Dhabi sits a charming villa that is home to Emirati fashion designer Fidda Al-Marzouqi, the founder and creative director of luxury couture brand Cabochon. It’s all in the details for Fidda, who has dreamt up every little corner of her home, much like she crafts her bespoke designs. You step inside the space through a palatial entrance, decked with a crystal chandelier, a handwoven carpet and blooms, and walls lined with intricate bas-relief gypsum work that she helped envision.

“It’s like embroidery that goes on the walls,” says Fidda, an aesthete whose creative vocabulary draws deeply on architectural and artistic gems from her travels around the world. Fidda exudes traditional charm and a modern spirit, evident in how she elegantly pairs an exquisite pink fringed maxi skirt with her black abaya and shayla as we photograph her. A beautiful, young woman of refreshing candor, Fidda launched Cabochon at the end of 2016 and has recently branched out into ready-to-wear with Miss Cabochon, a jaunty collection that is as comfortable as it’s stylish.

Spurred on to create ensembles that women can wear from day to night, whether dressed up or down, Fidda has crafted an exquisite line of signature blazers, shirts, skirts and dresses. “The Miss Cabochon collection was inspired by the need to create pieces that fit just right, are easy to wear, versatile and comfortable,” she explains. It’s apparent that, just like her risk-taking creations, with their flattering cuts and unexpected color combinations, her personality and talents are manifold.

Interestingly, Fidda studied Genetics at Queen Mary University in London, and pursued a Master’s Degree in International Public Health Nutrition, after which she went on to work as a senior health officer in the UAE government. “My background fulfilled my intellectual side and my curiosity for health sciences. It was also a way for me to give back to my community and serve my country,” she shares. “But I have always been fascinated by fashion and design. I love styling people and am very particular about it. I enjoy challenging myself to style different body types and personalities. After a while of doing it for myself and my friends, I finally decided to give it a proper try.”

       “I enjoy challenging myself to style different body types and personalities”

She has done more than ‘give it a try’. Managing to achieve both elegance and edginess in her lines, which are marked by great attention-to-detail, Fidda has always been resolute about staying away from replicating other designers and i’s an approach that has paid off. Insisting there is always room for exploration, she says that showing her personality and creating impeccably polished designs is what makes her creative process interesting. She’s also determined to make her collections accessible to everyone. “You know you are a successful designer when you are able to style people of any age. It’s very important to be in touch with different personalities and body types, and to be able to translate that into dresses that suit them respectfully.”

Fidda also has her eyes set on getting her brand into upmarket boutiques such as Harvey Nichols and luxury websites like Ounass. “As a student, I would browse around Harvey Nichols in London and visit their shoe section. I used to live five minutes away, so the store is close to my heart; it’s one of the fond memories of my time in London. I like that they are very specific about the pieces they buy from each designer and collection. It’s always a treat to see what’s new each season,” she says.

Fidda Al-Marzouqi in her Abu Dhabi home, UAE

“Ounass is also definitely something I see Cabochon as a part of in the future. It’s the most established online Middle Eastern luxury fashion and beauty platform. The secret to choosing our boutiques and retailers is to always know what collections go where,” she adds. Fidda’s atelier is in Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, where clients come for fittings. Some of the collections are available at BeYou Boutique in Dar Wasl Mall, Jumeirah, Dubai, while two new locations are on soon to be announced.

Describing Cabochon as “affordable luxury,” with prices starting at Dhs4, 000, Miss Cabochon offers simple pieces that won’t burn a hole in your pocket. They are the answer for any woman who struggles to put an outfit together every morning. “As a working woman myself, I always take into consideration if a woman would want and can afford to buy a certain piece, without feeling guilty about splurging,” Fidda concludes. And let’s face it—we all love a guilt-free splurge.

Photography by Aasiya Jagadeesh

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