International fashion shows land in Egypt

CAIRO — From the dazzling royal palaces of Cairo to the iconic pharaonic temples of Luxor and the iconic pyramids of Giza, Egypt has begun to position itself in recent months as the place of choice for major international fashion brands to hold major fashion shows.

And in the meantime, Egyptian authorities are trying to seize the opportunity to draw the world’s attention, highlight the diversity the country has to offer as a tourist destination, and break new ground along the way to promote a key economic sector.

“Egypt has what it takes to organize unforgettable events. Archaeological sites, temples, pyramids – beautiful places that can host them,” Amr El-Kady, CEO of the Egyptian Tourism Authority, told Al-Monitor.

The last of these major events took place on the evening of October 9 on Luxor’s West Bank, where over 350 guests from around the world gathered to celebrate the luxury fashion house’s 50th anniversary Italian Stefano. Ricci.

Hatshepsut’s temple, which was specially lit for the occasion, served as the backdrop for the catwalk of models who paraded down its exterior steps dressed in the designer’s outfits. The event was attended by Italian tenor Andrea Bocelli, who opened the ceremony with arias from Verdi’s opera Aida, set in ancient Egypt.

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“I chose to celebrate the 50th anniversary of my brand in a magnificent city full of glamour, art and tradition,” Ricci said in the event announcement. “For the first time in history, the Temple of Hatshepsut will be the exquisite stage on which my fashion show will take place. Having received this privileged authorization from the Egyptian institutions, [it] it is a source of pride for me,” he added.

“Stefano Ricci’s event was really very important because it helps promote tourism in Egypt, shows that Egypt is safe and that people should come, and also shows our archaeological sites for the first time in [such] a beautiful way,” former Egyptian antiquities minister Zahi Hawass, who attended the event, told Al-Monitor.

Before Stefano Ricci, the prestigious Lebanese designer Elie Saab held a fashion show in the Abdeen Palace in downtown Cairo in late 2021 to unveil his signature villas in a luxury complex developed by the real estate company Emaar Misr. The event was attended by the Egyptian Minister of Tourism and Antiquities, Khaled El Enany.

Next in line will be renowned English designer Kim Jones, who will present his next Dior pre-fall collection for men on December 3 in front of the Pyramids of Giza. This will be the first time that the famous French luxury fashion house will host a show in Egypt and the first time that a major global fashion show will be held in front of this iconic location.

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Dior last year resumed its tradition of presenting its pre-fall men’s collections in different parts of the world with an event in London, and the company has previously held fashion shows in countries such as Italy, Greece, South Korea, China and the United States. , but not in Egypt, reported fashion news website WWD. Jones has previously held shows of his collections in cities such as Miami and Tokyo, but never in Cairo.

All these events are part of a new branding strategy designed by the Egyptian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities to showcase the diversity of experiences Egypt has to offer potential visitors at any time of the year, Kady said.

The idea, he added, is to show the world the most artistic and creative side of the country through fashion shows, but also art exhibitions, film festivals, concerts and sporting events.

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Kady said the starting point for this branding strategy goes back to last year’s celebration of the Gold Parade in Cairo and the Sphinx Avenue Parade in Luxor, which became a great promotion of both Egypt and its ability to organize major events.

“That was when international brands started talking to us. Because they saw these mega-events and the perfection with which they were produced,” said Kady, who is one of the officers responsible for the new strategy.

“We have promoted tourism in Egypt, but also our ability and that of Egyptian private sector companies to organize such large events,” he added.

In addition to promoting general tourism in the country, Kady noted that the goal of this new branding strategy is also to attract specific, high-income visitors. He also said the ministry is in talks with other international fashion houses to organize more such events in the near future, although he did not provide further details.

“The participants in Stefano Ricci’s show all came in a private jet. [We want to attract] that kind of elite, high quality tourism. [It’s] very good for luxury tourism in Egypt, which is growing now,” said Kady.


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