Burb Beauty | The backlash against naked dressing is beginning
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The backlash against naked dressing is beginning

From the high-necked, long-sleeved and floor-length gowns on Valentino’s recent runways to the covered up looks worn by Met Gala standouts Sarah Paulson, Ruth Negga and Sofia Coppola, it’s clear that showing less skin is definitely in.

And no one’s embracing that modest trend more than the Modist, a new high-end e-commerce site dedicated to lavishly outfitting women from head to toe.

Which makes sense, as fashionistas around the globe are now dressing for themselves rather than for the male gaze, notes the Modist’s public relations and marketing director, Dima Ayad.

“The approach to getting dressed is now being who you are,” she tells Alexa. “Being a strong, feminine, empowered woman.”

Yet despite the huge market potential for modest apparel (according to a report by Thomson Reuters and Dinar Standard, modest fashion accounted for an estimated $44 billion in retail spending by Muslim women in 2015) shopping for a conservative-yet-chic wardrobe — whether for cultural, religious or style reasons — has long been a frustrating proposition.

“We have a lot of women who struggle to find long hemlines, things that are not so sheer, in order to look the part,” Ayad says.

While other modest fashion sites exist, she notes they’re often more focused on value rather than luxury.

Michelle Monaghan at the Met Ball.

To address that gap, the Modist’s founder and CEO, Ghizlan Guenez, gathered a team of women with some serious fashion credentials — in 2011 Ayad founded an eponymous evening wear line in Dubai, while the Modist’s creative director, Sally Matthews, most recently served as fashion and beauty director of Harper’s Bazaar Arabia.

They carefully curated a collection of couture clothing and accessories for the digital shop, which launched in March.

The 75 luxury brands on offer include Marni, Alberta Ferretti and Christopher Kane — as well as up-and-comers like Vivetta, IRO and Solace London — with prices starting at around $90 for a peplum top by Ganni and going up to about $8,000 for a beaded, floor-length Alberta Ferretti dress.

The site (based in Dubai and London) also features seasonal style picks and even publishes its own magazine, the Mod, which features new content every week.

“We’re part of the luxury fashion hemisphere,” Ayad says, noting that the striking patterns and vivid hues featured on the site have universal appeal.

“I can buy a black shirt anywhere I go,” she says. “But can I buy a beautiful, colorful, stylish dress that has an interesting shape to it? “[Our customer is] coming to us for that different, interesting nuance she didn’t find before.”

The company, which plans to add 25 more brands to its roster by next winter — including Rokh and Talitha — also works with a handful of designers to modify their collections for more demure tastes.

The Modist currently ships to customers in 100 countries, with the Middle East, the US and the UK among its top markets.

But, Ayad says, they’re hoping to reach “literally any woman around the world who loves to dress modestly.”

So if your style is more Jackie O than J.Lo, it’s the trend that’s finally got you covered.

Vivetta


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