Swarvoski Elements: Exclusive Interview with Houida Al-Baridi

Dubai is due to host the most spectacular event of the social calendar this Wednesday, with the first ever SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS ‘Sense of Two’ fashion show in the Middle East. This unique fashion event will showcase the talent of designers from the UAE, KSِِA, Kuwait and Bahrain in a themed designed to evoke the designers’ dual creative sides, hence the name ‘Sense of Two’. This year the show has challenged its design partners to create two fashion-forward garments incorporating SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS and expressing the theme of two contrasting sides of their inner selves.

One of the incredibly talented designers taking part in the show is Syrian designer, Houida Al-Bairidi, and I was incredibly honoured to interview her last week about her inspirations and to try to find out about the show.

Born in Syria, Houida’s career as a prominent designer began an amateur while she was studying English literature at Damascus University. Still young and a novice at the time, Houida was the first person to present two highly praised by both media and the audience. In 1997, Houida moved to the UAE where she established her own fashion house and turned her passion into her profession after several successful International shows in Dubai, Beirut, Paris and Rome.

I asked Houida to describe her own personal style and she summed it up in one word: Unique!

When asked where she gets her inspiration from Houida replies “I get my inspiration from my inner personality, because in my work I always want to present a model dresses but there always has to be something connected to history as I’m someone fond of history even though I live in 2011.”

It’s clear to see from Houida’s stunning designs that history plays a big part in her collections. I’m captivated by the 1920’s elements to her designs. And as a huge fan of the critically acclaimed show “Broadwalk Empire”, her designs capture the era superbly.


In 2005, Houida broke the precedent in Italy when she was asked to dress the Miss Italy participants for the year, whereas usually an Italian designer would take up the project – a great honour for any designer. I asked Houida who should would love to design a dress for and she chose global superstar singer, Beyonce Knowles. Great choice!

Houida is one of the most creative designers in the Arab world where she is known in the Arabic media as the “Fancy Castle” designer. Influenced and enriched with the various cultures of the world she has encountered whilst studying, Houida’s line is said to have the ‘royal touch’. By looking at her designs, I can absolutely see why. These aren’t just dresses; they are works of art.

One of Houida’s greatest achievements to date she tells me, is when she received her PhD. Degree in Encouraging the Creativity and Honorary Fellowship from the United International Group from the Arab Country. A great honour for any female from the Middle East, Houida was awarded the prestigious title of “Doctor” for not only encouraging creativity, but her contributions to the fashion world.

Another great achievement for Houida was being awarded the Best Foreign Designer title in 2011, in Rome Italy.

On November 30th, Houida joins some incredibly talented designers at the Armani Hotel Ballroom in an exhibition and fashion event, the likes that the Middle East has not seen yet!  The “Sense of Two” show in association with SWAROVSKI ELEMENTS is the hottest ticket in town. The show will be streamed live and follow my coverage on the blog and on Twitter! Houida doesn’t want to divulge too much about her contribution to the show, but does promise that the most interesting idea for the show is hers! I can’t wait!!

Find out more about Houida by visiting her website and Facebook page.

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