Discovering Dune

While those who’ve come to Dubai from the United Kingdom may be well-acquainted with Dune, a footwear and accessories brand that came to life in 1993, this journalist was pleasantly surprised to discover what the retailer has in store to offer.

By Laura Gatsos

Published: Fri 29 Jan 2010, 9:00 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 3:07 AM

Perusing the store prior to my interview with visiting executive Vicky Shoraf, I found that the brand’s designers excel particularly in the areas of accessories and casual footwear.

Jewel-embellished flats, ‘bling bling’ thongs and gladiator style flats that while reminiscent of those seen on international runways, have what is described to me as “that Dune touch” by Shoraf. Chunky charm bracelets and statement necklaces made of heavy silver and adorned with colourful, richly-hued stones and charms make for a truly expensive look.

Dune is situated in the fashion area of The Dubai Mall, a vast section which houses many of its competitors, including Aldo and Kurt Geiger. When I ask Shoraf what advantage Dune has over their peers, she tells me it is their stellar in-house design team and their competitive prices that push them ahead of the crowd.

While many fashion folk typically refer to the non-luxury brands as ‘high street’, Shoraf prefers to categorise Dune as “affordable luxury”.

The company is making strides in improving both the design and quality of their products, travelling the world to source ideas and new materials including the butter soft leather used for their upcoming handbag, offering another boast-worthy component of the Dune collection.

When I meet with Shoraf, she is carrying a bag that will definitely make must-have lists. Heavy brushed-gold hardware handles and butter soft black leather in a sleek design made a statement that even Choo would agree with.

Along with of-the-moment trends, the retailer is looking to incorporate the local aesthetic into its designs. While the Middle Eastern customer has been thought to favour flamboyant footwear with a lot of sparkle, retailers are quickly catching on the fact that the Dubai client is influenced by international fashion. The key, it seems, is a melding of both trendy and traditional and this is what brings Shoraf to Dubai on her first trip.

Her most worthwhile research technique is observation and she is happy to learn that the mall is the best place to do it. As we sit, parades of abaya-clad women walk by and we discuss the importance of handbags and shoes in this market as a key way to express one’s personality.

On the topic of Arab influence, Shoraf informs me that Dune was named after the ever-evolving sand dunes which change but always keep their signature look. In fact, one of the brand’s new collections is called ‘Black Sand’ and is a higher quality line that will be sold in Dune stores. All shoes are designed in-house with fabrics and materials sourced throughout Europe. This is a trend apparent among the ‘affordable luxury’ footwear purveyors — diffusion lines that are either higher or lower in price than the main collection on offer.

With industry talk out of the way, it’s time to discuss the fun stuff. What can fashionistas expect from Dune for Spring Summer 2010 when it hits stores in April? Are you a frill seeker? Fortune hunter? The design team has categorised the womenswear collection into four themes:

‘White Noise’ is comprised of mega platforms and fierce statement-making heels. Perspex platforms, laser punched shoe boots and elastic strap sandals are 80s inspired; mirrored and reflective metal heels have a futuristic element to them.

‘Aztec Nation’ sees a fusion of Western and ethnic influences. Coloured beads and detailed embellishment on flat gladiator sandals show both folk and tribal inspirations, while raffia trimmed neutral wedges give a sense of safari chic.

In the mood to flaunt your femininity? The ‘Frill Seeker’ collection is home to shoes made of soft fabrics decorated with dainty detailing. Delicate wedges and strappy sandals are vamped up with ribbon ankle ties and alluring bows, evoking images reminiscent of 1940s pin ups, in a colour palette of nudes, oysters and blush pink.

‘Flashes of Fortune’ is the ultimate in glamour as metallics are bolder and brighter than ever before. Heavily embellished platforms, hardware trimmed wedges and bejewelled flat sandals are presented in glittering metallic tones; gold, bronze, champagne and pewter shine bright, and flashes of black add a harder edge.

Men looking to refresh their footwear can visit Dune for ‘Mods & Rockers’ comprised of tough buckled biker style and chunky workman boots in shades of brown and black with finishing, including battered leather, turned-up toes and metal eyelets.

‘White Wash’ features a neutral colour palette of soft leather and suede moccasins while ‘Street Art’ is a casual and relaxed range of leather trimmed plimsolls in primary colours, perforated white high top trainers with Velcro fastenings and 80s inspired monochromatic leather and suede mixed high tops.

(Dune, The Dubai Mall/ Mall of the Emirates/ Dubai Festival City;

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