Her designs are dramatic, dazzling and perfect for young divas-about-town. Enigma talks couture, crayons and taking over the fashion world with the new face of Egyptian design, Malak El Ezzawy.
Rows and rows of Malak El Ezzawy’s dazzling evening gowns hang in her grandmother’s store, Melodies. The dresses don’t follow the same rhyme or rhythm. There’s a short cocktail dress in black mesh and nude silk, adorned with black and gold beads; a hot pink sheath with yellow trims. An extravagant black ball gown with intricate white sequins and another dress made from puffs of pink and champagne tulle. Each one is unique and begs you to try it on…
“The girl who wears these dresses is very unique; she’s not what you’d call classic. My designs are a bit classic, but with an edge,” says El Ezzawy, in her calm and collected demeanor. That’s what separates El Ezzawy from the rest – she is both quirky bubblegum pop princess and sophisticated fashion mogul all wrapped up in one very attractive package. Just shy of turning 23, she’s now well on her way to becoming the next big thing. Scratch that, she is the next big thing.
Her designs have already appeared on some of the biggest magazine covers in the region – including Enigma’s February 2009 cover featuring famed belly dancer Dina. Her first fashion show, Cocktails & Crayons, was spectacularly memorable, held at the legendary Baron palace with over 70 dresses showcasing her talent and ability to mould international design to the Egyptian body.
Yet El Ezzawy isn’t a girl who simply relied on her fashion savvy. As well as an ability to create a whimsical world of candy cane and confidence, she has a shrewd business mind. She is willing to work hard and refuses to take no for an answer. Growing up in Egypt, her life long passion was to study fashion design. Under the watchful eye of her grandmother Naemat Diab, El Ezzawy learned the tricks of the trade at an early age. “She’s always been passionate and very determined to make it work,” her sister Amina says. “When she sets her mind to something, it’s going to get done.”
El Ezzawy went on to get a degree a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a focus on marketing from the American University in Cairo. She then headed to Paris for a year-long intensive course at the acclaimed Marangoni Institute, which has moulded fashion and fashionistas in London, Paris and Milan since 1935. “My time at Marangoni really cemented everything I learned from my grandmother,” she says. “My experience was fine tuned, made more professional and more modern.”
She came back home to Cairo, set on making it in the fashion world and determined to translate everything she’d learned into high fashion for the Arab woman. And the results are spectacular. Each dress is carefully created with the Arab body in mind – and more importantly Arab expressions of fashion. When asked who she would like to see in her dresses, she says: “I always imagine Arab celebrities like Yusra and Hend Sabry when I think of the people who’d wear my designs. And of course I would love Queen Rania to wear my designs.” To ensure exclusivity, she also only produces one of each of her dresses. “I want the women who wear my clothes to stand out,” she says.
Her inspirations? “Music”, she says. “But I don’t listen to new stuff, mostly oldies. They have a completely different mood to them. They take you to another world when things were more glamorous. You’ll find anything from the 70s, 80s and the 90s blasting when I work.”
With her Fall / Winter collection in stores in October, the future is big, bright and beautiful for El Ezzawy. “My Fall collection is not as flashy as Cocktails & Candy. There’s more sophistication. It’s still full of shiny, pretty things, but more subdued and elegant,” she says. And she’s already planning her own ready-to- wear line. “I’d love to do prêt-a-porter, and then maybe a men’s line. Shoes, bags, who knows what’s next?”
Part creative guru and part marketing mogul, Malak El Ezzawy is definitely going places in the fashion world.