Razan Alazzouni in Qatar – TIP Interview & Collection preview S\S14

Let’s discover the universe of Razan Alazzouni. This up-and coming saoudi designer is seeing big and she’s right! After being endorsed by Franca Sozzani, editor in chief of Vogue Italia, she is a power to reckon in the Middle-Eastern fashion industry.

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With this new Summer\Spring ’14 collection, we can witness some authentic craft, such as embroideries, crochet, subtle beading and many more…

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We met the designer herself at her trunk show being held at The Closet, the Pearl Doha.
The InsiderPost.com has brought you some exclusive pictures of the events.


Here’s the excerpt of our chitchat with Razan Alazzouni.

“This collection was conceive around the notion of DREAM.

I gathered my team and every one shared on a mood board their own definition of a dream.

Words, ideas and even sketches were thrown in, and after a month I started regrouping these informations in order to figure out as precisely as possible what defines a dream.

Then I started brainstorming about how would I transcribe these words and ideas into clothing pieces.

Fabrics, technique, lengths, colors…everything was taken into consideration for this line.

We narrowed it three symbols which would represent the dream in all our clothes:

– The dream map with pearls and embroideries in various sizes.

– The dream catcher with round crochet, a new addition to Razan’s skills.

– And the braided and woven golden threads.

You will find one or several of these recurring patterns in all of my clothing.
Statement pieces such as evening gowns may gather them all.

Some skirts, mid-length dresses, top and gowns were altered in length or inner lining on see-through fabric to fit Qatari tradition and taste.”

This collection remains youthful yet very elegant.

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Executive Chef of Alain Ducasse’s Restaurant in Doha – IDAM- Interview with Romain Meder

A while ago, TheIniderPost.com met with the executive chef of Alain Ducasse’s restaurant, IDAM. We took some time to discover the stunning interior which has been conceived and designed by Philippe Starck, and located at the last floor of the Museum of Islamic Art in Doha.

Very little known fact:
Chef Romain Meder is familiar in Qatar since he was in charge of one of the actual emir’s marriages few years ago. Hence we were very curious to know more about him as he has welcomed us in his arena for a little chat about IDAM of course, but also his take on Qatar’s booming gastronomic scene…

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When art meets gastronomy…

Gastronomy or Haute Cuisine?

Gastronomy is a term more generic: a sandwich can be gastronomic, for example. With haute cuisine, a certain food service is targeted. As far as I’m concerned , as a professional and a food-loving person, gastronomy suits me better.

Could you please describe the Idam Cuisine?

It is a Mediterranean cuisine, like the basis of Alain Ducasse’s cuisine with a Middle Eastern emphasis. We travel all around the eastern Mediterranean, like Egypt and Lebanon for example.
This gastronomic culture, its products, and its species are utilized.
Even if it is from the Mediterranean region, it is still a different cuisine from the one we know in the South of France, Monaco, Spain, and even Italy. The biggest difference is the use of spices. We also utilize the Indian cuisine since it is familiar to the Qataris.

How did you create this Menu?

Alain Ducasse gives us the guideline, so we roughly know what we want. After arriving to Qatar, discovering people’s habits, visiting the region, we were able to define in details dishes for the menu. However, the main structure, we already had it in mind (appetizers like mezze for example).

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Alain Ducasse sent me to India, Morocco, and Lebanon where I was able to learn how to use spices. That way, every element on the dish was justified.
There is such savoir-faire and such nobility in the use and the measurement of spices that for Idam menu, we use around fifty spices.

What kind of challenges did you face in this process?

Finding good quality products, because in the beginning, nobody heard of us and it was hard. That is the reason why this project was relatively long to launch.
But with time, we were able to find vegetables at a farm. We were able to put our hands on a good butcher who supplies camel meat or local lamb meat. We also use a lot of local dairy as “laban” or “halloumi”, for example.
From France, we only import around 30% of key products as caviar, foie gras or at this moment the truffle. We try to work with the local harvest sublimed with spices, combining them to French products to make the clients discover them as well.

We change the menu every three months. We adapt ourselves to the European seasons to be able to use seasonal products such as the truffle right now or the asparagus in summer. It also allows our regular customers to test out something else at every visit and to us, professionals, to also create new dishes, to maintain certain creativity.

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How important was it for you to cook local products? (from the region)

The interest is to find the wealth in the place we are in. People like it when we pay attention to their products. Our customers are 70% local people. They are rediscovering the products that they know and that are fashioned in a different way. That interests them and they are pleasantly surprised.
We also try to create some combination of familiar tastes that they might recognize.

Tell us a bit more about your clientele…

They are composed of 70% of Qataris, 80% of whom are women. They find themselves in the contemporary and refined place that is the image of the Qatari woman who is modern and sophisticated.
The restaurant image matches its clients’ expectations. They come with friends and then come back with their family.
The rest of the clients is composed of business men and tourists who are passing through.

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Influence of the place in the plate

We worked on realizing some quite graphic dressings which might be in relation with some architectural elements of a museum like the “pastilla” that has the same shape as a fountain, or the truffle sauce accompanying the camel that may remind us of the moucharabieh.
We are the only Alain Ducasse restaurant where you can find the influence of a place in the plate. Other than that, dressings are often uncluttered in the Ducasse’s tradition. Idam remains a gastronomical experience, an art of the table, with its diverse trolleys (bread, infusions, desserts) and of course the French service.

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What do you think of the gastronomical scene in Qatar?

Except for hotels, we feel the Indian and Lebanese cuisines a lot in Doha and after having spent two years in the country, I am starting to see a rise in the Italian cuisine. It is a gastronomy that is easy to understand, that suits well. Qatar is also expanding on good quality commodity. The price of its products will most likely drop. So I think for the next years, there will be nice culinary performances at an affordable price in two, three years.


Thank you Chef Romain Meder.

TIP: Ask for a table facing the amazing view of the Doha’s skyline and you can also ask for a little sample of everything at the bread and sweet trolley.

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Selina Farooqui’s Showcase S\S ’14 collection + Interview

Few days ago, TheInsiderPost.com was introduced to a talented and fresh designer, Selina Farooqui, 26 years old, at the W hotel in Doha. One thing, we do love featuring on TheInsiderPost.com, is local talent and upcoming designers showcasing their work…Impressive, as she is still enrolled at the Virginia Commonwealth University here in Qatar.

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Dresses, jumpsuits and boleros amongst other were displayed in a nuanced palette of colors, such as lavender, coral, mint green, black and white.

Selina Farooqui’s collection S\S ’14 echoed her fine art roots, featuring aerial and deeply feminine silhouettes with a twist.

Combining delicate silks with subtle beading and gracefully cut, the collection remained elegant with a playful edge.

We met the  designer for a little chat, here’s an excerpt of the interview:


Could you describe your universe?

First of all this collection was inspired by indian jewelry. You’ll see a lot of embroideries around the neckline. Keeping in mind the whole concept of highlighting your face and bringing attention there. It’s all hand-made embroidery in India. There is glass-crystal, beads, metal wire it’s a very ancient technique using metal wire, like here for example.

I’ve used techniques that are traditionally indian and also in a modern aesthetic and something that’s more international so that the way I have applied them on dresses, something that takes indian inspiration and makes it for everybody.

That’s kind of my world, full of colors and shiny things with lots of details, that’s very important for me, the inside of the garnements, how they are finished, it should all be clean and everything. The Volumes are what I’ve always been doing for three years now, that’s very flowy and feminine. I think that it’s more attractive, because you can choose to highlight your waist if you want with a belt, or you can leave it open. It’s flexible for different kind of women as well. It’s more romantic, nicer and beautiful.


 What about your clientele?

It’s mixed, I have been selling in Doha for three years now, for one year in Dubai. This collection will be available in Saudi Arabia as well. It’s popular in the Middle-East, I have built my base here but I am also looking at international market and one day, when I am ready to, why not expend a little more to Europe or America.

Is there a personal trait in your designs, like a recurring pattern, a signature?

Yes, I have been doing this since I started. You can spot my logo design in the embroideries, or in the collar shape for instance. It’s a bit indian mixed with arabesque. its applied in different ways in my clothes. I also like power shoulders they make a strong statement.

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What’s your plan, tell us a bit more…

I have two collections a year, this is kind of a higher-end line, everything is hand made as I mentioned. So I want to do, in the future, a line hat’s in the middle, something that is maybe not so heavily embroidered and more casual people can mix and match…Jackets, pants, trousers, a bridge line. You have the Selina Farooqui’s here which is the evening wear and also do something more casual. For now it’s clothing but I also want to try jewelry and accessories as well.

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Some pictures of the Lookbook.

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Ralph & Russo Haute Couture S\S ’14 – PFW

Tamara Ralph and Michael Russo compose the dynamic duo behind the Ralph & Russo brand, Ralph being the designer and Russo the entrepreneur.

They are the latest addition from UK to the prestigious and official Haute Couture club and hence picked our full attention.

Closer to Qatar, we have to mention that their designs have been worn by Her Highness Sheikha Mozah and Angelina Jolie, to name a few.


Inspirations come from the 50’s with a modern twist. Volumes with ball gowns and sophistication with graphic silhouette remind us of this era full of drama and elegance.

Colors varies from black, white, royal blue and red but also pale pink and grey for a youthful feeling. Combined with jackets, silk georgette gown and a beautiful silk crepe cape.

We couldn’t help but notice the flower design, as a recurring pattern, which slightly reminded us of a bouquet, such as an offering.

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Creations are delicate, airy and yet stable with matching hats to bring screen stars of this time back into our memories.

Off the runway, they would indeed stand out in the best of ways.

TheInsiderPost.com was at the showcase of their collection for the very first time last January, during the Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week.

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Elie Saab Haute Couture S/S ’14 – PFW

At the eve of the Ready-To-Wear unveiling in Paris, let’s re-discover together the opulence and beauty of Elie Saab‘s Haute Couture Spring\Summer ’14 Fashion Show.

Pastel colors like blush pink, hydrangea blue, and off-white give us a youthful and fresh feeling combined with voluminous gowns, or sheer and lace also the thick embroided.

The collection’s empire waists and gently draped volumes are defined as classical dress.

The top part reveals strapless, plunge-front, or one-shouldered. We could also spot fairy tale gowns with sheer detail and sparkle, mousseline, silk, and blossom. And because it’s 2014, we love the pocket details!

Flower-print gowns that shaded from black near the neckline to white at the hem, with countless colorful blooms in between. Gowns boasting fluid skirts in an ombré of violet, citrine, vivid blue, and coral. Forty-eight silhouettes. Enchanting.

At the finale, for the wedding gown, we could hear some ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the audience, testimony of appreciation. The floral detailed in lace are indeed magnificent!

Elie Saab delivers and how!

TheInsiderPost.com was at the show and here is our selection straight from the runway!

INFO: For our reader based in Qatar, an Elie Saab boutique is scheduled to open in 2014 at The Pearl, Porto Arabia, Doha.

TIP exclusive: The boutique in Qatar will provide Ready-To-Wear collection. Stay tuned for more updates!

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Atelier Versace Haute Couture – S\S’14 PFW

The unveiling of the Atelier Versace Haute Couture Spring\Summer ’14 took place yesterday in Paris under the patronage of Lady Gaga and Anna Wintour, to name a few.

Different ways with draping: sculpted and controlled to highlight the lines of sleek tailoring, or liberated and sensual for fluid silk jersey dresses.

Metallic bugle beads are used for geometric embroideries, while silk jersey is often entirely hand-embroidered with Swarovski crystals.

Furs are redolent, from a super-light white mink and fox coat worn off the shoulder with an attached hood of Swarovski crystal, or an oversized fox fur stole.

Full skirts create elegant volume, made radical in a semi-transparent fabric that’s like liquid glass. Hoods attached to jackets and dresses add allure and drama.

Here’s our selection straight from the runway.

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IDAM, an Alain Ducasse offering to Qatar…

When Gastronomy meets Arts…

This week let’s discover Alain Ducasse’s restaurant in Qatar located at the Museum of Islamic Arts, my personal all time favorite place in Doha.

At your arrival at the location, you get to drive all the way up to the main gate where a valet parking is available. A hostess greets you and walks you through the restaurant where another hostess welcomes you at the door of IDAM restaurant.

The first look is striking. Mainly black and white colors, with lush furniture and edgy decoration by Phillip Starck.

We learn that 80% of the interior decoration has been custom made for the restaurant, with unique items such as the lamps for exemple, created by the designer himself.

A beautiful black carpet with white embroideries of arabic excerpt from the tale ‘One thousand and one nights’ is surely the jewel of the crown. It’s eye-catchy and locally inspired with a blend of culture and beauty.

We are being shown our table, with this amazing and clear view of Doha’s skyline. It gives us a rare sight throughout the atrium window, conceived by architect I.M Pei.

We cannot help but notice the impressive floor to ceiling bookcases. Our hostess informs us that Phillip Starck wanted this dinning experience to be also about ART which includes, various themed books, portraits of arabic artists, and of course Haute gastronomie.

The finest plates, cutlery, and crystal glasses completes this atmosphere of timeless chic and refinement.

I have to mention the chairs though for these are my big crush as you will see in the below pictures.

Comfy white leather seats, grey calligraphy laced combined with the whole interior gives us a fine balance between modernity and classicism with an arabian touch.

The service a la francaise is discreet yet very thoughtful and efficient. The staff is well-trained and speaks fluent Arabic, English and French.

The beverage menu is quite appealing, each drink has been created to complement the dishes with surprising combinations.

In the 60-seats restaurant, couples, friends and family with children were part of the clientele this evening.

The executive chef Romain Meder has created an ambitious and yet very unique and balanced menu.

Various mezze such as samboussek, halloumi royal, Omani shellfish or local lamb & camel combined with foie-gras, truffle or lemon caviar amongst other are on the menu.

Main courses also include the cookpot, signature dish of Alain Ducasse, with a crunchy egyptian rice combined with spicy seafood cooked and seasoned to perfection.

To finish with, desserts. The sweet trolley as a pre dessert, various infusions from all around the world (Marocco, China), and delicate pastries such as the fountain-inspired pastilla, fit all cravings.

And as the saying goes, a picture tells a thousand words…Here’s a sneak peek courtesy of Pierre Monetta.








At the end of your dinner, you also have the opportunity to visit the backstage of IDAM, this little tour is worth the watch as you can rarely access the kitchen of a professional brigade in their work place.

On your way out, a little surprise awaits you. A hostess hands you a little black bag with a sweet box to take away. There is also a card in an elegant black enveloppe summarizing your own dinner with the date of the day, as a memory, a cherished souvenir. Very thoughtful and extremely efficient.

When you get home, feeling comfortable and pampered, and you know that you’ve had a delicious meal and a truly unique experience, pat yourself on the back.

TIP: Ask the waiter for a sample of everything from the sweet and bread trolley, he will gladly oblige.

FashionMADNESS – Doha, 07.12.2013

Well, last week-end I went to this event, FashionMADNESS gathering the BlueBrush staff (hairstylist, colorist, make up artist…), a photographer and a stylist at the The Vanity Room store located in The Pearl, Doha.

The welcome team makes you feel very at ease and taken care of, someone walks you through and explains the schedule of the day.




From 2pm to 10pm, fashionistas, shopaholics, women from all ages and all origins have enjoyed outlet designers clothes , free make up and hairstyle, styling tips and the opportunity to assist to a live photo shoot with gorgeous models…

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The tiny downside was that you had to book online in advance for a session, and I was unaware of this, thinking it would be on a first arrived, first served basis but staff were very helpful and they would try to arrange something for you either a make up session or an express manicure in between appointments or in case of a no-show.

To finish with, a tasty cocktail catered by Alain Ducasse’s restaurant, IDAM.

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