Nabil El-Nayal (commonly known as Nabil Nayal) graduated from Manchester Metropolitan University in 2008 and since then, he has well and truly made a name for himself within the fashion industry. Nayal’s designs are inspired by the Elizabethan period and although much of his work is informed by history, it is also distinctly modern through its innovative nature. He has won many awards including the Royal Society of Arts Award and the British Fashion Council MA Scholarship Award, as well as critical acclaim from designers such as Christopher Bailey and the late Karl Lagerfeld.
Nabil Nayal’s Autumn/Winter 2019 collection is called Let Them Revolt and the presentation took place in the BFC’s Discovery Lab space for emerging talent, on the final day of London Fashion Week. The brand’s signature Elizabethan silhouettes were very much present, from a Marie Antoinette-inspired dress to a graphic puffer coat, exemplifying Nayal’s effortless ability to combine the historic and the modern.
With strobe lights and large shards of glass hanging from the ceiling, the presentation aimed to unsettle, as its title would suggest. With two queen figures sat at the centre of the presentation with the rest of the models crowded around them, looking at themselves in the shards of mirror and fixing the hair of the queens, the show’s themes of self-reflection and power exemplified how fashion can affect change.
The video accompanying the presentation, created in collaboration with Hunger Magazine, reflected this also. The short film’s black and white colour palette eventually transformed into something much less uniform, with deep reds and bold, graphic prints being incorporated, much like the palette of the A/W19 collection.
Despite the disruptive nature of this collection, the historical references ensured it was distinctly Nabil Nayal. The brand collaborated with The School of Historical Dress on this dreamy partnership was clear from the detail applied to the exquisite, signature dress of the collection, as well as many of the other pieces.
My personal favourite piece from the collection was the black Elizabethan-style corset-like puffer coat. To be able to transform a piece that has been created in thousands of different ways and is often seen as practical and boring in such an innovative and stylish way is genius. Plus, it would be an extremely practical piece for the Manchester weather.
You can keep up with the brand on Instagram at @nabilnayal. It is definitely one to watch!