The Sultanate of Darmaki -
Ted Baker KSA

The Sultanate of Darmaki

It’s not so often I get to use my favorite phrase, so opportunities such as this one must be exploited and harnessed for every ounce of self-congratulatory praise they can afford. I told you so. Those four words reveal more than just my narcissism and adolescent tendency to become annoyingly incessant when I’m right; they also prove that Sultan Al Darmaki is well on his way to becoming one of the fashion world’s greats. Contrary to what you may have deduced, this is not an article on my momentary elated sense of self-entitlement.

This is about Sultan Al Darmaki, the Emirati shoe designer behind the eponymous luxury footwear label, DARMAKI. Okay, and yes, perhaps a little about how I told you so! It was two Junes ago at the Vendôme Luxury Trade Show in Paris that I first set my eyes on the surreal sculptures that made up DARMAKI’s Autumn/Winter 2011 collection. From his feather-embellished Amazonia to his Victorian Durra suede ankle boots, his designs were decadently plagued by a sophisticated vintage aesthetic that mirrors the classism of the days when craftsmanship and innovative design triumphed over good PR and strategic product placements on HBO and reality TV. With the very first collection, DARMAKI signified a revival of wearable art that hasn’t been seen since the golden days of the “Fragonard of the Shoe,” Roger Vivier.

The acquisition of one of DARMAKI’s debut designs by the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, as part of its permanent collection of “significant footwear throughout the ages” is a testament to Al Darmaki’s importance within the fashion industry. Much like Vivier’s “Fabergé of Footwear,” international fashion experts have hailed DARMAKI’s debut collection as “walking works of art,” and “art installations.” And if it were proper writing practice to quote oneself within their own article, I’d happily be placing more than “I told you so,”within quotes. Fortunately, there are numerous sources, who are in agreement with me that DARMAKI has ushered in a new Age of Shoe Enlightenment.

Made in Italy, based in the UK and designed by an Emirati, the brand is as international as they come and as decadent as our self-indulgence will excuse. “A modern twist to my Arab roots,” is how Al-Darmaki humbly summarizes his aesthetic. “Each shoe reflects a different emotion that is expressed through witty finishes, glamorous impact and classical lines.” Beautiful, sexy, and — yes, even comfortable —Al Darmaki has women all over the world wishing they could walk on their hands, as not to harm the art that decorates their feet.

Oasis Magazine got a chance to catch up with the designer, who is quickly becoming a championing figure for the
Middle Eastern fashion scene. Al Darmaki, “The Sultanate of Shoes,” tells us his plans to take over the world by converting one fashionista at a time! (If that’s the case, then consider me a faithful apostle!)


Who is the DARMAKI woman?
The DARMAKI woman is a fashion-forward and sensual woman; she embodies the modern woman’s confidence and femininity. She is beautiful, both timeless and adventurous in her tastes, and demands excellence and exquisite attentionto-detail.

How has growing up among haute couture influenced
you as a designer?
Accompanying my mother and sisters on haute couture buying trips to Europe shaped my understanding of fashion as an art form and enhanced my appreciation of the importance of craftsmanship in   design.


Comfort over aesthetic or vice versa, or do you not believe
in taking sides?
Neither should be sacrificed for the other; we believe you can and should incorporate both elements in the creation of footwear that is not painful for ladies to wear, while at the same time being an object of  beauty.

What comes first: the shoe or the outfit?
The shoe is an integral part of a person’s outfit. So much so, that fashion psychology needs to be reprogrammed to, where we begin dressing for our shoes and not vice-versa.

What has been your proudest moment for DARMAKI?
Being approached by international buyers for leading fashion stores and boutiques to stock the brand.



What did it mean for you to be asked to be part of the
Victoria & Albert Museum in London’s permanent collection
of significant footwear through the ages?
It is overwhelming that having just launched my first footwear collection, an institution such as the V&A invited me to carve a place for DARMAKI in fashion history alongside the world’s greatest designers and artists. Lydia was chosen as a museum worthy showcase piece for the archive because it truly represents the DARMAKI aesthetic. Needless to say, I was and still am honoured and humbled to be the
first contemporary Middle Eastern footwear designer to be represented in the V&A.

What’s next for DARMAKI?
As DARMAKI launches the Spring/Summer 2012 collection in the coming months, our primary aim is to break into new markets, cement relationship with key stockists both in the UK and internationally, drive awareness of the brand through a strategic PR and marketing program and build on the steady success of the previous twelve months.

Lastly, when am I getting my pair?
When you visit us in London
Well worth the trip!
For stocklists near you, visit:

Article By Marriam Mossalli – Oasis Magazine



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