Zakes Bantwini steals the show at the Qatar Fashion United by CR Runway ahead of the FIFA World Cup 2022 final
Culture, Sports, Fashion and Music take the lead at Qatar Fashion United show by CR Runway
It’s not every day that you find yourself in a stadium with close to 20 000 people, all waiting in anticipation to see 151 designers from around the world at a celebration of fashion. The traffic to the impressive Stadium 974 in Ras Abu Aboud, 10km from Doha, Qatar, which is now slated for dismantlement, should have prepared me for what was going to be a monumental evening.
As we alighted our vehicle, there was an air of anticipation. Fellow guests, in chauffeured luxury vehicles, made sure their outfits were impeccable before making their way into the stadium.
There were hushed whispers (amidst excited pointing) as legendary footballers, David Beckham, Ronaldo, and Ronaldinho and model, Maria Borges, made their way inside Stadium 974, while Ozuna performed. The Puerto-Rican musician put on a showstopping (and star-making) performance, one that was the perfect palate cleanser for what was about to follow.
Qatar Fashion United by CR Runway was one of the most anticipated events during the FIFA World Cup 2022 in Qatar. Hosted two nights before the final, which was won Argentina after a penalty’s showdown with France, the event was all about celebrating the intersection of fashion, music, sports, and culture.
The event saw 151 designers from 50 countries in six continents take to the runway. Featuring celebrated and emerging designer brands, made their way around the massive X-shaped runway, to applause from the 20 000 strong crowd. Few would deny it was the biggest fashion show in recent history, attracting some of world’s top supermodels, including Imaam Hamman, Adriana Lima, Alessandra Ambrosio, Isabeli Fontana, Lais Ribeiro, Lineisy Montero and in a rare appearance Noemie Lenoir.
Qatar Fashion United by CR Runway was an idea by Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani. She roped in CR Fashion Book editor, Carine Roitfeld, and CR Runway’s Vladimir Restoin Roitfeld, to organise the event as vehicle to use highlight the talent of emerging and established designers.
In a statement to CR Fashion Book, the HE Sheikha Mayassa said the event was a demonstration of the true power of fashion, music, and football to connect people and transcend borders. “I am so proud of all we have achieved—especially the Qatari and regional designers whose creativity and talent will lead the way for the future of fashion in the region.”
One of the highlights of the evening was seeing the creations of 21 Qatari emerging Qatari talents. The designers, all women, each presented an impressive haute couture level garment. Each garment paid homage to the region, from the culture and topography, the splendour of the luxurious wedding garments worn in the region. As they came out to take their collective bow, there was thunderous applause inside Stadium 974.
And then it was onto the global designers who each provided a look they felt would be perfect for a show that celebrated the intersection of sports, fashion, music, and culture.
South Africa’s Zakes Bantwini proved just why he is regarded as one of the biggest musicians from the African continent. He performed three of his biggest tracks, while wearing Gvllvnt by South Africa’s Tshepo Rakale.
It was during his performance which was part of Italian brand, Off-White’s collaboration with 32 designers from the FIFA World Cup participating countries, that there was an explosion of supermodels, including Adriana Lima, Imaan Hammam, and Cara Taylor.
The models each wore the jersey’s designed by the 32 emerging designers, while Zakes Bantwini performed ‘Imali’. It was one of the best segments of the show, which really show and was the perfect showcase of fashion, music, sports, and culture coming together.
What followed was sports inspired fashion from leading sportswear and luxury fashion brands, which saw more supermodels, take to the runway. Then it was an explosion of Y2K fashion, one of the biggest trends of the past two years, before the show closed off with a tribute to haute couture, with models wearing couture garments in shades of white, oyster and champagne.
The evening ended with a finale walk with “We Are The Champions” by Queen blaring inside the stadium. Impressive fireworks soon followed, marking the end of the fashion showcase. DJ Snake and Post Malone then closed the evening off with fiery performances that had attendees partying the night away.