Bambah Boutique that we all know and love, in particular, their signature big, beautiful bows that are not only a tell-tale sign of a Bambah Girl, but of a vintage spirit. Maha Abdul Rasheed, the brainchild behind the ultra-feminine, flirty and fun fashion label, launched Bambah Boutique as a vintage haven for the thrifty fashionistas, a hotspot full-to-the brim of treasures from the 30’s till the 80’s- that includes iconic pieces from Yves Saint Laurent, Lanvin and Dior.
However, the amount of time she spent scouring vintage markets and stores, and travelling, she put her love of styling, and her passion for vintage and feminine silhouettes, into creating her own namesake label. “Contemporary fashion is no longer the ultimate source of fashion satisfaction,” explains Maha, “Ladies are looking for notable pieces that reflect a unique expression of who they are. The whole idea is the fun within experimenting with pieces and shaping them to fit your figure and personality.” Bambah as we know it today definitely follows the motto of ‘Old Fashion is the New Fashion’, with femininity and elegance, as well as bold bows at the heart, that’s combined with contemporary touches- that resonates of today’s women.
With its throwback to 1950’s fashion and the rise of the elegant lady, the ruffles and bows are tell-tale signs of ballerinas. Inevitably, Maha was drawn to the idea of the famous Ballerinas of Cairo, which is one of the biggest and most successful art projects in Egypt, that captures street-style ballerinas through an artistic, cultural lens. Bambah’s delicate ruffles, bows and feminine silhouettes gave props to the artistic ballerinas who brought Cairo to a standstill, with stunning theatrical artistic moves, not only creating a buzz, but an iconic moment for arts. As well as ballerinas as part of their ‘Bambah Girls’, celebrities such as Priyanka Chopra, Amal Clooney, Dita Von Teese and Emma Roberts are part of their vintage spirit movement.
Luxurious fabrics and striking colourways come together each season to create new and exciting offerings, the brand creates spectacular statement pieces that inject fun into women’s wardrobes. With its generous ruffles, bare shoulders, oversized bows and colourful floral prints- perfect for special occasions, the south of Italy, or simply, where the sun shines! Their SS18 collection entitled ‘Pink City’ tells the story of incredible culture, heritage and mystical Jaipur, India. Combine ballerinas, fashionistas and the maharaja, and you have Bambah Boutique’s SS18 collection Pink City. The exotic colours, prints, textiles and sleek silhouettes give a vintage touch, creating unique and diverse designs full of passion and opulence.
What inspired you to start Bambah as a high-end vintage boutique?
I started Bambah Boutique over seven years ago, positioning it as the first vintage boutique in the UAE. Tucked away in a cosy villa on Dubai’s picturesque Jumeirah Beach Road, we opened our doors with a strong desire to introduce vintage fashion to Dubai’s fashion-savvy crowd. Although at that time the concept of ‘vintage’ was fairly new to the region, the enthusiastic response that I received inspired my interest in designing and pushed me towards establishing my own ready to wear line. Over the years, I have worked very closely with customers in my boutique, which has given me a deeper insight into Middle Eastern trends and tastes; and what ladies in this part of the world are attracted to. Through my observations, I noticed that customers were subconsciously shopping for past trends, and were very interested in styles with nipped in waists, exaggerated sleeves, and princess-style skirts.
Through further interaction and research, I learned that there was a pull towards styles from the 1950’s as well as an evident love, for dramatic clothing with polka dots, balloon sleeves, and oversized bows, along with feminine floral prints and voluminous skirts. After travelling the world searching for the best vintage finds and introducing myself to the world of fashion design, I decided to take the initiative and launch my own ‘vintage inspired’ ready to wear collection. I started creating feminine clothing with soft rounded shapes and full flowing skirts with the intention of bringing back the elegance of previous eras. I wanted to introduce a modern twist into ‘vintage inspired’ styles and offer an affordable evening wear line with an emphasis on excellent craftsmanship, elegant prints, as well as unique and luxurious embroideries. My aim was to encourage ladies to look and feel good about themselves, and I focused my designs on timeless glamour and the rise of the elegant lady. This was the beginning of Bambah RTW!
Bambah’s very own signature image is of bows, can you tell us story of this?
I’m inspired by 1950’s fashion and glamorous women. Two of my style icons from the past are Souad Hosny and Jean Patchett- I like the way they’re both very feminine and very confident within their styles.
The stunning ‘Ballerinas of Cairo’, short fashion film was a phenomenon- what inspired you to be part of this?
Egypt is so beautiful, and I’ve always wanted to share this admiration with the world. You get inspired and recharged with so much energy, just by simply walking down the streets and exploring its charm- and this is something that I really wanted to highlight through this project. As an Egyptian, I was so impressed and mesmerised with the Ballerinas of Cairo’s work and how they’re bringing out the beauty of the country. I immediately imagined how gorgeous it would be to showcase Bambah’s gowns and iconic pieces, which move so well, on such a lovely backdrop. I loved the contrast of the rich, antique buildings with our modern-day twist on Fifties silhouettes. Bambah’s pieces are also very energetic and tend to move very well, so we thought no one could do them justice like a beautiful ballerina roaming around the streets of Cairo! Bambah collaborated with the masterminds behind ‘Ballerinas of Cairo’ and released ballerinas to create magic on the streets of the ancient city, that resulted in a set of images that captivated the essence of Bambah’s iconic pieces, which were left to move naturally- dancing to the beats of Cairo.
What do you love most about what you do?
I love how diversified my life is and that no two days are the same. I also love it when my customers are happy, and I find that to be the most rewarding thing about what I do.
Who would you love to dress that you haven’t yet?
Giovanna Battaglia Engelbert.
Bambah, SS18 collection ‘Pink City’ is inspired by Jaipur, India, and its exotic colours. the prints, textiles and sleek silhouettes give a vintage touch, creating unique and diverse designs, full of passion and opulence.
What would you say is your most favourite memory?
When I was younger, I’d go through my mother and grandmother’s pictures from their youth, and long for their style and fashion. I started looking for unique, one-off pieces while travelling, and that’s how I started collecting vintage items.
Who would be your dream lady to dress, and why?
Queen Rania of Jordan, because she is one of my personal fashion idols, as she is a beautiful example of how modesty meets fashion and elegance within the Middle East, as well as the rest of the world.
What is planned for the near future of Bambah?
We’re currently working on our new AW18 campaign and collection, which is inspired by Arabian art and the magical Riads of Morocco.