Following a landmark design collaboration with Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar (VCUQatar) earlier this spring, Marsa Malaz Kempinski has unveiled the winning designer of the Lady in Red’s wardrobe and six-month internship; Marwa Al-Said, a fourth year VCUQatar student.

Qatar’s new premier destination tasked budding local designers to create a wardrobe for their iconic Lady in Red, who is the First Lady of the hotel complementing the prestigious concierge role. The brief asked for a collection reflecting the unique concept of her role that is synonymous with the five-star hotel’s trademark of personalised luxury; ensuring guests feel welcomed, comfortable and cared for, with no task or request too much to fulfil.

Marwa Al-Said, winning Qatari designer, said:

This has been such an amazing journey! To have my designs chosen for the iconic Kempinski Lady in Red is an honour. My goal was to dress her in an elegant, luxurious and feminine cut, that’s practical yet allows her to feel comfortable and beautiful. I took inspiration from the 1950’s and 60’s, using soft materials such as crepe, linen, chiffon and cotton. It’s truly an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to learn from such a prestigious brand as Kempinski through this internship so early on in my career.’

General Manager, Marsa Malaz Kempinski, The Pearl-Qatar, Wissam Suleiman, said:

This is an exciting and important collaboration as we look to nurture and support home-grown designers and artisans. We saw amazing and imaginative designs from local students who managed to encapsulate the essence of the Lady in Red perfectly. Marwa’s designs captivated us though and were very much in line with the Kempinski heritage; timeless, fun, stylish and comfortable. We are honoured to welcome her to our team and to have worked with such inspiring talents at VCUQatar.’

Marwa’s design process started with mood boards outlining silhouettes, cuts, materials and colours, along with choosing an era of style for inspiration. This led to the creation of 56 sketches that were narrowed down by a judging panel from Kempinski. For the final 18 sketches, Marwa drew full designs and the judging panel then selected 12 final designs. Her winning sketches reflect the Lady in Red’s elegant persona and signature red clothing; stylish, chic and comfortable, flexible yet durable.

VCUQatar is the Qatar campus of the prestigious Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Richmond, Virginia. Established in 1998 through a partnership with Qatar Foundation, VCUQatar offers students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in fashion design, graphic design, interior design and painting & printmaking, a Bachelor of Arts degree in art history and a Master of Fine Arts degree in design. In addition to a comprehensive annual public events programme that includes a wide range of exhibitions, lectures and fashion events, the University hosts the biennial international design conference Tasmeem and the biennial Hamad bin Khalifa Islamic Art Symposium, attracting globally recognised designers, academics and thinkers while fostering sustainable, university-community partnerships that enhance the educational, economic and cultural vitality of Qatar.