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Noon by Noor Spring 2014 Collection — Inspired by the Tree of Life

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Rosettes were the embellishment of choice at the Noon by Noor Spring 2014 runway show on Friday, September 6th — and with good reason: when creating the looks for the collection, Bahrain-bred designers Shaikha Noor and Shaikha Haya turned to the Tree of Life as a source of inspiration.  The “tree of life” motif is, of course, common to a number of religions, philosophies, and mythologies, its branches and roots connecting all forms of life on Earth, its fruits nourishing civilization and providing medicinal and spiritual healing. But the Noon by Noor designers didn’t necessarily delve into the metaphorical and metaphysical virtues of the Tree of Life; there were no subtle references to Paulo Coelho’s The Alchemist, Terrence Malick’s esoteric The Tree of Life film or Darren Arnofsky’s The Fountain, or ancient Persian and Egyptian myths. Instead, the designers looked to a physical, rather than a symbolic, Tree of Life: a 400-year-old Prosopis cineraria tree standing 25 feet tall and located on a sandy mound in Bahrain. This tree survives in an arid climate with no known source of water to nourish it, making its very existence a source of mystery.

Foliage and flora, then, are uniting themes throughout the Noon by Noor Spring 2014 collection. In most cases, these references are rather literal, as with a long white mesh T-shirt dress with a green palm leaf print (pictured second above); a green daisy print on a white backdrop seen on a long T-shirt dress with a heavily embellished collar (pictured eleventh above), as well as in a boyfriend shirt and matching culottes (shown twelfth above) and a collegiate-looking blazer worn over a shirt and mini skirt (shown thirteenth above); and a navy blue poppy print crop top in a vermilion orange hue paired with high-waisted culottes in the very same print(shown seventh above).

The embellishments also drive the point home — especially the rosettes, which appear in everything from a cream peplum jacket (shown fourth above); a cream cocoon coat with lace sleeves (pictured tenth above); a slim-fitting, long-sleeved, cream-colored dress with a vertical panel of rosettes right along the center (shown ninth above); and a navy strapless peplum top with a below-the-knee pencil skirt (pictured fourteenth above.

In some cases, the rosettes felt dated, as with a blush-colored collarless jacket which was completely covered in rosettes along both front panels, with only its sleeves left unadorned, or with the cream-colored peplum jacket, which would’ve likely looked more chic without the excessive embellishments. In others, the rosettes were a triumph. On the navy-colored strapless peplum top, for instance, these floral details were placed only along the pleated peplum itself, showing greater restraint than in some of the other designs. On the matching skirt, the rosettes were clustered together along the hemline, providing a sense of balance when paired with the top. Similarly, they added an interesting textural juxtaposition on the cream-colored pencil dress shown above. But they were most exciting and successful in the brilliantly beautiful finale look: a textured cream crop top paired with a high-waisted cream ball gown skirt covered in cream-colored rosettes and ink-y blue rosettes covering the hemline and scattered along the bottom of the skirt, giving the look more weight along the bottom and making the skirt feel more connected to the ground, more organic.

The color scheme was as vibrant as it has been in previous Noon by Noor collections, with plenty of orange, coral, navy blue, purple, lilac, and green mixed with basic cream and white shades. Silk was abundant but some of the best pieces were actually crafted using purple lambskin leather  — a gorgeous pair of mini shorts and a slim-fitting, below-the-knee pencil skirt with handy front pockets among them.

Though it could’ve used a bit of editing (again, the rosettes were overkill on many a look) and perhaps incorporated more modern silhouettes (peplum tops and crop tops are both becoming rather tired), the Noon by Noor Spring 2014 collection showed a deliberate effort to move from strictly formal fare to more wearable, sporty yet elegant looks that could be worn on an everyday basis — an important transition for the brand.

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