Asian Couture Federation Launches MENA Couture Council


The Asian Couture Federation, a private not-for-profit initiative loosely based on the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, has announced the formation of the MENA (Middle East North Africa) Couture Council with the aim of supporting couture talent in that region. ACF founding president Frank Cintamani noted the MENA region has been associated with a number of “exceptional couture-level designers” — such as Basil Soda, Georges Chakra, and Georges Hobeika — but there was to date no region-wide organization to represent their interests.Amongst the first members of the MENA Couture Council are Basil Soda, who regularly presents in Paris during Haute Couture Week, and Abed Mahfouz, known for his dreamy wedding gowns.

Launched in 2013 to advocate and support haute couture in Asia, the ACF had recognized at its launch Guo Pei (China), Yumi Katsura (Japan), Lie Sang Bong (Korea), Sebastian Gunawan (Indonesia), Junko Koshino (Japan), Frederick Lee (Singapore), and Michael Cinco (Philippines) as “Asian Couturier Extraordinaire” and joining them this year are Kaita Maruyama (Japan), Nguyen Cong Tri (Vietnam), and the Dubai-based Filipino designer Furne One (Fernando Singson Barrios) of Amato Couture, who has created several stage costumes for Katie Perry and Beyonce.

At a gala award dinner, the Asian Couture Federation (ACF) bestowed a slew of awards, including the Asian Couture Federation Lifetime Achievement Award to Kenzo Takada, who is also the ACF honorary president; the Outstanding Contribution to the Global Couture Industry to Silvia Fendi (Fendi); and the title Outstanding Menswear Designer to Zio Song (SongZio), who is one of the federation’s Governors.

Cintamani said the awards were a “meaningful way of celebrating (the federation’s first anniversary). More importantly, it reflects the great strides we have made in building our networks and relationships as well as influence on the world stage.”

Since it was launched, the ACF supported a couture presentation of some of its members (Lee, Cinco and Gunawan) in Perth, as part of the Telstra Perth Fashion Festival in September and is also giving its support to Vietnam International Fashion Week in Ho Chi Minh December 1- 6, which will see presentations by French couturier On Aura Tout Vu and Italian couturier Antonio Grimaldi, along with Songzio, Frederick Lee, Nguyen Cong Tri, Tamae Hirokawa (SOMARTA) of Japan, Roj Singhakul (ISSUE) of Thailand, and Tsolmandakh Munkhuu (Tsolo Munkh) of Mongolia.