It is the year 2005, and a label called ‘Bodyamr’ (pronounced body armour) is taking the fashion world by storm. Hailed as ‘one to watch’ by Vogue, Harpers Bazaar also sang the label’s praises, and Harrods completely sold out of its first collection within a week.
Three years later, I find myself standing in the middle of Tottenham Court Road, struck with panic, just seconds away from meeting Amr. This is a man who created the fashion of tomorrow, yesterday. He pioneered the collaboration of Swarovski crystals on vintage Rolling Stones t-shirts, and his delicate silk jersey jumpsuits have just recently been featured by major players in the fashion industry, such as Versace and Yves Saint Laurent. Is this an irritation or a compliment? Amr does not answer, but merely smiles.
‘Where did the name Bodyamr come from?’ I ask, as Amr lights a cigarette from behind a majestic wooden desk. His look is subtle and refined, encapsulated by the elegant gold Rolex he wears with an eclectic selection of bracelets. His answers exude a calm and quiet confidence, his Oman origins untraceable in his accent, the result of a life spent travelling. Amr explains modestly how working for Nicky Haslam’s interior design company, NH, and Nicky’s encouragement to develop his talent eventually led him into the fashion world. The name, he casually explains, was suggested by Annie Lennox while dining with her and Nicky one evening. Bodyamr she suggested, and so Bodyamr it was.
Amr rarely mentions the various international celebrities he has dressed, emphasising instead who the Bodyamr woman is. He explains that she is not necessarily led by trend, but that she makes each trend unique to fit her own style. Above all however, the Bodyamr woman is independent and sexually confident: the kind of woman who walks into a room and makes heads turn. Amr demonstrates not only an intimate knowledge of the female form, which he accentuates through skilful cuts and delicate tailoring, but also of the female mind. This combination epitomizes the Bodyamr woman, and it is this that is his inspiration.
As the conversation turns to the topic of muses, I wait with baited breath for Amr to name a famous celebrity. It was somewhat of a humbling surprise to learn that an old family friend, Shareen, is his ongoing muse, and has been since the time not so long ago when the world of Bodyamr was created. The existence of muses in today’s celebrity obsessed culture is increasingly a commercial tool wherein the muse is used to gain publicity. The innocence of inspiration, although lost by some, has been maintained by Amr. He stresses that Shareen’s input of total honesty is key to his collections, providing him with continuous inspiration.
The influence of numerous cultures on Amr’s personal life has enabled him to create a truly international fan base; with his creations being sold in England, America and the Middle East. The recent Paris Fashion Week also saw orders for stock coming in from everywhere from China to Russia.
Amr was kind enough to show me two pieces Autumn/Winter ‘08 Bodyamr collection. They indicate a collection which he describes as “Pretty Woman meets Blade Runner”; wardrobe staples with a futuristic twist. The tasters leave me excited, mostly because it is so wearable. If you want to be the woman that wore the waisted belt seasons before it came into vogue, then take yourself to Harrods or Net-a-porter.com and invest, invest, invest. His success is merely a foreshadowing of what is to come. Supermodels such as Claudia Schiffer and Jodie Kidd chose Bodyamr to make statements of empowerment on the red carpet. Mercedes Benz chose Bodyamr to dress their models for advertising campaigns which accentuate the curves of their vehicles in the same way Bodyamr’s dresses accentuate the female form. London Fashion Week also chose Bodyamr to front their advertising campaign. So what is there left for me to say? Only to watch this space: Bodyamr is here to stay.
His A/W ’08 collection will be in stores this September. He sells exclusively in Harrods in the UK, but can also be bought on net-a-porter.com.