Red is the New Pink: Sukeina’s “Cardinal Rule”

Sukeina Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear
Photos by Max Papendieck for Sukeina

I cannot get the images of Queen Elizabeth’s royal funeral out of my mind. What an extraordinary event; at once solemn and celebratory. The pageantry, the pomp, and circumstance, the trumpets, the dashing uniforms! It is hard not to notice how those red uniforms stood out in a sea of somber black.

Coincidentally, during NYFW fashion week, I was thinking about how red is “the new pink.” Pink, especially that one vivid shade, dubbed “Pierpaolo Pink,” is so hackneyed at this point; it’s almost become a cliché. If you really want to stand out, wear red. Many designers incorporated red for both day and night into their collections. One designer, Omar Salam, founder and designer of Sukeina, built almost his entire collection around red.

“Though red is dramatic, it’s not about the color at all. It’s more about the nonconforming nature of it”:

Omar Salam, Founder and Designer, Sukeina
Sukeina Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear
Photo by Max Papendieck/ Courtesy of Sukeina

Omar’s formal installation was held at the Ritz Carlton Nomad Hotel. Omar used only two Black models to show 27 looks, which was quite dramatic and effective. This season, Salam was inspired by the red cardinal, a bird that is very symbolic and associated with many omens. Omar explains that while numerous animals adapt to their surroundings, the red cardinal is inward and remains loyal to itself.

“It’s a story about radical acceptance. The things that aren’t necessarily popular about you are precisely what your great contribution to community is”

Omar Salam

Omar uses the dramatic color as a signal, an alert, and punctuation of the urgency in understanding there is a YOU that is necessary and poignant. “You are enough, even though it may not be popular,” says Omar. “We’re living at a time when everything seems to look the same.

Sukeina Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear
Photo by Max Papendieck/ Courtesy of Sukeina

People go to the same plastic surgeons and look like the next ones.” Instead of trying to look like that one thing deemed the acceptable way to go, take inspiration from the red cardinal and practice self-acceptance.

Sukeina Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear
Photo by Max Papendieck/ Courtesy of Sukeina

Omar would love to see women embrace their sense of self and be empowered by their curves, beauty, and rhythm. Salam is used to dressing female powerhouses: in the recent past, Naomi Campbell, Jessica Chastain, and Amal Clooney have stepped out in his designs. Sukeina is the name of Omar’s beautiful late mother.

Amal Clooney in Sukeina Spring 2022
Photo: vogue.co.uk

Omar founded Sukeina in 2012. I have been a fan of the Nice born New Yorker since his runway show for spring 2021. In fact, I was so impressed; I devoted an article to the collection. Omar’s work, anchored in craft, is very haute couture.

Omar Salam
Photo Courtesy Sukeina

Salam is very consistent, and he stays true to his aesthetic. All the elements that attracted me to this designer continue to appear each season. The braiding treatment, a technique the house has developed over the years, the knots, and the precision folds are house signatures.

Omar loves being conservative and covering up, but his woman is definitely not dowdy. Salam’s designs are body conscious and, at times, revealing. He employs lighter, translucent materials to show some skin, but it’s not so obvious.

Sukeina Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear Photo by
Max Papendieck/ Courtesy of Sukeina

Omar finds it far more interesting and intriguing when women are dressing in a way that is less overtly sexual. “I have an obsession with covering people’s necks. It’s very monastic. There is nothing more sensual than a covered neck,”

Sukeina Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear
Photo by Max Papendieck/ Courtesy of Sukeina

This season, Salam uses 32 thoughtfully curated fabrics, including Japanese neoprene, powder and honeycomb mesh, satin Duchesse, silk organza, silk chiffon, and artisanal lace. Omar admits he chooses “underwhelming” and very “simple” fabrics. They can retreat as long as they have a nice honest feel and touch.

Sukeina Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear
Photo by Max Papendieck/ Courtesy of Sukeina

Last April, Omar was named as one of 10 CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalists. He was featured as one of fashion’s new faces in the September issue of Vogue. In addition to direct-to-consumer, Sukeina is sold at Bergdorf Goodman in New York (Linda Fargo is an incredible supporter, says Omar).

Sukeina Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear
Photo by Max Papendieck/ Courtesy of Sukeina

The collection is available at Hampden in North Carolina and Marissa Collections in Palm Beach. They are also in conversation with a few “really great” stores around the world www.sukeina.co,

Sukeina Spring 2023 Ready-to-Wear
Photo by Max Papendieck/ Courtesy of Sukeina

Salam prefers not to be everywhere to control the “verve and the passion” around the label. “Every time we drop a collection, it soars in terms of creativity. People respect it, it is very recognizable, and it is not a duplication of anything else that is out there. I would rather do less and well than more and watered down”. Touche!

Latest Comments:

Marilyn Kirschner

I am a long time fashion editor with 40+ years of experience. As senior market of Harper's Bazaar for 21 years I met and worked with every major fashion designer in the world and covered all of the collections in Paris, London, Milan and New York. I was responsible for overall content, finding and pulling in the best clothes out there, and for formulating ideas and stories.

1 Comment
  1. absolutely gorgeous pieces and beautifully written article by Marilyn . . . I wish this young man well . . . he clearly is a huge talent

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

© Copyright 2022 LookOnline. All rights reserved.