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Darling Of Dubai - Wednesday July 12 at 8.30 PM



The tale of an expatriate New Zealand fashion designer’s meteoric rise to fame in global haute couture screens next Wednesday in Maori Television’s Pakipumeka Aotearoa slot (Wednesday July 12 at 8.30 PM).

Peter Loughlin (Ngati Tuwharetoa) founded the House of Arushi fashion label in Dubai (the United Arab Emirates), with his wife Mireille in 1989 specialising in haute couture wedding dresses and evening gowns for Middle Eastern women. This includes several of the region's royal families in UAR, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and Oman.

Produced by Maori production company Te Aratai Productions, DARLING OF DUBAI tracks Peter’s journey from the shores of Lake Taupo to the mega-rich city of Dubai.

Arushi is known for exclusive jewel-encrusted and beaded dresses which can take months to make, and cost more than $200,000. Dubai’s glitz is a far cry from Peter’s humble beginnings when his grandmother adopted him and raised him in a large and boisterous family. Peter says his strong Tuwharetoa female whanau were major influences in his early life and pushed him in a direction that eventually led to fashion.

“I was (adopted) by my grandmother at the age of five. She was a woman I adored from the time that I could reason and I thought it was thrilling to be able to live with her permanently. Under that influence, I was basically a little servant for her and you had to listen otherwise you got a big slap! Talk back? No way!” he reminisces.

Catering for his whanau needs from a young age instilled strong disciplinary skills which he harnessed to design, cut, finish, iron, pack and sell his way into the highest annals of haute couture.

Peter’s been working in Europe and Arabia for 30 years and makes frequent trips to New Zealand where he keeps strong whanau ties with his 20 brothers and sisters.

He remains involved in New Zealand’s fashion industry as a mentor with the Arohanui Victoria Memorial Trust – a scholarship set up in memory of fellow designer and whanau member Victoria Cribb who died in Dubai seven years ago. The scholarship enables young designers to travel to Dubai to work alongside Peter and learn the high-fashion styles and techniques distinctive to the label.

He’s also working on other business ventures, including a line of garments destined for a New Zealand market that incorporates intricate beadwork and embroidery with Maori iconography.

Peter’s inspirational story features this Wednesday in Maori Television’s Pakipumeka Aotearoa slot on DARLING OF DUBAI (Wednesday July 12 at 8.30 PM).



Year 2006

Rating General Exhibition (G)

Duration 60-minute documentary film

Language Maori and English

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