Designers

Syrian Designer Rami Al Ali Launches His First Bridal Couture Collection After Covid-19

Syrian Designer Rami Al Ali Launches His First Bridal Couture Collection After Covid-19

Dubai-based designer Rami Al Ali launches an exquisite Bridal Couture 2022 Collection that features seven timeless creations highlighting modern romance and old-school glamour between its silky fabrics.
Photo: Courtesy of Rami Al Ali
As the bridal world struggles to find that spark of ‘eternal love’ on the big day, Rami Al Ali launches a timeless Bridal Couture 2022 collection that embodies an ecstatic vision combining beauty and unparalleled elegance with hints of modernism. As seven creations dazzle in the spotlight of this collection, Al Ali reiterates the symbolic meaning of couture in this line that it must be cherished forever. The contemporary Bridal gowns envisioned by the designer redefine modern romance and the bounds of artistry with their sensual allure and incomparable beauty. In striking contrast to the designer’s 2021 Bridal Couture, his new collection journeys into enhancing old-time silhouettes. “It’s an evaluation of the past collection. We mastered certain techniques and gave stronger results,” says Al Ali. “Our structured architected shapes are lighter, more in control, and practical. Our embroidery follows classic methods but with a new modern spirit. Silhouettes are Victorian, decadent, rich but more relevant to today’s style and taste.”
As silks, satins, and tulles ruffle in the designer’s creative midst, classic embroidery harmonizes with old-school glamour as the liberating pieces gracefully highlight modern-day sophistication. “Brides are moving a bit from big rich voluminous gowns to either minimal or structural shapes, more geometric graphical embroidery motifs,” he continues.
Photo: Courtesy of Rami Al Ali
An inspiring, dream-like aura persists throughout the collection of princess-cut gowns and feather-layered skirts in bold white and ivory colors. “I think brides are now a bit bolder when it comes to the choice of color, not just the design,” says Al Ali. “They want something that looks more vintage and mysterious, yet many brides still prefer the classic shades of light off-white.” All the individualistic gowns feature structured bodices with beads and embroidery embedded in the artistic creations. One gown that notably stands out in the collection is the voluminous satin gown with a corset-like bodice and sculptural off-the-shoulder sleeves – a contrast between whimsical fantasies and modern-day beauty coming together in a dramatic silhouette of vintage glamour. The veil paves way for an unparallel elegance with lace embroidery as it scrapes the floor with a princess-like allure. Another romantic creation is the strapless satin gown with gorgeous silver embellishments glittering subtly for that old-school allure. As Rami Al Ali launches these timeless romantic pieces, the designer paves way for the rebirth of romance and elegance in weddings reiterating a new era for Bridal Couture that once stood unhinging.
This time, the designer explores his unrivaled knowledge of fabrics and illustrations as the gowns encompass ostrich feathers, delicate beading, and floral appliqué designs. The strapless gown featuring ostrich feathered sleeves is the very picture of effortless beauty in dramatic patterns and theatrical silhouettes for the brides seeking an extravagant entrance.
Photo: Courtesy of Rami Al Ali
As Rami Al Ali conquers the subtle art of persevering through the unsettling waters of the fashion world, his creative vision and unique craftsmanship undoubtedly eternalize his work – a monumental landmark in couture. Steering away from conventional notions of beauty while preserving an unparalleled sense of elegance in his hand-stitched couture collections, Al Ali has successfully garnered attention on national and international fashion forums as he breaks boundaries with distinctive designs. As the designer reiterates his passions, he recollects a motto that he carried forth into his creative work. “My professor at art college told me to never be fully content and stuck in one perspective,” he says. “I think it’s the epitome of the fashion design ethos.”
As the enthralling designer carries forth his life passions of supporting women in the line of work while dedicating his purpose to empowering art, he rises amidst the challenges of the pandemic that halted all celebrations – now envisioning a brighter future replete with exquisite bridal couture wear for women. “This is our first Bridal Couture after the pandemic,” says the designer. “We wanted to present what brides are looking for now, something grand, creative, different, and happy – something that says I have been waiting two years to do this.”
Read Next: Syrian Couturier Rami Al Ali on Celebrating 20 Years of His Eponymous Fashion House

Couturier Tony Ward Pays Tribute to Father and Designer Elie Ward on His Death

Couturier Tony Ward Pays Tribute to Father and Designer Elie Ward on His Death

Elie Ward. Photo: Courtesy of Tony Ward
Lebanese couturier Elie Ward passed away on Monday, October 24, leaving behind a 7o-year legacy upheld by his son and designer Tony Ward. The sad news comes in the same year as the fashion house’s double celebration, which marked the 25th anniversary of the Tony Ward brand and 70 years since the late designer established Ward Ateliers in 1952. In tribute, the fashion house has released a heartfelt statement, and a retrospective of Ward’s lauded career.
Photo: Courtesy of Tony Ward
“He as one of the first pioneers of Lebanese couture talent, laying the groundwork and paving the way for designers emerging from the country today,” reads the statement. “Elie’s creations were a must-have for Lebanese high-society women. Famous for his tailored suits, which were known to last a lifetime, Elie was still handling the suits manufacturing up until few years ago. 70 years later, his savoir-faire is, and will always be, alive in the Ateliers. Generations of tailors and ‘petites mains’ learned from him the secrets of tailoring and the passionate commitment to exquisite craftsmanship and perfection in the details.”
It continues: “He will always be remembered for being warm, generous, down-to-earth but also serious and direct when creating in the Ateliers. He proved dedication to his passion until his very last days at work…”

Scroll down for a look back on some of the highlights from Elie Ward’s career and pictures shared by Tony Ward in loving memory of his father.
Photo: Courtesy of Tony Ward
Photo: Courtesy of Tony Ward
Photo: Courtesy of Tony Ward
Photo: Courtesy of Tony Ward
Photo: Courtesy of Tony Ward
Photo: Courtesy of Tony Ward
Photo: Courtesy of Tony Ward
Photo: Courtesy of Tony Ward
Photo: Courtesy of Tony Ward
Photo: Courtesy of Tony Ward
Photo: Courtesy of Tony Ward
Photo: Courtesy of Tony Ward

Meet the Fashion Trust Arabia 2022 Finalists Presenting Bold Craftsmanship While Staying True to Their Roots

Meet the Fashion Trust Arabia 2022 Finalists Presenting Bold Craftsmanship While Staying True to Their Roots

Throughout history, fashion has proven its power as a way of communication, especially when languages fail to connect and unite. As the world shifts and changes, the power to express emotions and boldly tackle elusive topics is more vital than ever before. Catering to a region that is determined to leap towards the future, these designers prioritize craftsmanship and unbridled innovation. Fashion Trust Arabia (FTA) co-chair Her Excellency Sheikha Al Mayassa bint Hamad bin Khalifa Al Thani is known for her eagle eye and elevated taste. A true connoisseur of art and fashion, Her Excellency launched FTA in 2018 under the patronage of HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser as honorary chair, and with co-chair Tania Fares.
Burc Akyol
Photo: Malak Kabbani. Vogue Arabia, November 2022
A guest Turkish designer finalist to Fashion Trust Arabia, Burc Akyol is a testament to how far a person’s upbringing can shape his entire journey. Raised in a household led by strong Turkish women in France, Akyol learned from a young age the preferences and nature of competent women. From his grandmother to his mother and two sisters, the designer’s aesthetic reflects his female idols. Often genderless and artisanal, his work is seductive, dramatic, and powerful, with undisputed admiration for primary colors, especially black. On the other hand, the designer’s respect for intricate tailoring comes from his father, a tailor, subcontracted for Parisian couture houses. “My father had to learn on his own; it was not a chosen profession. I guess what influences me most about him is how putting his mind to something meant he could do it. We only know the limits we accept.” Naturally, he finds solace in tuxedos, naming them the perfect uniform.
Şansım Adalı
Photo: Malak Kabbani. Vogue Arabia, November 2022
Designing for better days, Şansım Adalı’s aesthetic speaks volumes of her romantic, colorful, and ultra-feminine aesthetic. With tulle being her signature fabric, her “street couture” designs are often contemporary and dramatic, catering to a woman who refuses to get lost in the background. Loyal to her Syrian roots as well as her Turkish identity, Adali’s brand, Sudi Etuz, underlines refined craftsmanship that is reflected in detailed beading, elaborate ruffles, and structured tailoring. “I find inspiration not only in what I experience daily, but also, in what I dream to experience in the future as I am well immersed in digital projects and technology.” While keen to incorporate sustainable fabrics and techniques, Adali also refuses to miss an opportunity to experiment with technology, such as her successful venture to showcase her designs virtually, capitalizing on the futuristic potential of the metaverse.
Leila Roukni
Photo: Malak Kabbani. Vogue Arabia, November 2022
After a decade in the business, Moroccan designer Leila Roukni woke up one morning and decided to embrace her inner main-character energy and change the rules of the game. Launching her luxury accessories label in 2019, Roukni’s Talel aims to challenge monotonous shapes and forms. The Parisian brand’s leather handbags and accessories define irregularity and unpredictability as sought-after fashion statements. A reflection of the designer’s free soul, Talel is made for the women of today, who often find solace in their most trusted pieces of accessories. Expressive and colorful, the Talel bags are profound storytellers of Roukni’s travels, dreams and needs as a contemporary Arab woman.
Amna Alsalem
Photo: Malak Kabbani. Vogue Arabia, November 2022
Growing up surrounded by priceless art, it was no surprise that Amna Alsalem would choose to forge her way into the creative industry and teach herself the techniques to craft her designs. Being the daughter of an art collector, Alsalem’s admiration for art remains unscathed. The ready-to-wear designer follows her own rhythm as she often regards clothes as an artistic expression that should withstand the test of time and continue to prove authenticity. Produced in Kuwait, utilizing materials sourced between Paris and Milan, Alsalem’s garments can be instantly identified by their meticulous tailoring and levelof craftsmanship.
Yasmin Mansour
Photo: Malak Kabbani. Vogue Arabia, November 2022
An entrepreneur, Yasmin Mansour established one of Qatar’s earliest fashion houses in 2014. Inspired by art and architecture, the designer appreciates the liberty of dreams, eloquence of art, and power of collaboration. Moreover, Mansour’s definition of luxury does not veer away from the principles of sustainable fashion and women empowerment. “When it comes to what I want to achieve next, sustainability is the current goal; I want to showcase how luxury clothing can also be sustainable,” shares the designer when asked about her top priority. Her most recent collection, Kitabaat Haute Couture FW22-23, is the result of her collaboration with Qatar-based artist Bouthayna Al Muftah. Bridging the undisputed beauty of traditions and liberty of modernity, the collection focuses on shape and form as it encompasses fine pleats, dramatic silhouettes, and statement bows – all complemented by Al Muftah’s cursive calligraphy.
Duha Bukadi
Photo: Malak Kabbani. Vogue Arabia, November 2022
With humor and the intention to make a lasting impression, Pupchen is a sustainable footwear brand that is not for the faint-hearted. Initiated by Tunisian designer and architect Duha Bukadi, Pupchen revolts against tradition, routine, and monotone. “We are supposed to have fun with everything in our life,” Bukadi continues with a smile. “I wanted to create these shoes that will spark a conversation between two strangers in the street, that will be something to make fun of during a very serious meeting.” Often inspired by her vivid dreams and always aiming to offer a satire commentary on everyday life, Pupchen’s footwear is as practical and comfortable as it is nonconformist. Designed in Tunisia, with prototypes made in Maison Massaro, part of Chanel’s Métiers d’Art in Paris, the pieces are manufactured in Italy.
Yousra Elsadig
Photo: Malak Kabbani. Vogue Arabia, November 2022
Yousra Elsadig’s Boutique de Nana has become synonymous with sustainable luxury and social activism. Ever since the brand’s launch in 2016, the Sudanese designer has been keen on being recognized for masterful design and precision as well as impactful fundraising. “Brands these days are blank canvases that may convey any message they feel strongly about. They can shed light on issues that need the world’s attention via their designs and consequently campaigns,” Elsadig adds. Often inspired by her homeland, Elsadig’s narrative is peppered with traditional craftsmanship as well as progressive techniques and modest styles – creating a balance between soulful design and flawless delivery.
Kazna Asker
Photo: Malak Kabbani. Vogue Arabia, November 2022
Fueled by her sense of activism and desire to bring forward positive change, Kazna Asker is a new talent who aims to change unfortunate realities and bring forward a better future through her designs as well as her growing community. “I aim to use fashion as a platform to encompass the  values associated with community, activism, and charity by representing the people of my community who are not usually represented or have a voice within the fashion world,” shares Asker enthusiastically. Making use of the best of both worlds, the outspoken designer is continuously inspired by her Yemeni heritage as well as her life in the UK. Hence her unexpected combination of sportswear aesthetic and woven Middle Eastern fabrics. Asker’s design persona is best represented through her matching sets for men and women, as well as a range of tracksuits and contemporary abayas.
Dalila Barkache
Photo: Malak Kabbani. Vogue Arabia, November 2022
Defying orthodox norms, Dalila Barkache enjoys tampering with the conventional restrictions of jewelry-making. The Moroccan designer is known for her edgy and wild shapes that give traditional fine jewelry a much-needed twist. Between her roots, her early upbringing in suburban Paris, and her years as a jewelry designer in Beirut, Barkache tells many stories through her designs; and most importantly, she gifts her customers an extension of her life experience. While paying homage to traditional Berber ornaments, the designer adds touches of modern romanticism and rock-and-roll accents. After more than a decade since the inception of her eponymous brand, Barkache has reached a wide range of loyal customers, from Dover Street Market in London, to New York, and Ginza in Tokyo.
Originally published in the November 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia
Style: Natalie WesternoffPhotography assistant: Fenton Bailey Hair: Liam RussellMakeup: Bari Khalique Fashion assistant: Caprice Brown Model: Mariam Abdallah at Select
Read Next: Amina Muaddi, Zuhair Murad, and More—Meet the Jury of Fashion Trust Arabia 2022

Christian Louboutin’s Commitment to Preserving Egyptian Heritage Will Be Honored By the World Monuments Fund

Christian Louboutin’s Commitment to Preserving Egyptian Heritage Will Be Honored By the World Monuments Fund

Photo: Courtesy of Christian Louboutin
Christian Louboutin‘s commitment to preserving Egyptian cultural heritage is being recognized by the World Monuments Fund. The famed shoe designer, who is part Egyptian, has been named the recipient of the organization’s Hadrian Award for his financial support to the Colossi of Memnon in Luxor, which has seen the excavation of 113 sculptures of the goddess Sekhmet and various other ancient columns.
Louboutin will be presented with the award at the 33rd Hadrian Gala on October 24 at the Rainbow Room in New York. As part of the World Monument Fund, which advocates for projects to safeguard heritage sites and monuments worldwide, the annual event celebrates individuals championing cultural conservation and preservation works. The gala will also honor Mellon Foundation president Elizabeth Alexander, and art collector Suzanne Deal Booth, with Lacma director Michael Govan and Monument Lab director Dr Paul M Farber, presenting their awards respectively.
Leading up to the gala are a number of events planned by the organization, which include the World Monuments Summit on October 22, with  Louboutin participating in a special talk on Egypt and how it has inspired his work. It will be followed by a gathering at Louboutin’s Madison Avenue boutique, with sale proceeds going to the World Monument Fund and the next day, a tour and reception hosted by Diane von Furstenberg on Little Island with designer Thomas Heatherwick.
Since being founded in 1965, the organization has raised more than $ US300 million. More recently, it released its World Monuments Watch list by naming 25 heritage sites as urgent projects for the organization.
Read Next: Idris and Sabrina Elba on Joining Forces with Christian Louboutin for a New Charity Shoe Collection

Giambattista Valli on His First Decade in Haute Couture, His Very Roman Upbringing, and His Next Steps in Paris

Giambattista Valli on His First Decade in Haute Couture, His Very Roman Upbringing, and His Next Steps in Paris

Photo: Edgar Berg. Vogue Arabia, October 2022
Clad in his signature strand of pearls over an easy sweater, Giambattista Valli is kicking back with a joyful expression following his Vogue Arabia photo shoot in his baroque-style showroom in Paris. Central to the shoot were his signature grand couture dresses, spotlight stealers like macarons on a plate. Voluminous proportions have been a part of Giambattista Valli’s creative vision since birth really. The 56-year-old describes his youth as one in which he felt like a character in a Fellini-esque setting. The center of Rome was and still is today, a place where all – aristocrats, waiters, gallerists, and the homeless – are characters in a colorful painting that never changes. “Everything is oversized in Rome. I am very used to that kind of disproportion and that’s why I play a lot with it within my collections,” he says, noting that Roberto Capucci (another Rome native), with whom he first worked, was a master at this. “It was alla mano and I love that about Rome,” he enthuses, noting that the expression means easygoing or down-to-earth.
Photo: Edgar Berg. Vogue Arabia, October 2022
It all began at the age of seven, when Valli’s parents took him to watch The Leopard by Luchino Visconti. Much to his chagrin, it was not a Disney movie as the name suggested, but instead a film that would forever serve as a definition of female beauty. Struck by the scene in which Claudia Cardinale’s character burst out laughing in a room of stiff aristocrats, like a “wave of freshness of sunlight coming through a dusty room,” he often reflects on this sort of “spontaneous beauty” during the creative process. Young Valli spent much time with his grandmother, particularly when she was being fitted at home for her dresses. There, Valli met his first “accomplice,” a seamstress named Caterina, a regular fixture in his family and the woman who sewed the eight-year-old’s first ensembles for Barbie. “There was no internet or TikTok or Instagram. Just me watching her stitching for hours. I was obsessed with seeing her and would ask her to make dresses and tell her exactly what I wanted. Caterina was my first première and Barbie was my first fitting model,” he adds, noting that the women in his family were not fashionistas but were strong, forward-thinking women who broke traditional molds. Among his aunts was one of Italy’s first attorneys and another, one of the nation’s first engineers.
Photo: Edgar Berg. Vogue Arabia, October 2022
Valli’s Roman roots and celebration of excess endures on the runway today in an ever more contemporary context. His landmark, 10-year anniversary July show unfurled in endless meters of tulle, silk faille, and duchesse ruffles. Romantically architected silhouettes were accented with delicate feathers and contrasted with bold ropes of crystal, chunky chandelier earrings, and exaggerated hair pieces fashioned into retro ribbons. It was a culmination of his life’s work, and a testament to his youthful vision. “When you go to school in the state of the Vatican, you see all this art around you and you grow up with a different approach to aesthetic,” he says, adding that he attended school steps away from the Vatican Museum, with great Roman creatives like filmmaker Emanuele Crialese who directed the French Italian film L’immensità.
In fact, when Valli comes to mind, one recalls his persistent vision, his knack for drapery and generous, showstopping amounts of silk and tulle, gathered sleeves, sculpted ruffles, and unexpected shoulders – styles that celebrate various female forms that have crystallized historic moments of every important red carpet event, from the Oscars to the Grammys to royal weddings. And a career path and résumé that includes Emanuel Ungaro and Italian houses like Roberto Capucci, Krizia, and Fendi where he met Karl Lagerfeld, who never thought couture would go out of style and was curious about everything. “For sure Capucci was the first love I will never forget. [His work was] drunk with colors and volumes… then I learned a lot from Fendi when Karl Lagerfeld arrived. While at Ungaro, there were still two employees who had worked with Cristóbal Balenciaga himself. Every experience was very precious.”
Photo: Edgar Berg. Vogue Arabia, October 2022
Valli moved to Paris in 1997 to start working with Ungaro, where he was made creative director and would go on to launch his namesake brand in 2005. Away from Rome’s chaotic splendor, it was in Paris where he learned what it was like to be alone, to build something from nothing. Valli says fashion journalist Suzy Menkes described him and his rise in Parisian circles best. “She once said I was like a guy on a fast-riding bicycle riding through a traffic jam of limousines,” he laughs, recalling his early days before his couture dreams came to fruition. “Yves Saint Laurent used to tell me, ‘Remember that the stars shine in the dark,’” he points out, and that was the mantra Valli lived by when he started his eponymous label, which he fought to get off the ground financially, working various jobs, and building a high-end, ready-to-wear brand. “You can’t imagine how many fashion jobs I did. A lot. Consulting, working 24 hours night and day. When you have a dream in your life, you do it with pleasure,” he shrugs.
Grounded in his charisma and fun-loving style, Valli’s brand quickly attracted the attention of influencers of the time, a sort of fashion set now referred to as the “Valli girls.” Diane Kruger, Bianca Brandolini, Charlotte Olympia Dellal, Eugenie Niarchos, Tatiana Santo Domingo, and grand dames like the late Lee Radziwill, to name a few. Fresh, yet retro, futuristic and dramatic, Valli continues to emerge as a global sensation. “Create your strategy like a strategist and execute it like a savage,” he responds when asked what advice he can pass on to novice designers of today.
Photo: Edgar Berg. Vogue Arabia, October 2022
Things shifted with a nudge from American Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, who encouraged him to take the plunge. And in July 2011, he was invited to the Fédération de la Haute Couture to show as a guest member, and was granted the official Haute Couture appellation by the end of the year. Charlotte Casiraghi wore a Giambattista Haute Couture gown to the wedding of Prince Albert II of Monaco, days before the first show that same year. Valli had already ventured into couture via weddings in 2005, with the nuptials of Maya Askari and Archduke Maximilian of Austria. Rania Al Abdullah, Queen of Jordan, and Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser were among his first loyal clients. Amal Clooney, who wore one of his creations for her wedding brunch in Venice, was drawn to Valli as a person, just as much as she was attracted to his designs. “He was immediately warm and charming and by the time I left his studio that day, we were friends. I joked that I would consider him my second husband and that is still what I call him,” she muses. The emboldened, sophisticated style of the Middle East and its fashion icons are a key driver for Valli’s projects and his future. “We speak the same kind of language. They are the leaders of femininity right now.”
Photo: Edgar Berg. Vogue Arabia, October 2022
When Valli contemplates the near future, he says his house is on the verge of expansion in terms of branding, image, and message. One day, Valli says he aspires to establish his label alongside historical international luxury fashion houses, to which he is often unfairly compared. After all, such maisons are over 70 years old and house generations of archives. The decision to grow is not necessarily for his own family, but for the sake of evolving and changing with the times. A notion that prompts him to recall a quote from the late French media baron Jean-Luc Lagardère: “The moment you stop taking risks, is the moment you are getting old.” Today, he finds solace in spending time with his family, his partner, and his nine-year-old son, who wants to be a soccer player. “I don’t want to give my son that entitlement and I want him to be anything he wants to be. I hope that he’s going to do everything in life he desires and if he decides to make the same number of sacrifices I made in mine, it will be for something that drives his soul and his dreams.”
Originally published in the October 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia
Hair: Annesofie BegtrupMakeup: Aurelia LiansbergModel: Amira Al Zuhair at Elite Paris
Read Next: Giambattista Valli on Bringing Couture to H&M

Lebanese Designer Hussein Bazaza is Evoking the Mythical “Monsters Under the Bed” with His New Collection

Lebanese Designer Hussein Bazaza is Evoking the Mythical “Monsters Under the Bed” with His New Collection

Photo: Courtesy of Bazaza
We all have heard of monsters under the bed, the eerie myth associated with the fear of nighttime. But when it comes to a designer, a Lebanese one nonetheless, it can be a safe space where imagination runs free. Meet Hussein Bazaza, who claims the idea to be his sanctuary and the source of inspiration behind his latest collection titled ‘Under My Bed’. The pieces were a year in the making and designed in Beirut despite all odds that continue to face its people.
Photo: Courtesy of Bazaza
“The place under my bed was not envisioned as a spooky or scary space; on the contrary, it carries a lot of beading and shine, a fancy atmosphere filled with sparkles of hope apparent in all the intricate beadworks on our gowns,” says the designer of the pieces that bring together fabric like chiffon, tweed, tulle leather, denim, and lace. Taking after the fairies and mythical creatures under one’s bed, the designs come alive with sculptural and textured details reminiscent of scales, wings, and feathers, and elements like petals, mushrooms, snakes, and eyes. The designer’s signature color palette of vibrant hues is emboldened this time as Bazaza created them to pop against a pitch-black room, similar to the colors one sees on tightly shut eyes.
Photo: Courtesy of Bazaza
Below, the designer speaks to Vogue Arabia about working from Beirut, the mindset behind his latest collection, what’s next for the much-loved brand, and much more.
Why did you choose to continue operating from Beirut despite challenges?
Leaving Beirut was never an option; it isn’t easy to let go of the home you’ve built everything in after all these years, to leave your family and friends behind for hope outside of your country. It makes me miserable to think I might be happier abroad. Every Lebanese has a love-hate relationship with Beirut and it is just the way it is. Toxic, but we can never let go.
Photo: Courtesy of Bazaza
How did Covid-19, the Beirut blast, and the subsequent situation affect your creativity?
I started questioning my creativity even before Covid hit, so when we went into the pandemic and had the country in flames in parallel, it was a lot of fear of the unknown in the beginning. As we got accustomed to the situation sadly, I decided to take it as a break to step back, slow down and stop being harsh on myself. To look for the answers I needed to the questions and doubts I had instead. I started experimenting with new things within my scope of work and out of it; from self-discovery and self-care to sometimes self-sabotage. I had to go through all of this to slowly come out of it with my creativity not only back but also in full force.
Photo: Courtesy of Bazaza
As a Lebanese designer, do you feel a certain pressure to counteract the hardships of your people with your work?
Being Lebanese, the pressure has been embedded in us from the start. It is almost innate. We have to constantly work harder every day and smarter than others to prove ourselves to the world, lift our people up and show everyone we are worthy with our talents and our capabilities. It will always be one of the core sources of my work.
Photo: Courtesy of Bazaza
How did the Under My Bed collection come to be?
I’ve been working on this collection for the past year now and the inspiration came directly after a moment in bed, in the space of time when you’re about to drift off to sleep but your mind is still racing. I had this curiosity about finding the source of the originality of one’s ideas. It was simply an epiphany that stuck and affected the creation of this collection. I wanted it to really speak about my contemplation and resonate with the audience, and every time I’d try to envision it again, it would take me to a void black room with a lot of colors and sparkles, which is how I brought it to life.
Photo: Courtesy of Bazaza
What were the best and the most challenging parts about creating this collection?
The best part about it was that I was really free in creating whatever I wanted without putting myself under any sort of pressure; no specific deadline, season, or guideline for trend forecasts. It was just flowing out of me without the usual restrictions. But the hardest part was that I actually got stuck under my bed, in my thoughts and theories running through my head, as if I really was in a black hole and this collection was my way of getting out of it.
Photo: Courtesy of Bazaza
What are your favorite pieces from the collection?
My favorite piece is the mini dress featuring cutouts along the entire piece and fully adorned in geometric cuts and color-blocking beadwork. Not only does it have more than one of our signature techniques, but it also holds this sexy aura to it, which I was aiming to translate as a new provocative feel to the brand.
Photo: Courtesy of Bazaza
What’s next for Bazaza the brand?
As we are getting more into our bags line, I’m looking to expand it even further in the future as I truly loved working and designing this season’s accessories. We are currently also working on launching a capsule collection for men this Christmas, which would of course be available on our online store, while definitely creating our two main collections per year in parallel.
I’m honestly always open to whatever project comes along the way and exploring upcoming opportunities so we’ll have to wait and discover together.
Read Next: Exclusive: Inside Nancy Ajram’s TikTok Concert Wardrobe by Lebanese Designer Hussein Bazaza

Etro’s New Creative Director Marco de Vincenzo Shares His Vision for the Family-Founded Brand’s Future

Etro’s New Creative Director Marco de Vincenzo Shares His Vision for the Family-Founded Brand’s Future

Marco de Vincenzo. Photo: Courtesy of Etro
All things paisley and boho have been Etro‘s identity for decades now, but a major overhaul is on the horizon for the 1968-founded Italian brand. Come September 23, its recently-designated creative director Marco de Vincenzo will present his debut collection in Milan, breathing new life into the once family-owned fashion house, and sharing his vision for Etro’s evolution. “The opportunity to lead such an important brand is once in a lifetime,” shares the 44-year-old with Vogue Arabia in his first interview in the Middle East. “I felt like a privileged person, I could not help but accept the challenge, also because of the many affinities I feel I have with its codes. The heritage of the brand has always fascinated me, its connection to textiles and the birth of ‘Made in Italy.””
The Sicily-born designer’s appointment follows the Etro family’s decision to sell a 60% stake to L Catterton in June 2021 and will see him replace Veronica and Kean Etro to oversee the brand’s womenswear, menswear, and accessories. The latter is no strange territory for the European Institute of Design graduate, whose namesake brand founded in 2009 continues to be loved for its statement heels and purses, despite being on a hiatus. “Accessories are part of my history,” says de Vincenzo, who started designing bags when he was just over 18 years of age. “I think my experience can also be useful to a brand mainly known for ready-to-wear,” he states. De Vincenzo’s past also had him acquainted with another family-operated brand on the cusp of change. In the year 2000, when LVHM acquired a stake in Fendi, de Vincenzo joined Fendi as its leather goods head designer, a special position that he will retain. “I started a long collaboration with Fendi exactly when the brand was about to change its skin and leave its ‘family dimension’,” he recalls. “At Etro, it is happening again, it seems it is written in my destiny.”
A preview of Etropía, a visual project void of any clothing, and “the first act of Etro’s new course under the creative direction of Marco De Vincenzo”. Photo: Courtesy of Etro
Under de Vincenzo’s creative direction, expect Etro to rediscover the wealth of fabrics, given his adept and bold use of materials in the past. “The choice of fabric depends on the sensibility of the moment,” he believes. “But above all, they work as a group, only when in harmony with each other, like musicians in an orchestra.” While this has been evident with his previous work and a 2021 collaboration with Marina Rinaldi, an air of mystery remains around the future of Etro’s pattern-heavy fabric. “Codes survive time only if you have the courage to renew them,” he asserts, revealing little of what the renewal would look like. But when asked what customers can expect from his debut, the designer’s answer is refreshingly uncomplicated: “A young and eclectic language.”
De Vincenzo is also well aware that the fashion world—many years deep into the reassessment of its over-production, and sustainability values—demands more from a designer taking up the reigns of a storied brand in the current time. After buying back his eponymous brand from LVMH in 2020, he presented a collection of upcycled vintage pieces during Milan Fashion Week in February 2022, sending a powerful message in his last project as an independent designer to the fashion industry. “I’m certainly not the first one doing upcycling, but I’ve been giving it a lot of thought, and it’d be great if each designer would consider it as an integral part of his practice,” he had shared with Vogue at the time. Now, even at the helm of a global luxury fashion house, de Vincenzo aims to stand by this ideology. “I believe that a sustainable attitude can also apply to major brands,” he says. “In fact, perhaps it is the ‘big brands’ that can raise consumer awareness if they have made themselves credible over the years. I firmly believe in downsizing some outdated production rules. I will do my best to continue in this direction.”
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Rick Owens on Celebrating Over 20 Years of His Brand and Opening its First Flagship Store in the Middle East

Rick Owens on Celebrating Over 20 Years of His Brand and Opening its First Flagship Store in the Middle East

Celebrating more than 20 years of his eponymous brand and the opening of his first flagship store in the Middle East, American designer Rick Owens is more than meets the eye.
Photo: Kevin Pages. Vogue Arabia September 2022
Forming a barrier between the lagoon and the Adriatic Sea, the Hotel Excelsior in Venice Lido, opened since 1908, is one of those magical havens that over decades has attracted politicians, poets, and artists. It is also the place where American designer Rick Owens has spent his summers for the past 10 years, and therefore, the location for our Zoom interview. Owens, from his breezy balcony overlooking the water and me, from Vogue Arabia’s office in Dubai. “Sergei Diaghilev died in this hotel, and Stravinsky was also a guest, alongside Jean Cocteau. They are all from my favorite period, which is still very present in this space,” he tells me, with his face tanned, framed by his signature long, gothic black hair. “I have a beach cabana here at the Excelsior, without electricity but with a desk and a couple of day beds, where I get my emails done while staring at the water. It is quiet and very ghostly in a way. There’s no music, and there are mostly old families who have lived in Venice forever. It is not like the beach clubs in the rest of the world, like Mykonos, with bottle service, a loud DJ, and a whole social life. I certainly do not disapprove of it, as I think we are put out in the world to have fun, but this is very different.”
Rick Owens
This summer, Owens is accompanied by a very special guest, his 89-year-old mother. “Do you have elderly parents?” he asks. “It is an interesting period… but we are having a wonderful time in Italy, swimming in the Adriatic Sea.” Every time I have had the opportunity to meet the designer in the past, I’ve discovered a side of Owens that usually gets shielded by his high heeled, “don’t mess with me” look. His shows can also project a distancing energy, with models many times transformed into creatures from a different galaxy. But when in private, the designer blossoms as a kind and empathetic man, with encyclopedic cultural knowledge, and a serious passion for museums, architecture, music, and Egyptian civilization. He is also gifted with a very sharp, no-nonsense view of the world.
Rick Owens often generates headlines with his daring idea of beauty, including at FW19 (center) SS16 (right), and SS20 (left), a look inspired by ancient Egypt.
I clearly judged the book by its cover. But let’s rewind…
Born in Porterville, California, Owens studied painting at the Otis College of Art and Design, influenced by his personal “heroes” Julian Schnabel and Joseph Beuys. However, he decided to drop out from his art studies, fearing not possessing the “intellectual rigor to be an artist,” or even the capacity to propel himself politically to get the right recognition. Owens ended up enrolling in a trade school, to learn how to cut patterns and make clothes. “I thought that even if I didn’t make it to [being a] designer, I would always have a job as somebody that can labor in a factory. It was not about creating my brand, although that would have been great,” he recalls.
Photo: Kevin Pages. Vogue Arabia September 2022
However, in the early nineties, Owens started dropping his collections independently, creating a unique aesthetic that grabbed the attention of international boutiques such as Maria Luisa, Browns, and Maxfield. His signature pieces were bias gowns, draped T-shirts, and items sourcing recycled army surplus. “I started out very commercially, and I never even considered doing runway shows, as I never thought I’d ever be able to afford them,” he reveals. “I thought I would be an eccentric designer who showed my collections in hotels, maybe in Paris, and I was luckily well connected to a small independent network of pioneering buyers, who took chances on their designers. I don’t know who takes those kinds of risks anymore…”
Photo: Kevin Pages. Vogue Arabia September 2022
Even if the plan was to “produce tiny collections to have a modest way of sustaining,” everything changed in 2001, when the American edition of Vogue underwrote Owens’ first fashion show, in New York. This was a new reality for the creative, who had previously only attended one runway show. “In Los Angeles we don’t do fashion shows… I only experienced that in Paris when I got invited by a friend as a plus one. When I entered the room, I just sat in the front row, as I didn’t know the seats were numbered. Nobody is that dumb… Of course, someone just snapped at me,” he laughs. “The show ended up being depressing. I was wowed, thinking I could never recreate something so glorious. It was a world beyond me, and I had learned to be satisfied with my own stuff.”
Photo: Kevin Pages. Vogue Arabia September 2022
The designer eventually gathered the strength to set up his runway presentations, winning the Perry Ellis Award for Emerging Talent at the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) awards in 2002. “Luckily, I always received positive feedback, or maybe I was delusional enough to always see the positive side – or arrogant enough to dismiss the negative feedback,” he reflects. “I’ve always been grateful for the acceptance I’ve got because I know that I’m not always promoting the most popular thing in the world. But I always had an honorable little project, and great people to help me execute. I don’t fool myself; I know I’m not a genius… I have good ideas, but also many great partners.”
Photo: Kevin Pages. Vogue Arabia September 2022
Rick Owens’ relocation to Europe happened in 2003, for practical reasons, and to explore new opportunities. The brand started to be produced in Italy, in a factory in Concordia sulla Secchia, and the growth of the business required a closer interaction with the manufacturer. Two decades later, Owens still produces in the same location, and eventually bought the facilities in 2016. A year before the move to France, the designer had also been appointed as creative director of the legendary fur company Revillon, founded in 1723, and “even mentioned by Proust,” as Owens highlights. “I was attracted by the legend and reputation of this brand. It was not about the money, as there was really no money there,” he shares. “What I didn’t calculate was that I received instant credibility, as my appointment impressed people in fashion. If I had come on my own to Paris as an American, people would have been suspicious, and I would have been dismissed. This was a serious and glamorous job that gave me an edge.”
Photo: Kevin Pages. Vogue Arabia September 2022
Today, what started as a shy endeavor became a worldwide empire, with the Rick Owens brand being sold across 500 stores, and staging spectacular runway shows in Paris. This was the case of the latest Fall/Winter 2022 season revealed at the Palais de Tokyo and photographed in this issue against Iceland’s dramatic landscapes. In the show notes, Owens states that fashion is all about communication, and it can be used as a gracious way to move through the world. But what does that really mean? “Clothes are status signifiers, and no matter how restrained, they always give you subtle symbols of what your values are. I can’t really tell you how the cut of a shoulder relates to a certain system, but as an editor of Vogue, you know exactly what I mean,” he says.
Photo: Kevin Pages. Vogue Arabia September 2022
Comprising 51 looks, revealed by models walking through a cloud of smoke, the collection featured big puffer jackets, pointy shoulder looks, and skin-hugging skirts, touching the floor. However, it was the sculptural, sequined evening dresses that really caught our eye, showcasing a more elegant facet of the designer’s universe. “I’m always looking for a barbaric elegance because there are very primal experiences that we all share, and that we all respond to, such as rejections, love… I’m trying to touch on those,” he explains. “This particular show came during a very delicate time, reacting to what is happening in the world. Initially, the music was going to be very violent and bombastic, but I changed it at the last minute as I needed the mood to completely collapse into beauty. The show had to be violently beautiful to counterbalance the disappointment of war. War entering our lives again, after everything that the world has learned… With Mahler’s symphony in the background, I wanted things to be sumptuously striking, as the strongest expression I could find in protest.” This collection – and all the other lines of the house – will be available in Dubai at the brand’s first flagship store in the Middle East, just opened at The Dubai Mall.
Photo: Kevin Pages. Vogue Arabia September 2022
Speaking of beauty, Owens very often generates headlines due to the diversity of his casting, but also the daring beauty he promotes. Models have walked the runway with their features modified with prosthetic makeup, sporting fully shaved heads, and black contact lenses. As a guest, it all can look frankly intimidating at times. When questioned about what is behind his provoking aesthetics, Owens immediately refutes the concept of beauty in traditional pop culture, and what he calls “airport beauty.” “When I walk in an airport and I see all the makeup advertising, I don’t subscribe to that very narrow definition of beauty. When I started my own collection, I wanted to offer alternatives, not because I’m against classical beauty, but because I wanted to offer options if you don’t fit into this ideal. I felt that this was a kind and honorable thing to do, and a responsible way to frame my work.” Digging more into his past, Owens also candidly shares that his whole aesthetic was defined by his difficult Catholic childhood. “I was raised in a small, judgmental, and disapproving town, where I had to experience a lot of shame.”
Photo: Kevin Pages. Vogue Arabia September 2022
Taking into consideration what he underwent and his teen struggles, I suggest that everyone back at home must be very proud of the designer, as he has built one of the most consistent, recognizable, and well-respected global fashion brands. “They probably just think of myself as a celebrity, and that’s good enough for a lot of people,” he answers dismissively. “I’m sure there are a lot of people from where I come from that would laugh at my clothes, if they saw them out of the context of the celebrity connection. But that’s me not being generous,” he laughs. However, now without sarcasm, the designer confides that he felt especially proud when, in 2017, he collected the CFDA Lifetime Achievement Award, one of the highest honors for any American designer. “I’ve never really been in that world, and I never went out of my way to participate. So being recognized out of the blue… that was very validating. I was surprised as I understood that I became more visible than I thought, out of my niche. It was touching, as I stood in front of a room full of cultivated people, who expect the very highest of that world.”
Photo: Kevin Pages. Vogue Arabia September 2022
Besides the awards, I ask Owens how he feels when he experiences the love of his fans. The brand has probably one of the most loyal and dedicated followings in fashion, with consumers ready to go the extra mile to get that Rick Owens look, from head to toe. Just pass in front of one of his shows during fashion week, and you will easily spot a flamboyant army of daring dressers, mostly all clad in black. “I don’t know if I ever really experienced it the way other people do as I’m not actually in that crowd, I’m observing it from a screen, from a distance, in a quiet room. And at the end, by the time I come back from the backstage, everybody is gone,” Owens explains, making me think that even during the craziest period of the fashion calendar, he was able to find some sort of allegorical isolated cabana, just like the one by the sea where he was probably relaxing before this interview. “I can’t invest myself in an emotional commitment to it,” the designer concludes. “Maybe I don’t allow myself to take it that seriously because, you know, it can all be gone one day.”
Originally published in the September 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia
Style: Amine JreissatiHair: Asegir HjartarsonMakeup: Roksana KruszewskaPhoto assistant: Guillaume henryOn set producer: Anne-Sophie Galy-GasparrouModel: Karits & Hannah at Eskimo
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Daniel Roseberry on Creating an “Antidote” to Today’s Time, and Elsa Schiaparelli’s Retrospective Exhibition

Daniel Roseberry on Creating an “Antidote” to Today’s Time, and Elsa Schiaparelli’s Retrospective Exhibition

With the launch of a new couture collection and a major exhibition in Paris, Elsa Schiaparelli’s spirit is more alive than ever.
Photo: Courtesy of Schiaparelli
In the life of a journalist there are always many firsts. Interviewing a leading artistic director of a celebrated Parisian couture house seated on a staircase, surrounded by old mannequins and boxes, however, definitely feels like novelty. But, after all, we are in Schiaparelli’s headquarters, a brand that since its launch in 1927 has never done things the mundane way, from collaborating with Jean Cocteau on surrealist designs, to twisting things around with a “shoe hat” in partnership with Salvador Dalí. For the Italian founder Elsa Schiaparelli, nothing was off limits to escape “the material and dull reality of the making of a dress to sell.”
Daniel Roseberry
The reason why we are hidden behind an emergency door for this interview with Daniel Roseberry, Schiaparelli’s artistic director since 2019, is less fantasy, and more pragmatic. This was the morning after the presentation of its Fall 22 couture collection, and the headquarters of the brand in the heart of Place Vendôme was bursting with buyers, editors, and other fashion fauna eager to congratulate Roseberry for another runway triumph. It was also the morning post the opening of Shocking! The Surreal World of Elsa Schiaparelli, a new retrospective exhibition held at the Musée des Arts Décoratifs until January 22, 2023. “You have moments in the life of a house that really feel like a full circle: a show, a museum exhibition, a cocktail, and dinner surrounded by your friends and family… It’s thrilling and I’m really proud with all we did,” says the artistic director, who previously worked for more than a decade at Thom Browne. “My family who flew in from the US are still in a state of shock in a way, but they loved to be a part of it, and experience the reality of what it means to be living and working in couture in Paris. It’s a lot to process.”
Schiaparelli Fall/Winter 2022/23 couture collection. Photo: Vogue Runway
When we start talking about the 34 looks presented on the runway, Roseberry notes that the collection was all about unapologetic beauty and romance, without any underlined complicated message. “My mother always asked me if I wouldn’t feel more complete as a creative if I was making clothes that impact people’s lives on a bigger scale, like creating for less expensive retailers such as Target or Walmart,” confides the designer. “But my life didn’t change by going to Target. It changed by looking at McQueen or Dior by Galliano shows. That kind of beauty was what inspired me the most and where I started this collection. I wanted to make things that felt unapologetically romantic, but still sharp, chic, interesting, and conceptual. But in a dreamy way.”
Elsa Schiaparelli
However, in Roseberry’s fashion dictionary, beautiful doesn’t stand just for pretty. His parade of corseted looks accessorized with dramatic straw hats, velvet jackets embroidered with flowers, and designs celebrating different parts of the female body felt like a silent yet powerful statement, released in a time of so much instability around the globe, from wars to enforcement of regressive laws. “As a designer you have the responsibility of making work that reflects the time. We are living in times of such tragedy and negativity, that I wanted to create something that, more than just an escape, is an antidote to the ugliness of what it means to be alive today,” says the designer, who surprised the public by selecting the score of Jurassic Park as soundtrack for his show. “I think that when things are so hard and falling apart, this sort of dream-like state is what I find is most compelling. I guess it was a statement, even a political statement if you want.”
The lobster dress
This capacity of commenting on the times we are living in – while being ahead of them – is also the overarching mood felt at Shocking! The Surreal World of Elsa Schiaparelli. Curated by Olivier Gabet and Marie-Sophie de La Carrière, the exhibition brings together 520 works, including 272 silhouettes and accessories by Schiaparelli herself, displayed alongside paintings, sculptures, jewelry, perfumes, ceramics, posters, and photographs by Schiaparelli’s friends and collaborators: Man Ray, Salvador Dalí, Jean Cocteau, Meret Oppenheim, and Elsa Triolet. It also showcases creations designed in honor of Schiaparelli by Yves Saint Laurent, Azzedine Alaï a, John Galliano, Christian Lacroix, and, naturally, Daniel Roseberry. As you walk through the rooms, you will find pieces that still raise eyebrows today, like the famous Lobster dress, or a telephone powder compact. “If you ask me what my favorite thing about this exhibition is, what I loved the most was to have a deeper sense of how her personality was, and how it was imbued into every single thing that she did. Her sense of humor and wit were also revealed to me. Even when she was doing things that felt dark or glamorous, or comical or surreal, you know there was always this unifying voice,” concludes Roseberry. “Elsa Schiaparelli had freedom and boldness, and just didn’t give a damn about people’s opinions.”
Originally published in the September 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia
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Celebrity-Loved Label Honayda Becomes the First Saudi Brand to Display at Harrods

Celebrity-Loved Label Honayda Becomes the First Saudi Brand to Display at Harrods

Honayda Serafi
In a remarkable moment for Saudi fashion, Honayda has become the first label from the Kingdom to be displayed at Harrods. Come August 22, the brand helmed by creative director Honayda Serafi will be housed alongside renowned international fashion houses at one of the world’s most luxurious department stores located in London.
Photo: Courtesy of Honayda
“It’s a proud milestone for the Honayda brand, that proves consistent efforts always pay off,” Serafi shared with Vogue Arabia earlier today, while discussing the special news. “I hope this inspires emerging brands and the talented Saudi designers to keep working hard and keep aiming high.” Fans of the Saudi brand, and new customers, can now find Honayda’s curated selection of exclusive pieces from its ‘A charm from Afghan’ collection in the evening wear section of Harrods, located on its first floor. The dedicated area of the shopping hotspot takes inspiration from the Fall/Winter 2022 collection’s vibrant colors, and the brand’s identity, making it hard to miss.
Photo: Courtesy of Honayda
This marks another significant milestone for Serafi’s brand, whose powerful and sculptural pieces are rooted in her Saudi heritage and have come to be loved by celebrities from around the world. Some of the biggest names to have made headlines in her creations include Priyanka Chopra Jonas, who wore a white pleated jumpsuit and cape to the 2020 Cannes Film Festival, and Lupita Nyong’o, who wore a structured suit to the world premiere of Us in 2019. Her designs are also a red carpet favorite among celebrities from the region, including Dorra Zarrouk, Yousra, and Hend Sabri.
Priyanka Chopra Jonas in Honayda. Photo: Courtesy of Honayda
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