Beirut’s fashion designers look forward to summer basics, staples

BEIRUT: Flip flops and cutoff shorts are not exactly high fashion, but as temperatures rise, local designers are all about throwing on their summer staples. “My flip flops [are crucial] ... regular rubber cheap ones that I own in every color,” said Ghita Abi-Hanna, designer of Margherita jewelry. “I always look forward to my toes breathing.”

One might expect a cohort of local designers to have a storehouse of off-beat summer favorites. But when The Daily Star asked a handful of Beirut designers what they’re excited to break out of winter storage, the verdict was simple: sandals, ripped-up shorts and pieces from their own collections.

“The item in summer it is definitely open shoes, but most importantly sandals!” said Lebanese American stylist Ayah Ajam.

Ready-to-wear line Bird on a Wire put out its spring-summer 2013 collection last October and its designer, Rayya Morcos, has been itching to try her own items on for size, particularly the range of flowing summer blouses she included in her collection titled “Multiplicity.”

Many of her button-up blouses came with dramatic slits along the side seams, giving them versatility and an understated sexiness. Other blouses from the collection included mixed-print camisoles with interesting architectural detail.

Her first summer collection, “Multiplicity” brings with it a change of heart for Morcos, who used to prefer winter clothes, she said.

“I always thought of summer clothes as trashy,” she said. “I don’t like wearing things on top of things just to be warm in winter, but I don’t like looking like a just cleaned the bathroom.”

For once, her line of semi-dressy summer wares has made Morcos excited for the season’s fashion.

Jessica Khoueiri Achkar, designer of local fashion label Jessica K, said she’s all about the casual in summer heat. She’s looking forward to cutoff jeans and silk tank tops.

“Shorts, ripped shorts, or boyfriend jeans,” she said. She likes to dress up either of these summer bottoms with silk camisoles tops from her own collection and snake skin sandals.

As for designer Lara Khoury, she’ll be putting aside her knit beanie and slipping her feet into her beloved Havaianas, a Brazilian brand that makes basic rubber flip flops.

In addition to warm-weather footwear, Khoury said she looked forward to oversized summer dresses, many of which will come straight from her own collections, which are full of such loosely tailored items.

“I wish it could stay warm all year,” she said.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on April 02, 2013, on page 2.




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