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France honors designer Rabih Kayrouz

Lebanese fashion designer Rabih Kayrouz. (The Daily Star/HO)

BEIRUT: Lebanese fashion designer Rabih Kayrouz recently received the French title Chevalier (Knight) of the Order of Arts and Letters for his cultural contributions in Lebanon and France. The award was established in 1957 to recognize artists and writers, as well as other people who have contributed to moving forward the arts in France and elsewhere.

“We are very proud of him, it is a great honor for Maison Rabih Kayrouz and for Lebanon!” said a statement sent out by Whyte Mulberry, Kayrouz’s public relations team.

The date for the official decoration ceremony has yet to be set, Whyte Mulberry added.

Kayrouz’s brand MRK opened in Paris in 2009, showing first in Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week and these days at Paris Ready-to-Wear Fashion Week. He is one of three Lebanese designers entered into France’s most prestigious fashion syndicate, Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.

Kayrouz has lately shifted his focus to ready-to-wear, and has chosen not to show at Haute Couture Fashion Week for the past two seasons. MRK is now in the process of expanding, and recently opened a ready-to-wear boutique in Saint Tropez. The first boutique opened in Beirut in 2010.

Kayrouz has also played a large role in bolstering the design community back home in Lebanon. He was one of the founders of designer incubator the Starch Foundation, which gives a yearlong training and boutique space to talented young designers.

Kayrouz describes his designs as minimalist and architectural, and he often pushs the lines of what’s considered wearable. His geometric patterns give his clothing a conceptual and avant-garde finesse.

Others to have been entered into France’s Order of Arts and Letters include Fairuz, T.S. Eliot, Marcel Marceau, Paul Auster, Ornette Coleman, Vaclav Havel, Bob Dylan, Jim Jarmusch, Yohji Yamamoto, Sean Connery, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, and Uma Thurman.

 
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 22, 2013, on page 2.

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