BEIRUT: Designer Rabih Kayrouz put the focus on ready-to-wear this winter, showing a collection Sunday in Paris of vibrant colors, architectural cuts and geometric details.
Knee-length skirts with soaring slits between every pleat dominated Maison Rabih Kayrouz’s fall-winter 2013-14 collection, with panels of fabric revealing everything to the upper thigh.
Such multislit skirts have – in other designers’ renditions – collapsed into chaotic, full-thigh exposure with forward motion. But the Lebanese designer’s experimentations incorporated enough structure for the fluttering skirt pleats to maintain their shape and preserve a bit of modesty.
Sunday’s show was Kayrouz’s third ready-to-wear show, and it featured a collection marked by quirky knits, monochrome looks and bright – somewhat summery – colors.
Kayrouz began his move toward ready-to-wear several years ago and chose the Beirut Port district to open his first boutique in Lebanon. The collections have so far maintained the designer’s flair for structured clothing, parting occasionally for a flowing dress.
With convenient timing, Kayrouz showed his new collection in Paris at the same time as a major sale in Downtown’s Saifi Village of his past ready-to-wear collections. The special gallery sale at the Old Maqam Gallery space will end after Tuesday.
This winter Kayrouz opted out of Paris’ couture fashion week in January; though a recent visit to Kayrouz’s Beirut atelier showed the brand is still hard at work on made-to-order. The designer has also had his plate full at home with projects to aid local designers. He is the co-founder of The Starch Foundation, which aims at promoting and educating aspiring local designers.
Perhaps the mild winter here at home affected Kayrouz’s collection as bare legs and arms abounded in comparison to the wrapped-up looks of other winter collections.
It was a pleasantly bright collection full of cobalt blue and dark orange. The bright colors gave airy silks –such as two flowing mini dresses – a warm-weather feel among the wintery wool coats and sweaters.
Winter white also played big in this collection, such as a white wool coat over a simple white top and calf-length skirt and a white maxi dress with a modest neckline.
Part of his focus on geometric patterns included different interpretations of the line.
Zigzags across sweaters, stripes on skirts and tops and knitted rings gave sleeves the look of ridged tubing. Besides the sleeves, quirky patterns were knit into the sweaters in textured 3-D patterns; and leather jacket and dress patterns revealed Kayrouz’s ridged geometry in their razor-straight seams.
These details gave Kayrouz’s conservative yet minimalist looks their visual intrigue, capitalizing on restraint that other designers haven’t yet mastered.
In his last two shows, Kayrouz highlighted feminine waistlines with gathered trouser tops, belted dresses and basic fitted A-frame silhouettes cinched at the waist.
But this season the designer broke from the A-frame at times and ventured into rectangular silhouettes. He paired a black oversized cardigan with a pair of patterned silk trousers; square-shaped sweaters fell at the hip over pleated skirts; and a fur jacket hid any hint of shape in its fuzzy depths.
In fact, Kayrouz’s use of fur – a mainstay on the runways this year – bordered on playful. He created a dramatic mixture of texture by attaching full fur sleeves from shoulder to wrist to a thin white top.
The model looked like a werewolf mid-transformation – but a cozy and warm one, nonetheless. He also uses fur as the unexpected bottom to a bright blue trench coat.