Lebanese designers show off in Paris

BEIRUT: Lebanese fashion designers are impressing this week as they unveil new collections during Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week. Renowned houses Georges Hobeika and Maison Rabih Kayrouz showcased their latest creations Monday.

Both are guest members of the Federation de la Haute Couture et de la Mode, the French association whose members are the only designers to officially produce “haute couture” fashion. The association’s prestigious label is meant to honor traditional methods of craftsmanship in sewing, and their core membership is only open to French designers.

Popular Lebanese designer Elie Saab, a permanent “correspondent,” or foreign member, will show his collection Wednesday.

Kayrouz’s spring/summer 2019 show displayed a blend of runway and wearable fashion that emphasized bright and bold solid colors and a clash between stiff fabric and more loose cuts with draping folds. Even predominantly black and white looks were accented with colorful baubles, swaths of loud pink and blue fabric along with gold jewelry.

In the rare look that was completely monochrome, the cuts were anything but subdued and flowed wildly as models descended an x-shaped staircase at the center of the show and set off down the runway.

Guests could be seen glancing up at the staircase as much as watching the models on the runway for a glimpse of what was to come.

“I called the collection ‘Yalla!’” Kayrouz said after the show. “Yalla means ‘let’s go’ in Lebanese, without being scared of anything, without constraints and I wanted to make this collection at the limits of ready-to-wear and couture, with a mix of Eastern and Western clothes.”

The colors at Hobeika’s fall/winter 2018/19 show were far less bright and flashy, but what they lacked in hue they made up for in shine.

The evening, club and wedding dresses on view were heavily but not extravagantly bejeweled, and toned in muted pastel pinks, purples, blues and greens. The fabrics used in the garments were mixed; some were sheer, lacey and covered in feathers, reminiscent of costumes you might see on stage at the ballet. Heavier velvet was used in other pieces, matched with deep green hues.

The collection was inspired by silhouettes, “lightness” and the famous Russian ballet Swan Lake, a statement from the designer said.

Hobeika would seem to have achieved his goal, as the majority of the looks in the show looked like they could have been straight out of Black Swan, the 2010 Natalie Portman drama, right down to the exaggerated eye makeup most of the models were wearing and the embroidered swans on one of the pieces.

Paris Fall/Winter Haute Couture Fashion Week ends July 5.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on July 04, 2018, on page 3.




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