Seriously fun fashion

Rytta Couture’s style is fun and playful with colorful bits of embroidery, leather or hand-paint. A charming breath of fresh air on local fashion, her clothes take us outside, to the yard.


Photo by Leo Ribet

The latest Rytta Couture collection ‘Take me to the Yard’ reflects the designer’s fun approach to fashion. She adorns her styles with multi-colored hand-sewn motifs of butterflies, birds, leaves or ribbons and sprinkles bits of leather and ruffles here and there. The collection was presented at Manoir de la Roseraie in Grignan in the south east of France, where the springtime flowers on dresses bloomed in the garden setting of the show. Rytta punctuated neutral hues of white and beige with a pastel gamme of colours and hand paints. The designer’s atelier is in Ashrafieh where she is now preparing for her upcoming collection with her characteristic laid-back creativity.


Photo by Leo Ribet

Rytta fell into fashion from a young age. Her mother was a seamstress who created made to measure dresses and the young child would assist her in cutting and taking measurements. She was fascinated by Barbie and created mini outfits for the doll, which caught the eyes of her mom’s customers who would sometimes request the same model in real size. This encouraged Rytta to study fashion design and she then worked for a men sportswear company gaining hands on experience in sourcing fabrics, buttons, zippers and other paraphernalia that she know playfully applies to her cheerful clothes. Her true penchant was however design, and she started hand-painting shirts first for men, then for women in local markets before opening a shop. Rytta Couture’s designs can now be found at Cream in Saifi and Toxic in Kaslik.


Photo by Saad Salloum – Skylinkd

📱: +961 3 753654


Timi Hayek: the busy bee

Timi Hayek’s boutique in Monot is a breath of fresh air. In a relaxed ambiance of wood and light colors the designer is meticulously at work on her pastel shaded new collection.

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Under Timi’s slender and expert fingers, textures, fabrics and landscapes that inspire her, become a light toned, casual chic wardrobe. The clothes are airy in soft fabrics such as velvet, linen or silk with details of tulle and embroidery. From design, to selecting fabrics and then sewing the clothes as well operating the store, the designer does everything herself. Her studio is located upstairs in the same space as her shop. She spends most of her time on her sewing machine fine-tuning her upcoming summer collection; pleated dresses and skirt ensembles in hues of pink and beige. Timi is also an illustrator and prints her sketches on her dresses and scarves adding a touch of art to her beautiful outfits.


New collection in the works

The designer grew up between Lebanon and Canada. Fond of drawing and fashion, she went on to study Fashion Prints at Central Saint Martins in London, and pursued internships in the studios of prestigious names such as Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. The onset of her label came through her participation with Starch. The foundation selects top-notch emerging talents every year and offers them an opportunity to display their collection in their Saifi store, along with guidance on the ropes of the fashion industry. Timi’s portfolio was chosen, which gave her a unique hand on experience and visibility for her brand. The designer then took the leap to open her own boutique and step-by-step is now building a promising fashion brand.


A couple of questions to Timi:

What is your favorite spot in Beirut?

Aside from the balcony at home, my favorite spot is Horsh Beirut. It is an amazing place. I have been there recently, it opens every Saturday, and was pleasantly surprised. It is quiet, there is no litter, no smell of garbage, it actually smells like mountains.

Any fashion tips you would like to share?

I think people should wear whatever they want, no wrongs or rights. From personal experience maybe only buy black underwear; other colours can turn grey in the wash!

Timi Hayek Boutique
Monot Street, Hayek Building
Achrafieh, Beirut
📱: +961 71 792586

Price: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

Talents to watch

Last month, the final collection of Esmod’s graduated class of 2015 was exhibited at ABC Dbayeh along with selected alumni creations. Two of the talented students invite us into their world.


Zeina Naamani launched the label Outlandysh. Her collection ‘Through a prism’ is a perilous exercise that delightfully plays with fabrics, structures and cuts. With her background in architecture she creates transformable outfits: reversible shorts or dresses, convertible sleeves and detachable pieces. A deconstructed jacket is turned into pants, paired with a shirt in trompe-l’oeil effect. Geometric forms are her playground: a triangular grid dress is made of overlapping leather straps, leather and shantung dots are assembled into a reversible gilet, and triangle shaped folded circles add a twist on shorts. A refreshing palette of creativity and color!

leather dress

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Cindy Abdel Ahad envisions her designs as a ‘Remedy’ to society’s ailments and taboos. Her graduate collection ‘Trapped’ draws inspiration from the movie A Dangerous Method, an intrigue of the stormy relationship between Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung, and Jung’s story with his patient Sabina Spielrein who later became one of the first female psychoanalysts. Leather choker necklaces, studded arm bracelets and chunky belts complement all black body hugging corset shaped cuts underpinned by metallic inserts. The mood reflects intricate relationships and unspoken prohibitions. ‘Remedy’ is an expression of the cathartic role of fashion.

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Kinamania, shoes with a soul

Kristina tells artisan stories through carefully crafted shoes. The lady behind Kinamania creates footwear with a passion for craftsmanship and traditions.


Through her travels to Spain, Kristina discovered a traditional sandal from the Baleares region, the Menorquina,. The century old model, which has stood the test of time, was brought by a farmer to the city in the 1920s and remains Spain’s favorite for its comfort and quality. She took the original model and fashioned four revamped versions for men and women, naming the revisited styles UNO, DOS (for the original), TRES, CUATRO and CINCO. Besides her classic line, Kristina collaborates with artists and craftsmen to create voyage collections. She first embarked in her beloved Spain and partnered with an atelier that creates costumes for toreros, applying the embroidered motifs on her Kina sandals. Her next collection was prepared hand in hand with Inaash to incorporate the delicate Palestinian cross-stitch. For the coming summer, she will introduce us to panels of metal mesh assembled by hand by Laura Bortolami, founder and designer of Laura B Collection Particulière. Coming soon is also a derby model created with the same passion.


Kristina grew up in a family fond of art and design. She studied business in college but her penchant for design remained. She first worked with Randa Tabbah assisting her with administrative tasks but also developing mock up wax models for her jewelry creations. At that time, her grandmother gave her a series of leather belts dating from the 60s and 70s which inspired her to start her own line of belts Kinza Designs. Her work caught the eye of leather accessories designer Johnny Farah who asked her to join him for design and production of his collections. It was only once Kinamania was launched, two years ago, that Kristina discovered that her great-grandfather was a shoemaker in Canada. Kristina’s inherited passion drives her to knock on atelier doors and shed light on the unique work of artists and artisans she discovers along the way.


Kinamania shoes can be purchased in Dubai, Germany, Spain and the USA. In Lebanon, you can find them at Boutique Hub in Sodeco, Beirut.



Price: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

Jolie Lola’s pretty handbags

Nathalie El Metni crafts handbags with creativity and a touch of glamour. Her designs are thought for modern ladies with an active lifestyle.

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Jolie Lola’s story started over 10 years ago when Nathalie decided as a hobby to design beach bags and accessories for herself and her friends in Beirut. Her line was a success but she decided to flee the country like many during the 2006 war and moved back to Canada. In 2009 she found herself at a turning point and felt the need to move to a new path. She took the leap to pursue her passion and set up her brand, Jolie Lola. Nathalie is now based in Beirut where she sources her leather from Italy and works closely with local artisans to design her creations.


Nathalie’s style is urban and versatile. She revamped the classic fanny pack into an elegant ‘Belt Clutch’ that one can wear attached to the waist with a belt, on the shoulder/across bag with a chain or held in the hand. Another one of her key designs is the leather backpack with a fringed pompon, also offered in a mini version. Her collections are colorful and she plays around with leather using different types of skins: from painted prints on exotic skins to embossed patterns on calfskins. She adds unique touches from her travels like an ancient mosaic piece found at an antique dealer and also works with semi-precious stones such as tourmaline, turquoise or onyx to craft refined pieces of jewelry with an oriental vibe. Each piece comes in limited edition or can be exclusively customized, and is wrapped in a reusable eco-friendly playful canvas bag. Nathalie’s way of thinking goes with the evolving times, as she seeks to design accessories for women that sometimes have no time to change between the office, the errands and the soirées.


Price: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆




Nafissa’s colorful atelier in Gemmayze

From the streets of Gemmayze you can peep through the windows of Nafissa’s atelier. You will see dresses made of beige cloth hanging on metallic bars and piles of colorful, glittery or embroidered fabrics.

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Inside the atelier, you can browse through more than 500 archived pieces. Nafissa’s style is ethnic modern, with a penchant for loosely fitted dresses, elegant vests, and sarouel pants. The concept is based on co-creation. Clients can select any of the linen prototype models. They can choose to make alterations such as add sleeves or change a round neck to V-neck. Then, they sit down with Nafissa and browse through fabrics’ books. Nafissa will make suggestions of textiles that fit together and clients can play with their garments, imagining checkered pockets, a silky interior and a velvet lining. The atelier team will then craft the garment conceived pairing the chosen style and fabrics. Nafissa also proposes a small selection of ready-made pieces in line with trends and seasonal color palettes for inspiration. Every season she hand picks top quality fabrics from the Première Vision fair in Paris that she combines with unique buttons and strings found in flea markets across the city.

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Nafissa’s atelier story began during the Gulf War in 1990, in Kuwait. She fled the country with her son in search of a safe haven and settled in Paris for a while. In the City of Light, she found a place called La Droguerie, a make-your-own jewelry store offering multiple colors and shapes of beads. The peaceful pastime was a much-needed refuge in the midst of a tumultuous environment. She developed a taste for creation and when she moved back to Kuwait she started conceiving her own fantasy and semi-precious jewelry using beading and threading techniques. Her circle of clients grew and she moved to an atelier overlooking the Arabian Gulf. She began creating shawls using patchwork compositions of velvet and silk, and the clothes atelier concept started to grow in her mind. After several years of activity in Kuwait, she moved to her home country Lebanon in 2009 and her concept took life again in the delightful Gemmayze atelier. Her Kuwait clientele continues to visit her in Beirut and Nafissa also takes seasonal trips to present her selections in the country where it all started.

Zoghbi building, 2nd floor, Apt 6
Souk el Najjarine, Gemmayze
📱: +961 3 431105

Price: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆