Dress Up Lebanon : The Story Begins

PhotoStory in collaboration with Kamsyn – https://kamsyn.com/2016/12/15/dress-up-lebanon-first-story/

Cozied up in Le Telegraphe de Belle-Vue’s  finely decorated Hotel or enjoying the blossoming rose garden while sipping a glass of red wine, we reminisced on the days when Bhamdoun was a prized summer destination. First a village reliant on the cultivation of vineyards, from the 1940s until the civil war Bhamdoun bustled as a summer escape for Beiruti vacationers and tourists from the Gulf. They mingled in the village cafés over a game of tawlé or cards, biked in the streets or gathered for ‘thé dansant’ at one of the hotels’ ballrooms.

Timi Hayek & Marie-Sophie Tarazi making it through the Mist / Urban Sense     Photo Kamsyn

As we set out on a journey to highlight Lebanon’s beauty, we decided to pair this historic location with the work of talented local designers: Second Street’s cool and creative shirts, Urban Sense’s casual and minimalist clothes and Timi Hayek’s elegant ensembles in hues of gold and silver fit beautifully within the charming surroundings. Models Timi, Marie-Sophie and Joelle roamed through the picturesque setting stylishly appropriating the designers’ outfits.



The Location: Le Telegraphe de Bellevue

Nestled among the vineyards of Bhamdoun stands a beautiful mansion that served as the telegraph station of Mount Lebanon before becoming the summer residence of the French Ambassador to Iraq and Jordan.

Timi is in Urban Sense   Photo Kamsyn

After years living in the United States and London, Naji and Jill Boutros (financier and teacher, by trade) chose to settle in the village with their young family. In 2000 they started planting organic vineyards, and began producing their own fine wine, Chateau Belle-Vue. Four years ago, the project expanded as they opened a restaurant and boutique hotel, Le Telegraphe, adding colour, energy and optimism to the area while placing Bhamdoun back on the map of coveted getaways for Beirutis and tourists.

Timi & Marie-Sophie wandering through Le Telegraphe Hotel Gardens Urban Sense   Photo Kamsyn
Marie-Sophie  Urban Sense  Photo Kamsyn


Urban Sense was born from a difficult situation turned around with brio by the dynamic founder. After studying law and working as a Communication consultant, Cynthia Chamat started managing a couple of fashion boutiques. In Spring 2014, the merchandise ordered did not arrive and Cynthia thus created her own collection to display in store, which became a success. She continues to revisit classics, gilets that can be worn as tops, reversible coats and transformable dresses, catering to all shapes and sizes. Her space Boutique Hub. in Sodeco is now a collaboration hub where a selection of Lebanese designers pieces complement each other.

Joelle Habib Sarkis & Marie-Sophie Tarazi in Urban Sense  Photo Kamsyn


Timi Hayek is wearing Urban Sense   Photo Kamsyn


Two young ladies, Tracy Moussi and Sarah Hermez met on Second Street in Alphabet City, New York, while pursuing their studies at the Parsons School of Design. They discovered a mutual passion and desire to use fashion as a gateway to encourage talents and initiatives. At the end of 2014, Second Street was born, a brand characterized by a fresh, innovative take on the classic shirt, an emphasis on quality and fabric exploration and a socially conscious approach. Part of the proceeds is donated to The Creative Space a design school, founded by Sarah in 2011 and boosted by Tracy’s public relations know-how, offering the opportunity for free quality education to talents from underprivileged backgrounds.

To vote for Second.St in the Maison Méditerranée International Contest  Click Here

Joelle Habib Sarkis is wearing Second.st   Photo Kamsyn
Timi is wearing Second.st    Photo Kamsyn
Marie-Sophie   Second.st     Photo Kamsyn
Joelle  Second.st     Photo Kamsyn
Timi is wearing Second.st     Photo Kamsyn


A multi-faceted designer, Timi Hayek studied Fashion Print at Central Saint Martin and interned with renowned houses Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. She was selected as part of the Starch Foundation 2014 promotion, and displayed her collection for a year at their concept store in Saifi. She then established her brand and boutique in Monnot where she handcrafts her garments in the upstairs atelier. Her style is airy, whimsical and elegant. The designer uses fine fabrics such as linen, velvet or silk that she embellishes with delicate embroideries or her unique illustrations.

To vote for Timi Hayek in the Maison Méditerranée International Contest Click Here

Timi Hayek     Photo Kamsyn
Timi Hayek   Photo Kamsyn
Joelle setting-up the Scabble board    Timi Hayek      Photo Kamsyn
Timi Hayek     Photo Kamsyn
Joelle    Timi Hayek    Photo Kamsyn
Timi Hayek    Photo Kamsyn



Inside Tony Ward’s atelier

Tony Ward’s dresses are sought after by fashionistas across the world, but the stunning creations emanate from his headquarters in Ashrafieh. The designer invites us behind the walls of his atelier, to discover the place where imagination turns to wardrobe.


Dozens of hands are at work to create the dreamy dresses for Tony Ward’s collections. First designers and patternmakers brainstorm ideas that they test, and alter on mannequins. Motifs are illustrated on paper to represent the elaborate designs that will come to shape on the fine fabric. Then tailors create unique cuts and shapes, and embroiderers apply crystals, sequins or silk flowers that will give the magical touch to the tulle, lace and macramé outfits. The house of Ward is a family business. His father Elie who has started the business in the early 1950s participates in training of the teams, while his mother coordinates planning and human resources.

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Photos by Carl Halal – Courtesy of Tony Ward

The atelier is divided in three floors; couture, ready-to-wear and bridal. A step inside the couture quarters reveals talented artisans working on delicate details. Precious fabric is reversed and then beads or glossy silk thread are meticulously applied along complex motifs to give way to patterns of flowers or leaves with inserts of feathers. The couture creations will be worn on red carpets or to glamorous soirées from Los Angeles, to Moscow, Rome or Beijing. In ready-to-wear, clients also have their mannequin effigies to ensure a perfect fit. Pieces are put together with expertise and care, with delicate finishing touches of embroideries or hand painting. The most coveted room is the immaculate bridal atelier, where dresses made of elaborate lace, gazar or tulle with silk petals are gracefully prepared in time for romance.



‘Blueprint Beirut’ in London

It’s Fashion Week season for Fall Winter 2016 collections! New York shows are almost over and next stop is London. If you happen to be in the city, do not miss the IFS (International Fashion Showcase), at the Somerset House. This year’s edition ‘Fashion Utopias’, will be the fifth edition of the annual event sponsored by the British Council and British Fashion Council.

closeuponprint     timihayeksketch copy
Illustrations by Timi Hayek – Please do not use without permission

For the first time, Lebanese designers will participate in the event. In an exhibit titled ‘Blueprint Beirut’, and in partnership with The Arab British Centre, eight Starch Foundation designers will each showcase a creation reflecting their vision of Beirut. Pieces by Margherita Abi-Hanna, Joe Arida, Mira Hayek, Timi Hayek, Rayya Morcos, Nour Najem, Sevag Dilsizian and Bashar Assaf will be displayed in a traditional Lebanese home setting re-imagined by architect Elie Metni. Lebanese talent takes over London!

‘Blueprint Beirut’ will be held at West Wing Galleries, Somerset House, London as part of ‘Fashion Utopias’ from February 19 to 23

The Chocolate Fairy

For the Salon du Chocolat, at Biel in Beirut last week, pairs of designers and chocolatiers fashioned chocolate into beautiful creations.


Just as Cinderella’s fairy godmother used her magic wand to transform a pumpkin into a carriage, rags into a ball dress and mice into horses, the pastry chef Romy Zakhour, recreated a fairy tale. With her expert hands, she turned chocolate into a ‘One thousand and One Nights’ ensemble with a dress, a magic carpet and a genie’s lamp. Romy’s magic formula? Melt the dark chocolate at 50° Celsius to start crystallization, refresh it to 27°Celsius, then quickly raise temperature by a couple of degrees to reach desired texture. Use 1026 tiny square shaped bars for the bustier and skirt, ornate with pearls and flowers, and cover collar gently with gold dust. Mix chocolate with sugar to obtain paste to shape the lamp and carpet. Bond the different elements with melted chocolate. Top the recipe with passion and a solid know how and you will obtain an elegantly dressed up outfit.


Romy’s passion began the minute she put her hands into the craft of chocolate making. Her father started the now renowned glacier and chocolatier Evasion. Romy initially destined herself to a career in architecture, but opted for Hotel Management which was closer to her father’s business. Her conviction came the first time she assisted her father in his artisan shop. From then on, she traveled regularly to Europe to perfect her skills, attending a ganache workshop in Belgium or a Christmas bûche making class in France. Last year, at 24 years old, she was the youngest chocolatier to participate in the Salon du Chocolat’s 1rst Edition, creating a dress with white, milk and dark chocolate. The chocolate fairy’s creations such as ‘Perles de Nuit’ a tea infused chocolate ganache covered in jasmine flavored petals bring style and beauty to the delicious.

dresses       chocodresses

The Chocolate dresses Fashion Show took place on November 12 and the dresses exhibit from November 12 to 14 at Biel

Le Salon du Chocolat Show

The 2nd Edition of the Salon du Chocolat at Biel, invites us to explore the rich array of flavors, shapes and textures that chocolate lets us indulge in, including, of course, fashion.


Organized in parallel with the Beirut Cooking festival, the Salon du Chocolat will kickoff with a chocolate couture Fashion Show. Lebanese designers teaming up with talented pastry chefs have played with the codes of the One Thousand and One Nights tale. Motifs, embellishments and transparencies will be featured in an enchanting presentation of chocolate dresses, tunics and sherwals. Guest of honor, Abed Mahfouz, has concocted a delightful chocolate creation in collaboration with chef Charles Azar.

The runway show will take place on Thursday, November 12 at 12pm. For those who will miss it, the delicate dresses will be exhibited at the Salon during the entire event. Chocolate tastings, chef appearances, workshops and live recipe demonstrations from Lebanese and international chocolatiers are also on the Salon du Chocolat’s appetizing program. Sahtein!

The Salon du Chocolat will be held from November 12 to 14, from 11am to 8pm at Biel

Lara Khoury does Man

Lara Khoury introduced her women label in 2010. She has quickly become one of the Lebanese designers to watch and has gained recognition locally and internationally. She is now embarking on a new adventure, launching a Men clothing line.
The designer envisioned her line for the urban Lebanese professional. Fabrics are comfortable yet refined with linen and fine wool from Italy and the United Kingdom, as key ingredients. The formal suit takes on a more casual feel by playing with daring collars distinguished by their cuts and shapes, The collection features costumes, jackets and shirts in subtle hues of black, blues or greens. Pieces are conceived as playful basics that men can pair together or match with their own wardrobe items.
The line’s debut will take place at the Pop Up boutique in Achrafieh, a concept store dedicated to edgy Men accessories and ready-to-wear. Lara Khoury has chosen ten passionate professionals to present her first Spring Summer 2016 collection in lieu of models. From the winemaker, to the architect or the product developer, each of the Lebanese men has been invited to the studio and styled their own look from the collection. The photo-shoot will be presented at the event on Thursday, along with drinks and appetizers. For the men looking for a relaxed yet elegant alternative to the classic suit, this is the place to head.

The Event will be held on Thursday, October 22 from 7 to 10pm
Pop Up
Salim Boustros st, Merehbi bldg, Ground Floor
Achrafieh, Beirut
For more information please call 01 44 34 26