Neighborhood Fashion Tour – Badaro

Developed as a residential area with a handful of restaurants and shops before the civil war, Badaro has experienced an awakening in the past couple of years and is now home to a growing number of cool cafés, bars and restaurants. On the lookout for exciting concept stores, the street at first glance seemed reticent but with some rummaging through Badaro and its surroundings turned out to be home to some striking creative minds.

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Luanatic – A boutique with a fresh and witty take on Lebanese slang. Luana, a graphic designer, spreads Lebanese talk such as Tout tout 3a Beirut and Min Habibi Ana? through posters, magnets, phone covers, mugs, bags and other daily objects. A gentle way to smile at our local quirks; the souvenirs make an amusing introduction to Lebanese distinctive expressions.

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Cocoa & Co – In the colorful atelier, tasty and sweetly decorated cookies and cakes are in the making. The owner Hala started baking at home for her children’s parties and the story of Cocoa & Co began in 2008. The sweets tell tales of cartoons, smiley faces, happy occasions and groovy creations such as a chocolate pizza with a cookie crust, topped with cereals, smarties and marshmallows.

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ByRania – In the boudoir style boutique, swing skirts, flowing gilets and modernized Abayas bring bright touches of color. The designer Rania welcomes her clients with advice and personalized pieces. She started painting on porcelain before shifting to clothing and accessories ten years ago. Rania sprinkles hand paints and graphic prints on dresses, caps and sneakers adding a pop vibe to her outfits.

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Mastike – C-Lab (Creative Lab) – A bric-a-brac of fascinating finds from local furniture designers, vintage boutiques abroad or objects created by the owners; a group of young talented graphic designers, architects and engineers who founded in 2004 the C-Lab studio located above the store. Opened three years ago, the boutique holds recycled glass blown and molded into lamps, wooden palettes from a nearby construction site turned into a coffee table, a garbage container up-cycled as a sofa and an old metro cabin phone.

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Pipe Brothers– Water pipes have taken over one section of an electronics store. About a year ago, Tony started transforming old water pipes into decorative objects. In the store, playful shapes of lamps are disposed on an ingenious bookshelf made of re-used pipes and wooden boards. Using recycled and up-cycled materials, the owner designs custom objects for homes, pubs and restaurants.

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Le Marzipan – An iconic shop in the area, Le Marzipan has been concocting Aleppo specialties since 1965. Artisanal recipes are used to handcraft the delicacies with pistachio and almonds as key ingredients. A sweet taste of tradition transmitted through delicious marzipans, sugared almonds, chocolate pralines, loukoums, rose syrup and jellab.

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The National Museum of Beirut – The beautiful museum holds testimonies of the region’s tumultuous evolution from Prehistory to Ottoman periods, with stops through the Bronze and Iron ages, the Hellenic, Roman and Byzantine periods. Envisioned since the 1919, the museum was inaugurated in 1937 and later destroyed by the civil war. Renovations ended in 1999 and the museum stands again as a beacon of a rich cultural heritage for Lebanon.

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Neighborhood Fashion Tour – Monot

Monot street originally developed around Saint Joseph University and Collège des Jésuites. The street emerged from its scars after the war into a bustling nightlife neighborhood. The buzz has since moved to other areas and Monot is now looking for its identity. Walking down the street you will find dilapidated but charming traditional houses and buildings along some renovations and new constructions. Few restaurants and bars have remained from the 90s and some new exciting concepts are now emerging.

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Vide-Posh – The treasure hunt starts here. Vide-Posh holds coveted items for home décor; teacups, lamps, vases, clocks, hangers, tableware, jars. The owner Pascale Sloukgi selects each item with taste and also offers home décor advice. In two adjacent rooms, the bucolic themed with pastel shaded flowers, rustic woods and patina aged white furniture, and the other with more trendy touches of concrete or copper and to-do list boards, finishing touches for a dream kitchen, bedroom, living room or terrace can be found in this boutique.

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Filigrane – Customized house linen; embroidered tablecloth, hemstitched American sets, or printed cushions designed by a graffiti artist, crafted in workshops across Lebanon make up the store selection. In the 1980s, Josette Dahdah, who lived in Paris, decided to bring her contribution to a torn Lebanon. She designed house linen and partnered with women back home for sewing and embroidery, providing them with a source of income. Her daughter Youmna joined in 2009 and Filigrane is now a concept store, sharing the space with Eat Sunshine, a healthy and tasty eatery, and the events staffing company Diffa.

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Timi Hayek – The multi-talented designer featured in a previous article on the blog. In her upstairs atelier, she designs her collections then works on her machine to make each outfit come to shape after carefully selecting the fabrics. Shift dresses printed with Timi’s illustrations, long flowing dresses, wave cropped tops paired with matching pink plissé skirts or linen sprinkled with summery embroidery make up her poetic spring summer collection.

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Photo by Timi Hayek

Dodo les bobos – In a soothing pastel ambiance with a modern factory feel introduced by steel fixtures, Dodo les bobos proposes a wide selection of European branded furniture for babies and children. Cradles, shelves, table sets, lamps , bed sheets and wallpaper are displayed in authentic settings to give parents decoration ideas for their children’s bedrooms.

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La Rose de Sim – La Rose de Sim revisits Middle Eastern heritage into unique clutches and colorful jewelry. Nestled in the second floor of a beautiful old building, La Rose de Sim takes a nostalgic, and sometimes humorous look at our cultural heritage turning a characteristic ceramic floor tile, a Gebran quote or a family story into vibrant prints for the playful leather handbags.

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Oh! Bakehouse – In this mouthwatering pastry shop, the cakes and breads are gluten-free and lactose-free. The owner Rena Dagher came up with the idea after a family history of gluten intolerance, she wanted to demonstrate that eating gluten free does not necessarily mean sacrifice. With the delicious fruit pies, carrot, almond and chocolate cakes, and salty treats, the mission is now accomplished and she will soon add sandwiches to the menu.

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Le Domaine des Tourelles – Founded in Chtaura in 1868 by Frenchman François-Eugène Brun, Le Domaine des Tourelles is a pioneer in Lebanon’s winemaking industry. The winery is now owned by a pair composed of a winemaker and an entrepreneur dedicated to safeguarding the domain’s heritage. In the wine cellar named ‘La Boutique” where you can find the classic Red, White or Rosé, Marquis des Beys and the Arak Brun, a bar has been designed to host group tastings and events.

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Barjis by Janan B. – The designer Janan works with traditional fabrics and styles revisiting them in a funky modern way. She adds bright touches of colour to a Abaya, or sherwal, transforms the traditional keffia into a hoodie style gilet and complements her collection with lace or crochet tops and dresses. Most of the designs are handmade and the store also offers a line of jewelry and shoes with multicolored pompons, pearls and feathers.

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Beit Beirut – The iconic house was a residential building before it turned into a sniper landmark, located on the demarcation line during the civil war. Beit Beirut, previously owned by the Barakat family, will be turned into a museum on the memory of the war.

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Neighborhood Fashion Tour – Clemenceau

An upscale residential area with beautiful mansions and charming buildings before the 15 years war, Clemenceau is now getting a facelift with new high rises and business centers. A handful of inventive shops are bringing an inviting vibe to the area and making Clemenceau a must to visit on the Beirut fashion map.

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Cookie Dough The land of sweetness, from cute clothes for the little ones, to a wonderland display and care the owner puts to organize events and consulting sessions accompanying parents through welcoming their child home. Cookie Dough sets you up with style to pamper your loved ones; clothing up to 12 years old, childcare products, nursery furniture and gifts such as fine jewelry.

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Piaff The iconic store is a reference for fashion since 1980. In a design ambiance the store presents statement pieces for day and evening wear. Piaff introduces Beirut to some of the coolest brands in clothing and accessories from Tsumori Chisato’s urban comfort to Marco de Vicenzo’s elegant dresses, or Jimi Roos cartoonish embroidered sneakers and Rafé ‘s architectural minaudières.

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Pop Up Pocket With a casual sporty feel, Pop Up Pocket selects hip items of clothing and accessories for those seeking a distinctive style. One of the rare stores in Beirut to cater to trendy Men, as well as to women and children, the stores carries brands such as Swedish Acne Studios or Japanese Comme des Garçons Play. Quirky and fun Pop Up Pocket is ideal to find unconventional accessories and gifts.

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Jacaranda The owner of Jacaranda has a true passion for flowers and plants that she nurtured through books and attending courses with the most recognized professionals in Paris. She spends most of her time in her flower shop, and prepares each bouquet herself adding an enchanting touch of color and warmth to the streets of Clemenceau.

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Noir é Blanc – This little boutique is decorated like a doll house with jars of multicolored sugared almonds on the shelves, boxes of chocolate and coated shortbread biscuits with healthy choices behind glass frames, and a pastel pink tea set with a view on Clemenceau street. The delicious chocolates are handmade in Tripoli.

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L’Artisan du Liban – This year, L’Artisan du Liban celebrates its 35 years anniversary. The store is a window for the various crafts of Lebanon. Copper worked in Saida, Rashaya and Tripoli, glass from Sarafand or Tripoli, and cutlery with inlaid mosaics from Jezzine, L’Artisan du Liban has been highlighting the fine works of artisans across Lebanon, contributing to the conservation of these precious traditions.

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Dar el Nimer at Villa Salem – A must visit, ‘At the Seams’ is an outstanding exhibition on the history of Palestinian embroidery, curated by Rachel Dedman. Dating from more than 100 years old to today, the dresses tell the story of the women who embroidered and wore them. Patches added to hide worn off fabric from work or for breastfeeding, different patterns and motifs for each region before modern transportation brought new hybrid designs, and foreign influences for urban ladies who incorporated details such as french cut or silk fabrics in their traditional dress, that they wore only on occasions, as they had adopted a more western clothing style since the early 1900s, while embroidered dresses remained the daily outfit for rural women. (The exhibition lasts until July 30)

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Neighborhood Fashion Tour – Gemmayze

Along Gemmayze’s bars, old houses and mysterious stairs stand a handful of shops that add to the artistic and homey feel of the neighborhood. I had a blast doing my first neighborhood fashion tour and meeting the very welcoming shopkeepers. Below is a little map of what I found

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Rana Salam – Graphic designer and art director, Rana has applied her imagination to prestigious projects from restaurants and stores to books and magazines as well as exhibitions in Europe or the Middle East. The space which is both her design studio and boutique is a glimpse into her world of pop with a touch of nostalgia for Beirut. You will find coveted home accessories displayed among found objects that by themselves already command a visit to her fabulous universe.

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C by Cynthia – In a little space on Mar Maroun street, Cynthia displays her creations; urban handbags in acidulous colours. Her key model Lucy comes in large, small or micro size and resembles a delightful candy. Her little secret? Cynthia’s husband family business is a leather leader that has been in the trade for 60 years.

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Garo Hakimian – Serge, the owner of this hardware store is passionate about vintage objects and decided to sell them along with the hardware (although he admits he has a hard time separating from them). Antique wall clocks, camcorders, trunks, telephones or sewing machines make up a unique space in the boutique that was founded by his father Garo in 1943.

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Micha Melucha – funky clothes with a vintage vibe Micha Melucha couples finds from her travels with her own playful designs. Expect bohemian style dresses, shorts with colorful pearls or Mickey Mouse adorned jeans.

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Klōk – This store adds an edge to the Beirut fashion scene! Avant-guarde yet casual and laid-back, Klōk holds a designer selection from Japan, Korea, Belgium, Italy, the US or UK. Sheer embroidered socks, daring handbags and clutches in unique shapes and materials or jackets with smooth fabric; every item is a unique find that you will make you go -oh wow!

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Ginette – This concept store is one of the only in Beirut to propose a restaurant section coupled with a shopping area. In the polished stalls you will find beauty products, candles, tableware and plants to decorate your home.

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Ideo Parfumeurs – Lebanon’s only perfume house has the scent of a Mediterranean love story. Orange Blossom, jasmine, rose or lavender, the delicate creations are composed by the wife Ludmila, the ‘nose’, along with her husband Antoine who infuses inspiration from his travels and overseas the business. The perfumes are produced in Grasse, the land of perfume, while soaps are made locally.

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Gems Jewellery by Antoine Oueiss –  A self-taught goldsmith since 1992, Antoine Oueiss mastered the techniques of jewelry making to better challenge them with his daring designs. He opened Gems boutique, a play of words with Gemmayze and precious stones, in 2006. He combines ancient styles such as byzantine inspirations with refined modern skills to create one of a kind pieces breaking the traditional codes: silver encrusted on gold, side diamond setting or even rings designed with coffee beans.

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Deviations – A splash of colour welcomes you into the whimsical imagination of designer Danièle Kiridjian. A few years ago, she partnered with store owner Amer Jabali breathing her romantic inspiration in the Deviations collection. Dresses are infused with an elegant yet fantasy vibe to galvanize parties and weddings. And these fairy tales (dresses) are Made in Lebanon.

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Photo shot by Sabine Moujaes

On May 27 to 29, the Cabriolet Film Festival will take over the St. Nicolas stairs with outdoor film projections.

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Other cool stuff you can find in Gemmayze (mentioned in previous posts on the blog):

-Nafissa’s atelier
-Lara Khoury’s atelier
-Phil and Joe Barbers – grooming salon for men

Creative Laboratory: Fashion Design at LAU

Lebanese talents have raised the name of Lebanon in fashion spheres for decades offering our small country a place of choice in fashion weeks and on red carpets across the world. With the LAU Bachelor of Arts in Fashion Design, the new generation of talents is getting ready to take the fashion world by storm.

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The four years program, launched a couple of years ago, was designed in collaboration with Elie Saab and the London College of Fashion to bring a leading university’s standard of education to aspirant fashion designers. When students are not attending classes, they stick around in the lab perfecting their skills with state of the art material. Digital printers, silent sewing machines, heat pressing, everything is designed to encourage students to experiment with textiles and cuts. They learn to look beyond the ordinary, to be creators of fashion. They attend deconstruct, reconstruct workshops tearing down a classic suit jacket to turn it into an avant-guarde top, revisit menswear tailoring techniques for women’s wear and learn to create laminated fabric with plastic pills and a shopping bag. They are also encouraged to embrace the heritage of their region; traditional textiles, embroideries, but also crafts from outside the world of fashion or even pop culture. The legend Sabah inspired a student who spray-painted the back of an oversized denim jacket with the image of the singer.

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Students can pick an area of focus such as Menswear or Swimwear and perfect it. They are prepared to be global players in leading fashion and design houses across the world or start their own businesses. Throughout the program they are exposed to the realities of the sector, collaborating with international industry professionals and on company projects. Jason Steel, who teaches students to challenge the status quo, has volunteered with Inaash to add a modern design touch to the traditional Palestinian embroideries. Students have brought a splash of color to Bensimon footwear, creating a capsule collection around the theme of crystals, which was exhibited in the brand’s Paris store. The patchwork collage sweater of a student, who engineered together 130 pieces caught the eyes of a leading retailer in Beirut. More collaborations are planned to infuse outlets across Lebanon with a young daring spirit, while offering a window for the up and coming talents to display their works. The top standard institution is a welcome boost to an industry, which benefits from a rich pool of young dynamic talents, in need of additional support structures to encourage them to thrive.

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2626 boutique: Three generations, one passion

In the newcomer boutique in Kantari, the ladies behind 2626 will gradually reveal its secrets as you walk around and discover the miscellaneous objects and clothes that make up the store’s selection.

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2626 is the work of three women, the grandmother, the mother and the daughter. The grandmother, Rosemary Jennings, half British, half Lebanese, learned to sew on her own, and set up her atelier in Beirut in the 1950’s, designing dresses for ladies evening occasions. Her daughter Nada joined, adding her own touch. She favours dressy evening clothes that embrace the shape of the body with a sexy flair. A couple of years ago, Nada’s daughter, Tiara Ghandour, came on board. After fashion design studies at Esmod, Beirut and a master at Marangoni in Milan, she started designing her own line of leggings. Ever since she was a child, Tiara liked two things, photography and fashion. She drew abstract patterns and painted on her jeans. She decided to combine her two passions; the photos she took from a multitude of sources, from music to travel or architecture, were transformed into prints, which in turn made for eclectic leggings.

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On Tiara’s initiative, the three ladies set up to open a boutique, combining their visions into one space. The common thread between them was tops, which they felt in line with the times, as people attend fewer receptions requiring formal evening gowns, and go out more to cocktails and soirées pairing sophisticated tops with jeans or skirts. They applied their respective style, working essentially with a tulle basis, a light and transparent fabric, which reveals the body’s sensuality. The name 2626 is for the age at which Tiara started designing, her lucky number and also announces a futuristic vision, timeless design. At 2626, you will find on one side the lacy elegant tops designed by the mother and on the other side the more edgy patchworks or prints of Tiara’s cocktail tops. Large frames hold Tiara’s photographs of a Buddha in Seoul or Lady of Fatima’s hand found in the Chouf mountains. She also transforms her pictures and applies the energetic prints on cosy sofas on display in the boutique. The ladies’ fruitful imagination and intergenerational inspiration make 2626 a unique place for creativity and style.

Address:
Talleyrand Building, Burj el Murr
Kantari
📞: + 961 1 372614

Price: ★ ★ ☆ ☆ ☆

Boutique Hub : Minimalist casual wear with a twist

Whether it is the unique furniture, the welcoming designer or the cool clothes, clients and passers by that step into Boutique Hub in Sodeco want to know more about the concept, the designer and the story behind the pieces.

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Cynthia Chamat, the dynamic lady behind the store concept, views it as a designer collaboration hub; a place where local designers can work together to create a complementary selection of quality, timeless pieces for a wardrobe. Since the boutique opening in 2014 she has collaborated with KinaMania, a Lebanese designer who proposes a line of artisan-crafted footwear. As of November 2015, another Lebanese designer brand will join at Boutique Hub, Second.st the socially conscious venture that has been revisiting the classic shirt.

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Cynthia’s own brand of clothing, Urban Sense, plays with casual classics. You will find reversible capes, gilets that can be worn as tops and long floating dresses. The philosophy behind her brand is that it should cater to all shapes and sizes, and always ensure comfort. In fact, when trying on her clothes you can feel the softness of her fabrics, as she favors linen, merinos and cashmere. The designer will customize the clothes for each client. She cares to build trusting relationships with her customers who come back to her often to complete their wardrobes with her essential pieces. Next month, a selection of Men Clothing will also be available.

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Looking back at the path that led Cynthia to create Urban Sense, the dots, which seem not connected, all actually make sense. She studied law in Paris then moved on to work as a Communication Consultant. This experience helped her take the leap into creating her own company when the need came and shaped the personalized approach she adopted in dealing with Boutique Hub’s clientele. Indeed, when Cynthia moved back to Lebanon in 2012 she started managing a couple of boutiques selling foreign merchandise. In Spring 2014, the merchandise she ordered did not arrive in Beirut. She found herself with an empty store. The story of Urban Sense began; Cynthia quickly set up to turn in a collection of her own selecting top quality fabrics and styles she had always been fond of. The collection was a success and Cynthia had found her calling.

Address:
Sodeco Sq. Block E, GF02
📞:  +961 1 425240
📱: +961 3 272582
Personal styling appointments available

Price: ★ ★ ☆ ☆