Timi Hayek lights up Fashion Design with the Sublime confidence of Youth

Talented designer Timi Hayek is a do it all. Her atelier is located above her boutique in Monot, in Beirut and she spends her days working on her sewing machine, playing with delicate fabrics, that she gracefully shapes into beautiful collections.

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Timi Hayek

Timi is a designer and an illustrator. She studied Fashion Print at the prestigious Central Saint Martins College of Arts & Design in London  and received the Liberty Art Fabrics Award for her print design, selected to be sold at British department store, Liberty & Co. The young graduate interned at renowned couture houses, Alexander McQueen, Louis Vuitton, and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac in London and Paris. She then moved to Beirut in 2013, and started working with the up-cycled furniture brand Bokja.

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Pink Moon SS 16 by Timi Hayek

While at Bokja, one of her colleagues suggested she apply to the Starch Foundation, a launching platform for emerging design talents in Lebanon founded by Maison Rabih Kayrouz and Tala Hajjar. Timi’s portfolio was selected and she enrolled in the program for a year, gaining exposure for her brand and getting to meet her clientele in the concept store in Saifi where she exhibited and sold her collections. Between one sale and another, the young designer set up a small studio inside the store and kept working on her clothes, creating the garments in front of clients.

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Pink Moon SS 16 by Timi Hayek

 

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Pink Moon SS 16 by Timi Hayek

A year and a half ago, Timi Hayek opened her boutique in historic neighborhood Monot, and set up her atelier upstairs in the same space. The designer embraces slow fashion, handcrafting the clothes herself or with the help of a carefully selected couturier. The young talent curates each aspect of her label: she handpicks the fabrics and sketches garments through dreamy illustrations.

She then sits on her sewing machine and comes downstairs to greet clients looking to purchase her elegant creations. Timi also models in her seasonal fashion shoot campaigns set in breezy atmospheres.

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Timi Hayek

During her one year at Starch, the young designer’s collections were showcased in Dubai, for Fashion Forward style week, which gave her exposure to a cosmopolitan clientele. Clients from Bahrain or the United Arab Emirates pop into her boutique in Beirut or purchase her creations online on MySouk.com and Lebelik.com.

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Pink Moon SS 16 by Timi Hayek

 

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Pink Moon SS 16 by Timi Hayek

This year, she was part of the Starch delegation exhibiting in London at the International Fashion Showcase under the theme Blueprint Beirut.

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Timi Hayek is preparing for an upcoming runway show at Fashion Forward Dubai on October 20, where she will be participating as a Starch Foundation alumn. The collection that she will showcase is inspired by the Scottish Highlands. The clothes will be composed of a palette of washed out linens in faded tones and earthy colours, gold and silver jersey along with the characteristic checkered patterns. Timi’s collections themes flow spontaneously from the choice of fabric. The designer appreciates interesting textures, play of reliefs, soft feel and aged effects. Observing the way the textile behaves guides her in choosing the shape of garments.

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Timi sketching at her desk

She then starts cutting, draping and sewing. For her latest Spring Summer 2016 collection, Pink Moon, she envisioned a flow of summery pleats on dresses and skirt ensembles in pastel shades of pink. Her previous Fall Winter 2015 Dusk collection set a nocturnal ambiance through dark blue and purple dresses with touches of velvet. She embellishes fabrics with delicate embroideries and her whimsical illustrations. Timi Hayek favors above all things the handmade aspect of the creative process and from one season to another interprets inspirational fabrics into a poetic wardrobe.

Follow Timi on Instagram , twitter & www.timihayek.com

Kamsyn, October 2016

Article originally published in Kamsyn – October 10, 2016

Azzi & Osta Famous Fashion duo turns Up the Volume

The dynamic duo George Azzi and Assaad Osta are putting their mark on the fashion world with their couture label Azzi & Osta. They have imposed their signature vintage chic style on the Lebanese fashion scene and are conquering the world one gown at a time.

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Azzi & Osta     Photo Tarek Moukaddem

 

 The first notes

The interest in fashion grew for both designers from an early age. George used to create outfits made of paper and cardboard that he presented to his classmates and family on fashion shows he organized at school. Assaad learned the craft from his mother. She used to sew her own dresses, and the long hours she would spend finishing an outfit with meticulous attention to details taught him to strive for perfection.

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Azzi & Osta   Photo Tarek Moukaddem

 

They both attended the three years fashion design program at Esmod, and distinguished themselves graduating with the Prize of the Jury for Assaad and the Prize of the President of the Jury for George. This landed them a two weeks internship at Elie Saab, which turned to a full time job.

During their two years working in Elie Saab’s design studio and atelier, they were exposed to volumes and structures, and had to explore the technique themselves in order to build the archives of the house which was newly venturing in this area. They experimented with larger shoulder and peplum style and deepened their knowledge of structures, setting the ground for what would become the signature style of the Azzi & Osta label. After their experience at Saab they ventured as freelancers each on their own. One common project brought them together as they decided to join forces. This collaboration made them realize their compatibility and convinced them to start their brand.

The duo goes crescendo

 

Azzi & Osta launched their first collection at the end of 2010 in the midst of an uncertain environment in the Middle East. Their opulent creations were well received and they started designing a collection each season along with bridal. Most of their designs are couture, with some capsule ready-to-wear pieces.

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Azzi & Osta  Photo Tarek Moukaddem

 

Clients can personalize the styles but Azzi & Osta ensure to infuse their identity in each piece. The house is engrained in the twenty first century, and it is not rare for orders to be completed entirely electronically, even fittings can be made at distance to finalize the outfit. When they were only starting their label, a dress that they had sent to a photographer in New York for a shooting was spotted by Tyra Banks.

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Azzi & Osta  Photo Tarek Moukaddem

 

Wonderful was their surprise when they found out the photographer wanted to keep their dress longer for this not so anonymous new client! Azzi & Osta styles have since caught the eye of celebrities across the planet; Nadine Labaki, Kesha, Aiswhara Rai or Giuliana Rancic. The label has grown and the designers have established their showroom and atelier in Tabaris, Beirut. They will soon place designs in selected boutiques in Dubai.

 

 

A signature style

 

The designers’ showroom is a window on their vintage style revisited with a modern conceptual approach. Among a couture box, multicolored candies and miniature roses Azzi & Osta dresses are twirling on their hangers. Their fetish fabrics are brocades, faille, gazar, tulle or crêpe, sprinkled with delicately placed details of lace and embroideries and often distinguished with color blocking.

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They master structured volumes, adding layered peplum to beautiful gowns, carefully crafting a magnificent tulip dress, and pairing modern cropped tops with impressive petticoat style skirts. The outfits are designed and tailored in their Beirut atelier, and embroideries are gracefully applied both locally and in India.

The designers are currently working on their fall winter 2016/17 collection which they revealed has a royal touch to it, in a neutral palette of black, whites enriched by gold and silver and applied pearls. Another elegantly walked step on their road to new successes.

Follow Azzi & Osta :   Website   Insta @Azziandosta 

Kamsyn, June 2016

Article originally published in Kamsyn – June 27, 2016

Lara Khoury’s Voyage to Fashion Horizons

Lara Khoury is leading her eponymous label to broad horizons. Her three signature fashion lines have traveled from America to the Middle East, all the way through East Asia.

Lara’s story is one of transforming constraints into opportunities. She grew up with a penchant for mathematics, architecture and fashion. Her aunt who owned a maternity clothing boutique inspired her to explore her fashion interest.

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After two years of classes at ESMOD in Beirut, she completed her studies in Paris. In summer 2006, she came home for vacation, and had to remain in Beirut due to the war and an expiring visa to France. Lara joined the house of Elie Saab working in couture and ready-to-wear, which gave her access to the industry’s behind the scenes. In 2008, she was ready to launch her own label.

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Amidst a chaotic political environment, her conceptual show in an old renovated house in Batroun created buzz and caught the eye of Rabih Kayrouz. He contacted her for a project intended to shed light on emerging Lebanese designers. First a fashion show in Faraya Mzaar brought together the selected designers, then the Starch Foundation came about offering a unique opportunity for talented young creators to showcase their work to clients and the press.

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Lara Khoury    Photo Anthony Saroufim

A few months later, the designer decided to open her own atelier and showroom. She initially envisioned it in an abandoned factory, but having no means to rent such a large space, she transformed her own studio apartment in Gemmayzé. Wooden doors found in the streets of Beirut were converted into raw looking parquet. The furniture and setting is movable; the open space encompassing the atelier and office during workdays can be clustered and freed up for appointments and events.

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In 2013, when Marseille was the European capital of culture, Lara was invited to represent her country at the Maison Mediterranéenne des Métiers de la Mode. The exposure to leading fashion houses and top-notch speakers complemented her creative background with a solid business foundation enabling her to take her brand to international markets. She now sells her collections in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates as well as in the United States, Japan and Ecuador, and more recently in Iran.

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Lara Khoury started with women ready-to-wear and launched SOW her couture signature in February 2015 then her men collection last October. The designer defines her style as experimental and minimalist. She galvanizes silhouettes through volumes; oversized tutus contrast with tailored tops and intricate pleats structure flowing dresses. Her fabrics are soft and delicate; muslin, cotton, tulle, satin or organza and she leaves trims with an unfinished feel embracing a natural look.

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The men collection echoes women’s ; independent, daring, and comfortable ; a collar with no reverse, modernized proportions for jackets, shirts and pants and fine fabrics of linen and wool. For her SOW couture collection she presents four bridal dresses along tailored men suits. Lara stays true to her effortless look; her customized gowns are an airy and graceful alternative for brides to dance the night away on their big day.

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Kamsyn sat with Lara for a fresh & quick talk on her Entrepreneurial debut: insights on the challenges faced and eventual initiatives that could boost fashion entrepreneurs in Lebanon.

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Lara Khoury    Photo Manon Nouailhac

Were you encouraged to pursue an entrepreneurial path or was a more traditional role expected of you?

When I grew up, wanting to be a fashion designer was not well regarded by society, but my parents encouraged me to embrace what I liked. I could not have been fulfilled with an office job, I had the desire to work independently and express my own point of view. Even though sometimes at the beginning there was some criticism, envisioning my goal kept driving me.

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Lara Khoury   Photo Anthony Saroufim

What advice would you give to women looking to launch their own entrepreneurial venture?

It is a difficult choice to be an entrepreneur. Follow your instinct and passion, and if you love what you do, there will be ups and downs but do not get discouraged. I personally learned while doing and acquired a maturity that I did not have at the beginning, now I am more careful with my choices.

What initiative can you think of to support women entrepreneurs in fashion in Lebanon ?

Fashion is a challenging field in Lebanon. We lack a federation that could help structure the sourcing of fabrics, organize an official fashion week or provide financial and managerial support to emerging talents. The opportunities here are lead by private initiatives, and family support was key for me.

Follow Lara   Facebook 

                         Insta @larakhoury

Kamsyn, July 2016

Article originally published in Kamsyn – July 24, 2016