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Starch Foundation

Co-founded by Rabih Kayrouz and Tala Hajjar in 2008, the Starch Foundation is a non-profit program that supports Lebanese emerging designers. Each year, four-to-six talents are selected and nurtured under its platform. Showing for this Fall 2016 season are Lobnan Mahfouz for his brand Per’vers, Salim Azzam, and Starch Foundation alumnus Bashar Assaf.

Designer Lobnan Mahfouz behind the new label Per’vers featured unisex sports-luxe designs. The Esmod Beirut graduate showcased athleisure separates including sheer mesh jackets and belted kimono renditions, alongside sheer paneled skirts and leather shorts. Mahfouz sensibly brought dimension to the black-on-black collection by blending and layering textures: mesh, neoprene, and leather added both depth and energy.

Salim Azzam’s collection featured a batch of white, button-down, cotton shirts embroidered with pretty, folklore-inspired motifs. Notably, the embroidery was handcrafted by artisans in villages in Lebanon. But despite this heartfelt touch, the line-up lacked some variety.

Back from a self-imposed travel hiatus, Starch Foundation alumnus Bashar Assaf featured sensual menswear and womenswear designs in a chocolate, sand, and rose-colored palette. If zip-up hoodies and cropped sweatshirts added warmth to the collection, the slit-slip dresses and plunging V-necks further heated it up. Just remember your sticky tape.

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