Cutting a new silhouette on the Middle Eastern style circuit, Mohanad Kojak of Kojak Studio has made costume drama a daily reality for a broad demographic of women. And his Spring 2018 season line proves to be the very definition of Instagram-worthy. The designer has found fans in a high calibre of women, from Yousra to the inimitable Dorra Zarrouk, Nelly Karim and Izabel Goulart, and amongst the Middle East’s It girl set, including Karen Wazen B and Jessica Kahawaty. But in a new collaboration with one of Egypt’s leading ladies, we witness once again the designer’s versatility in unifying women from different fashion tribes…
Joining the muse series of #KojakDolls, rising star Egyptian/Syrian actor Yosra El Lozy (Microphone and Heliopolis) departs from her classical style and turns model for Kojak Studios Spring 2018, the collection that was showcased at Season 10 of Fashion Forward in Dubai. Yosra El Lozy‘s style overhaul in her Kojak Studio shoot saw her feminine side take a new dramatic aspect, “I’m a very minimal and classical-dressing person so I generally go for more “plain” styles, if compared to today’s styles that is generated by social media pressure,” El Lozy tells Vogue.me. “Honestly, I would only go with this look again unless I truly feel comfortable going for it.”
Yosra’s career started at a young age featuring in films by Egyptian director Yusuf Chahine and has since seen her sphere of influence rise to 1.8 million followers on Instagram and counting. “Yosra and I worked together on a gown for the Gouna Film Festival back in September and we really bonded during that experience,” Kojak tells Vogue.me. “I’ve always seen that she’s been portrayed in a very limited way and direction while she as a character is more versatile and is very practical and minimal. I see her as being edgy, way more than she shows so I wanted to bring forth this side of her.”
But Kojak used his tried and trusted skills at exaggerating what is before him and emphasized the “edgy” aspect of El Lozy’s personality. “We wanted to add some unconventional outfits and styling elements like the plastic corset with the embroidery and the makeup – I wanted to keep it feminine but with a twist, feminine but not really,” Kojak explains. The actor’s wardrobe has three style staples in it she adores the most: “My snuggie, my Birkenstock slipper – super comfortable- and a dark brown Massimo Dutti bag, which is very versatile.” So a PVC corset may be a far departure from her own personal sartorial choices, but this didn’t phase her from a collaboration with the unapologetically bold designer.
“At the very beginning, when I went to meet Kojak to get my Gouna Film Festival gown done, I was nervous because I knew his style was very different, but after that first meet I loved him,” El Lozy explains to Vogue. “He made me feel very comfortable and mixed his own sense of design with my character and style, which is very classical and practical. Kojak on the other hand is very bold and daring, I fully trusted him with this because he really took his time to figure out what I liked, the perfect cut and choosing the right color and fabric.”
The actor counts comfort as her ultimate style priority: and yet, she works an impractical supersized red evening gown with a natural ease in her Kojak shoot. “I let myself go,” beams El Lozy. The unabashed art direction oozes character: both of actor and designer. The results are a testament to the trust behind this collaboration. “When you look at his Instagram account, you know there’s something about him. He knows what he’s doing and that’s why he’s successful. “I felt comfortable letting him do his thing,” says El Lozy. “I didn’t interfere at all. I think he really believes in what he’s doing.”
Below Vogue.me speaks to Yousra El Lozy about what’s in the pipeline for her in 2018, after joining the ranks of the celebrated #KojakDolls line-up:
What projects are you working on now and next?
“Now, I’m working on a TV series for this Ramadan called ‘Bel 7agm al 3a2ely,’ starring Yehia El Fakharany and Mervat Amin, and will mostly take place in Masa Alam.”
Tell us your mantra for work and life balance.
(Laughing) “I wish I had one – I’m a mess. The thing with our job is that you can never plan. I’m an over-thinker and a planner, but with my career it’s very hard to do that. Every plan I make gets messed up, so I just go with the flow, which is difficult for me to do because I’m constantly thinking about how the different plans can go, so now I need have different plans for different scenarios, and for each different plan, I need to have different sub-plans. It’s crazy.”
Describe your biggest challenge you’ve faced in your career so far and how you’ve overcome it.
“I think my biggest challenge in my career was when I filmed the series ‘Dahsha.’ I was pregnant and the location was really tough. The story was an adaptation of King Lear and I was playing Cordelia, so the role was tough and the shooting was very hectic. But I think it turned out well in the end. We spent a lot of time with the director, Shady El Fakharany, preparing before we started shooting so I believe that made things smoother.”
What role do you think style can play in empowering a woman?
“I think different things empower different people. But I can definitely see how style could empower some women. But it really depends; it depends on societal issues, what stage in life she’s in, the community she’s surrounded by, etc. For example, some women live in areas where they’re restricted from wearing what they want; if they choose to do so nonetheless, it’s a form of empowerment and self expression.”
Photography: Mohanad Kojak
Art Direction and Styling: Mohanad Kojak
MUA: Sherif Tanyous
Hair: Kriss Beauty Salons
Related Read: Watch the Kojak Spring 2018 presentation at Fashion Forward Season 10