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Exclusive: Azzi & Osta’s SS21 Collection Keeps the Spirit of Jet-Setting Alive

Azzi & Osta‘s SS21 collection bursts with color, hope, and optimism for the future as it harkens back to the playful 60s. For this ready-to-wear collection, Lebanese designer duo George Azzi and Assaad Osta looked to the popular vintage American travel magazine Holiday and its golden years in the 60s for inspiration.

Its bold layouts, visually pleasing art direction, and photography that allowed readers to travel within its pages, also motivated the designers to collect them, and later, dream up a 17-piece collection through which the magazines would continue to serve their purpose. “Storytelling with our creations is at the core of what we do,” share the couturiers with Vogue Arabia. “We love history, and the history of art specifically, as it makes us imagine how things were, and challenges us to modernize and bring those moments back in the form of a story that takes our audiences through our journey of escapism.”

The Holiday magazines. Photo: Courtesy of Azzi & Osta

The collection is every bit the holiday wardrobe jet-setters would travel with, had it not been for the global pandemic, and serves as a sartorial antidote after a trying 2020. Speaking of the driving force behind the collection, Azzi and Osta say, “The year 2020 with all its challenges and the devastating explosion in Beirut, triggered more and more our need to escape with our thoughts and just imagine where anyone yearns to be during such times, what they would wear on their holiday, and the carefree spirit that the 60s project.” The result? Silhouettes that are minimalistic with maximalist accents that ensure wearability while still being stand-out pieces in the wardrobe. Light, tailored separates with clean, asymmetric cuts are juxtaposed with billowing cape-like sleeves, long tunic tops are adorned with dramatic ruffles, while eyes are drawn to waistlines and necklines accentuated with flower appliqués, embellishments, straps with sparkling vintage accents, an oversized bow, as well as geometric cut-outs. Dubbed a “gelato-hued collection” by the brand, the color palette is plucked from the pages of the vintage magazine to feature shades like marshmallow pink, sherbet lemon, powder blue and Hamptons white.

The mood board. Photo: Courtesy of Azzi & Osta

Since comfort continues to be predicted as one of the the biggest “fashion trends” this year, the designers have taken it into consideration to deliver just that with the collection that is available to shop from their recently launched e-commerce site. “We adapted the collection for SS21 into a simpler silhouette; looks that are suitable for intimate day events as well as outdoor celebrations,” say Azzi and Osta. “Comfort, effortlessness, minimalism have become more prominent and our SS21 collection reflects that very much.”

George Azzi and Assaad Osta outside their Beirut store

George Azzi and Assaad Osta. Photography Myriam Boulos

Azzi and Osta were two of the many designers affected by the explosion in Beirut that destroyed homes and businesses. The duo now strongly feels a responsibility as creatives to offer a much-needed dose of escapism through their work, and their faith in the power of fashion has never been more important. “Fashion projects hope, something to look forward to,” they say. “You look at fashion — how it is always about the upcoming ‘seasons’ and it offers a way of looking at things with a more positive perspective, and the notion that this too shall end. The storytelling that has always been with fashion, is now intensified with all the fashion films and is the means to disconnecting, dreaming, escaping, and living in the story of a collection for a little while.”

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