In the spirit of Halloween, Hussein Bazaza has just unveiled the spooky, Spring 2019 campaign for his eponymous brand in the form of an eerie short film entitled “Who is Hellène?”. In 104 seconds, the clip tells the story of the woman who inspired the new collection, a fictional character he dreamed up that goes by the name of Hellène. “She is a woman who lived her entire life seeking ultimate perfection,” the DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize alumni explains of his protagonist. The story goes: Hellène owned a hotel where she killed her guests so she could steal their body parts that she liked the most in an effort to create the perfect version of herself. The result was a monster that ended up destroying her, and now she awaits judgement in a purgatory garden.
The message is clear. “The idea here is to tackle the illusion of perfection that we all try so hard to achieve not realizing how self-destructive it is on all levels,” notes the Lebanese designer. “Hellène used all means to reach her goal of being perfect and the outcome was emotional and physical destruction.” Bazaza normally draws inspiration from powerful female leads. For instance, his muse for Fall 2017 was a Japanese girl named Akane who seeks to avenge her murdered family during World War II.
The idea behind Hellène’s story came to fruition after the designer had an epiphany about social media, and the negative effects it can have on one’s mental health — a message conveyed by everyone from the Duchess of Sussex to Ariana Grande in recent weeks. “No one is really happy and satisfied with their own lives; they are all trying to seek perfection by imitating others and trying to act out a false image online, deceiving the world and themselves about their own happiness,” he imparts. “Hellène’s story teaches us that not only can we not attain ultimate perfection in life, but also seeking to do so will bring us pure misery rather than happiness.”
As for the clothing that make up the collection, Bazaza imagined that while he was in his atelier, he was creating the fictional character’s wardrobe. There are three main themes in the offering, including roses, fire, and clouds. The designer incorporates denim into his designs, a first for the Beirut-based label that typically sticks to rich materials like lace, chiffon, satin, and silk, all of which are present in the line-up. The collection is a mish-mash of casual, everyday pieces and eveningwear, a nod to Hellène’s sartorial sensibilities. A highlight is a baby blue gown with a sequined red rose bodice equipped with a sparkling green stem that trails down from the waist-line.
Videographer: Elie El Semaan and Layal Rajha
Model: Zeina Farhat