Nicolas Jebran may have only made his Paris Couture Week debut last year, but it already seems as if the Arab designer has been a season regular for decades now. While his celebrity-studded client list includes some of the world’s biggest fashion icons in Hollywood, Bollywood, and Arab cinema from Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez to Jacqueline Fernandez and Maya Diab, the Lebanese couturier’s statement collection featuring embroidered capes and shimmering gowns in bold hues at his inaugural Paris presentation cemented his place on the list of coveted couturiers. Vogue Arabia spoke with Jebran ahead of his long-anticipated second runway show for an intimate conversation about the concept surrounding his upcoming designs and the impact the current situation in Lebanon has had on his creative process.
What was the impact of presenting last season for the first time in Paris?
It was one milestone! The idea itself was amazing to me. I loved every detail; it was a unique experience and its reactions were loud! The brand gained more international exposure, more confidence, and more thrill. The impact from the people was very inspiring and pushed us to do more. The impact from the press was highly supportive, especially the support from Vogue Arabia. It was such a boost, the people’s support—all was great from all aspects! This is the main reason why we wanted to do more.
What is the concept of this second show? Any surprises?
It is totally different and new! People will have to couple up the dresses, the opposites—each one telling us what happened in that silent conversation between me and myself.
In terms of craftsmanship, can you comment on the techniques you used and how long the looks took to finalize in general?
Techniques vary from embroidery and laser cuts to combining different kinds of fabric. The cutouts in the fabric are unique—unique molds handmade in the fashion house. Some dresses took a long time to be finalized but, in general, the full collection took around three months.
2019 was an incredible year for you with so many highlights; what would you say were your top three moments?
Yes, indeed, it was one amazing year—can’t really pick a top moment! I believe there is something angelic that at every moment you fall down, something happens and boosts you all up. Each and every standing has its own magic and, given the situation in Lebanon, your success internationally gives you a push to keep moving.
Is the political situation in Lebanon influencing your work and business? As a creative and businessman, how are you dealing with the situation?
A tremendous effect—the mood, the overall tension, all what’s happening highly affected businesses and mostly us. When you have to sit and create while at the same your heart aches for your beloved country…it’s schizophrenic indeed and heartbreaking. But, our will to keep our country alive is much more powerful. We pray, we work hard, and definitely things are going to get in place. It’s in our DNA as Lebanese to be fighters, reflecting a much better image than the reality we are living.