Lebanese 25-year-old designer Roni Helou is Starch Foundation‘s latest darling. Helou presented his Spring 2018 collection, his second following graduation from the Creative Space Beirut at Fashion Forward. He showcased highly styled separates, white shirts, tailored trousers, bustiers, and jackets in flower and zany prints and balanced the collection’s femininity with pinstripes. Shoes—slides with an edgy twist on royal flair—were in collaboration with Poise Design‘s Emma Boutros. The burgeoning designer is already gaining momentum in his home country; just last night, it was announced that Roni Helou is one of the winners of the Boghossian Foundation Prize. The 25,000 Euro grant has been awarded annually to artists in Lebanon since 2011.
Editors look to young designers for an element of surprise. A creative flip that pushes boundaries. Helou didn’t offer that. Though, his styling was on point—rife with shirts shrugged off the shoulders, cinched waists, and semi-untucked shirt dresses. But this disappointment was muffled, slightly, by the admission that Helou’s is a collection ready to shop and wear on repeat. If there’s one thing millennials know, it’s that “commercial” isn’t a dirty word.