Lebanese designer Rula Galayini’s latest collection titled Romancing Tomorrow is an ode to her country’s resilient spirit and people. The spring/summer handbag collection sees the launch of a new brand logo — an embossed R protruding from the bag’s metallic base. The newly revamped logo is Galayini’s love letter to Lebanon, embodying a phoenix rising from the ashes alongside a revolutionary sentiment. It speaks of resilience, the determination to rebuild, and the pursuit of making things right.
Vogue Arabia spoke to the designer about the thought process behind the newly refurbished logo and the new pieces.
Why was it important for you to introduce the new brand logo after such a trying year?
The past year had been a great, unprecedented opportunity to sit back and reflect on things – both on a professional and personal level. It was the time to reflect on my purpose as a mother, as a creator, and above all as an individual.
Ten years ago when I created Rula Galayini, the purpose was twofold: firstly to support local artisans who were being threatened by the influx of the mass-produced, and secondly to highlight, represent and export a piece of beauty from my region, so often victim to much negative stereotype.
Looking back at all that my country has recently been through and what my people are struggling with today, I wanted the brand’s raison d’etre to be as loud as ever.
How did the blasts in Beirut affect your creativity and production?
Firstly, the blast happened right in the heart of Beirut’s creative community. Our workshops, factories, and many of our artisans’ homes sustained major damage if they were not completely destroyed. Furthermore, our logistics facility is located at the port itself so it literally crumbled to the ground, causing a major setup back to our international logistics operation.
And this is not to speak of the emotional damage caused. I remember reading a statement released on August 4 that read, “We’re all dead today. If it didn’t kill our bodies, it killed our hearts.” Nothing summed the sentiment better. The moment, I heard the news, I remember stumbling to call my parents, my inlaws, my friends to make sure they were alive. Never mind if their homes were destroyed, their memories buried. That all seemed trivial at the time.
And then, I began to feel an overwhelming sense of guilt for having been abroad. For having escaped the horror. For having the privilege to live in a non-toxic environment. For being able to actually live as opposed to just exist.
But then buried under a few weeks of disbelief, shock, bitterness, and helplessness, I uncovered a renewed sense of purpose.
Talk us through the creative process behind designing the new pieces.
Rula Galayini bags have typically had very discrete branding. Our aspiration was to create a strong aesthetic identity without the use of names, but rather through a visual language that became iconic to the brand.
When designing the new logo, I wanted to remain true to that. But since there lies heavy symbolism in this season’s story, having one letterform was key in kickstarting that conversation. The ‘R’ is highly stylized in a matter that is reminiscent of contemporary architecture, which is an infinite source of inspiration. Then came the notion of what the ideal material and finishing would be ideal. Ultimately, brass was chosen in a rich gold-plated coating. The base of the plaque is lackluster but then a glossy gold ‘R’ protrudes through as though to insinuate brighter days ahead.
Since we design for a diversity of markets, we wanted to ensure the specificity of our story resonated well on a global level. The last year has been a challenging, eye-opening year for all. Whether people restructured their priorities and lifestyles, there is an unprecedented sense of mindfulness that now consumed us as. And this is, no doubt, one of the silver linings that happened to us. To that end, we wanted our new pieces to facilitate a sense of control in today’s unpredictable world. Secondly, women are buying smarter so our new pieces are timeless and versatile to cover as many walks of life as possible.
What’s next for Rula Galayini the brand?
India has been the latest market for us to land in. We are really happy about that as we had noticed a growing popularity of our products among the young, fashion-forward Indian tourists visiting Dubai.
We’re also focusing more of our efforts on growing our e-commerce outreach and offering as well as creating a meaningful sense of community amongst our customers and fans.
We have also recently opened a B2B line of business where we provide retail consultancy services to both regional and international fashion and beauty brands, who inspire to create meaningful experiences.