The fashion desk is a busy, often hectic place to work with look books piling up as the anticipation for the seasonal switch builds. During the September fashion weeks, team Vogue Arabia will review the Spring 2018 ready-to-wear collections, but here on Vogue.me we keep one stiletto close to terra firma while still looking ahead. In a world saturated with style, it takes a lot to make fashion’s heart beat that little bit faster, but this look book had just that affect. Enter couturier Saiid Kobeisy’s Fall 2017 Couture collection campaign previewed here on Vogue.me.
Kobeisy’s take on Fall is nothing short of a nautical fairytale that will elevate your wardrobe to instant greatness. Each look has the wow-factor that the Lebanese designer’s loyal clientele lust after. With stores in Beirut, Dubai, Kuwait, Michigan, and LA, his growing number of fans will soon reach across the globe. We speak to the rising star about personal stye, the Saiid woman, and success.
What is your signature touch that can be found on each of your designs?
“Light structured dresses, high collars, playing on volumes, with a touch of gold, and ivory cream colors.”
Describe the women you design for.
“She’s a confident woman who likes to take care of herself, to assert herself, yet she is sensual and feminine. She concentrates on what she wants to highlight in her silhouette rather than to seek at all costs to mask this or that part of her anatomy. She’s not afraid to leave her mark and she never goes unnoticed.”
Being a fashion designer was your childhood dream. How did it come true?
“My father had a boutique for evening gowns. When I was a teenager, whenever I had a free moment, I used to intervene with the customers to give them the advice that I thought was appropriate. It was my passion. I had an eye for it, as they say. I did not want to do anything else in life. I studied fashion design and when I felt ready, I started my own couture house.”
What is the future of the couture industry?
“In my opinion, couture collections aren’t trend-driven but consist of timeless creations carefully hand-crafted by skilled artisans. They unite fashion and fantasy because they aren’t necessarily created to be consumed. However, the industry is at risk of becoming a dying art form and there is a need for revival.
“I see the concept of the ‘fashion trend’ losing importance as the idea of ‘personal style’ takes its place.
“As fashion coverage migrates online, collections become universal one day, and gone the next. The increasing speed of consumption challenges the couture industry, because the depth of detail in couture pieces isn’t meant to be appreciated instantaneously. The importance of personal style and uniqueness is gaining a lot of momentum thanks to the internet.”
What is your biggest achievement in fashion?
“My biggest achievement is yet to come. You will hear about it hopefully soon.”
What inspired your couture Fall 2017 collection?
“Following the previous collection, inspired by the [ancient Greek] Goddess Athena and my interest in different cultures, I was searching for a new destination to be inspired by. Athens was still in my mind, something about the structure of the palaces, that always catches my eyes. After different approaches with new themes, one dream made the cut. Atlantis, a [mythical] utopian lostGreek city under the Atlantic Ocean. The catching point was: is it real? Does it really exist? Atlantis gave me the leverage of working, not only with locations and cultures, but also with myths, fantasy, and everything else that might not seem real to the eyes.”
Can you name the last three books you read?
“I wish I had more time to read. I’ve recently been flipping through the pages of a book entitled ‘Rest’ by Alex Soojung-Kim Pang. It’s about getting more work done by working less. In our busy lives, rest is defined by the absence of work, but in this book the author explains about ‘active rest’ which means doing activities while resting and not necessarily sleeping or watching TV. Dismissing rest suppresses our ability to think creatively and truly recharge. So I’m definitely trying to fit in some ‘deliberate rest’ in my schedule.”
What kind of music do you listen to when you work?
“Music is part of the daily routine in our atelier. Background music never stops playing and it usually starts with Feirouz early morning then baroque music, which I believe stimulates creativity and brain activity. I enjoy tunes with a touch of ethnic world-music flavor.
“In the afternoon, it switches to playlists of soft-rock and up-beat smooth-jazz selected by the team, kind of a ‘listener’s choice’ segment.”
Describe your favorite place to work in your studio.
“Definitely the studio room, surrounded by the mood boards, fabric samples, colors, and accessories and my dedicated and inspiring team of stylists.”
Who is your favorite fashion photographer?
“Each photographer has his/her own vision and interpretation when it comes to the theme of the collection and the brand brief. So I can’t really mention a favorite one. However, I believe we have many talented photographers in the Arab world that have become international, and I tend to encourage them by assigning my projects to them.”
Where is your go-to spot for inspiration in Beirut?
“Honestly, my atelier.”
Where do you see your brand in five years?
“The pace of fashion design is being forced to change. Customers want immediate access to new collections, ideally at price points they can afford. We have to adapt to that like we have had to adapt to other media. We want to be closer to our customers and cater to the most sophisticated woman in a timely manner without losing our edge. So in five years, we should hopefully have Saiid Kobeisy showrooms in the top five cities in the world.”
The maison of Saiid Kobeisy is soon to launch its new website, but in the meantime you can contact the atelier via this email address: firstname.lastname@example.org