Moroccan-born, New York-based designer Youssef Lahlou launched his namesake brand in January 2017; within three days, the collection was on the Vogue Arabia radar. Name-checking Alexander McQueen as his design influence and his childhood in Casablanca as a constant creative reference point, the accessories designer merges high octane jewelry and millinery, offering up three handmade hat designs laden with 24k gold. Lahlou speaks to the fashion desk about his creative process, and discusses how to wear hats in today’s look-at-me world of hyper-visible fashion trends.
Is your brand targeted at hat aficionados?
I truly think that anyone can rock a hat, there’s no such thing as being a “hat person.” My hats are unique but that was my goal.
Your brand launched a week ago; how was that day?
I was excited and nervous. After working on a project for so long, knowing that your brand is finally about to launch is a big weight off your shoulders, but a scary moment as well. You never know how people are going to react to your art, but whatever the reaction is, as long as you’ve been true to your vision then that’s all that matters.
Which A-listers would you love to see in your hats?
Pharrell Williams and Lady Gaga.
In ten years’ time, what do you hope to have on your fashion CV?
I hope the Youssef Lahlou brand will expand and not only make hats, [but also] shoes, bags, even furniture… why not? I would love to do it all. I like to think that I’m an artist who can express himself through different platforms. I don’t like to limit myself.
Do you think the styles of East and West are meeting?
I think my pieces don’t necessarily belong to [any] particular cultural style. I like to think that they are timeless and can be worn by anyone, whether you are from Dubai or New York.
What is your design process ?
Some of my hats took 12 months to make. It truly depends on the design, but let’s take the Cranium Collection as an example. My hats are made the old-fashioned way, [by hand blocking]; we don’t mass produce, each one is made by hand.
Youssef Lahlou can be shipped to all Middle Eastern countries via www.yousseflahlou.com. Prices starting from US $785 AED/SAR 2945.