You’ve already stepped into the atelier’s of the 2017 DDFC/Vogue Fashion Prize ready-to-wear design finalists, Faissal El-Malak, Nour Najem, Lama Jouni, Latifa Al Gurg of Twisted Roots, and FMM Dubai’s Fatma Al Mulla. Now, it’s time to explore the workspace of the five accessories front-runners. Scroll down for your exclusive virtual tour of the brand’s studios to see how the designers bring their collections to life…
“Liudmila has no fixed atelier. My work, more often than not, is conducted on the plane or out of a hotel room somewhere between Kuwait, Milan, London, and Paris. Wherever I am, I mentally collect bits and pieces of objects, texts, people, and even a certain atmosphere that catches my attention. It all comes together before sketching time in this giant visual blender. Out of this chaotic overload, the collection is born. I make sure never to let the pressure of the job dull the sense of wonder I built the brand to inspire.
I work one-on-one with my pattern maker and shoemakers at the factory outside of Milan. I am on the factory floor once to twice a month going over the minutest details, from the color of the edge finishing to registering millimeter changes between eyelets on our technical sheets. Carlo and Gianni took a chance on me when I was just a twenty-two year old with a complicated vision and no clue what it took. They are like family to me now. Other factories would have rejected my designs outright due to their level of difficulty but they stuck with me through the ten months of endless modification until the debut of my first collection. They always tell me that however much my shoes are a pain in the neck, they are always glad to have made them once they see the finished product. I couldn’t imagine producing anywhere else. ”
“My atelier is located on the second floor of our boutique store in Downtown Beirut. It’s the place where ideas are born, designs are created, and meetings are held. I love the location of the atelier as I love connecting directly with the people that walk into the store to get their input on the designs, on the brand, on their interpretation of the collections. I love developing my ideas from a place where I can constantly connect, get inspired, and build on it with my team. The most important thing is to be in the heart of it all.
The process behind each collection starts with a need to express an idea which develops through brainstorming, research, mood boards, and rough sketches. I take one image that inspires me and evolve it to an actual unique practical bag. I pay attention to the architecture of the bag when it comes to proportions, symmetry, and geometrical shapes. When choosing the leather (which is locally sourced) I look for naturally dyed leather. In terms of colors I love working with classical earth tones like brown, black, blue, and green. I add other vibrant colors as a detail. Each color has a specific quality and meaning, and I mix them in different proportions together to bring out the beauty, and the contrast in each. In other collections I use softer and cooler hues that blend in to one another as well. Carton prototypes and cutouts are made with the craftsmen we work with. The craftsmen are highly skilled and talented and have been in the industry for a very long time. We challenge them with our unconventional designs and working with them has taught me a lot about the production bag process. Once I review prototype of the bag with the production team I give feedback to adjust sizes, design details, and functional aspects to bring to life.”
JOANNA LAURA CONSTANTINE
Joanna Laura Constantine
“The first piece that I created was a hammered earring with a chain fringe and matching necklace. I have greatly evolved since then, and today I make all kinds of striking pieces from my workshop in the district of Gemmayzeh, a fashionable area, full of vibrant life and dotted with art galleries, stunning buildings, and a sense of authenticity in Beirut. The workshop, set in a traditional Lebanese apartment with high ceilings and mosaic-tiled floors, harbors a lot of inspiring outlines, and is home to a team of artisans who work meticulously and passionately on my creations. Everything is a product of love and made by hand, using semiprecious stones to produce jewelry pieces that are outstanding on every level. I feel blessed to work with a team with extensive experience. Together we make signature statement pieces that sit alongside the very best of international design and yet are both affordable and available.”
HOOKED | HKD
“The idea or form of a product stays in my head for the longest time. It’s deeply rooted in tribal and bedouin jewelry and sci-fi architectural references. I create iterations of it in my head and procrastinate production until I can’t anymore and have reached my deadline, then I quickly manifest it into a final sketch, prototype, and then product. If I’m going to put forth a collection it has to say something new and different in today’s market yet be rooted in the past and be relevant to the future.”
ALIA BIN OMAIR
Alia Bin Omair
“I am a member at Tashkeel. I do my production from there sometimes when I want to do some experimenting. I would say people are very curious when they walk into my studio. I used to have palm fiber everywhere and a chair I made from clay and leather.