Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Bonjour Beirut: Dina Khalifé’s playful silk prints

Note: this is the first of 8 posts on Lebanese designers and cool emerging labels I met/discovered on my trip back home. Knowing there are so many talents in Beirut I couldn’t reach while living abroad, was behind my inspiration to explore the emerging designers in what has quickly become my second home, Singapore.

I hope you enjoy this series and can see that regardless where you are in the world, there are some amazing talents out there who deserve to be known everywhere else. So keep reading and join me on this part of my journey which is very dear to my heart.

Dina Khalifé

Dina Khalifé's vibrant prints are just so charming!

Who knew that in my recent visit back home, I would find out that one of my dear university friends has recently launched a fashion label?

Dina was my classmate at university majoring in Graphic Design, and always had a thing for doodling and illustration. It seems she has finally found a way to bring her cute illustrations to life, through silk scarves, separates and enamel accessories.

Even before reading Dina’s name in the tag, I totally fell in love with the prints! Colourful, bold and childish in the right way, it was a combination of many things I love about fashion. Plus it’s spot on this summer’s mixed prints trend!

But that’s not all. Every print and illustration within Dina’s collections has a story behind it.
Her latest collection, ‘The Animal Parade’ which launched in April at Starch - Beirut’s slinky Boutique du Jour, run and curated by Rabih Keyrouz himself (the man who re-defined couture!) - is no exception.

Inspired by her trip to the beautiful Spanish island of Minorca, Dina created illustrations narrating a story of penguins, bears, giraffes and other animals enjoying their  this island on a fantasy journey.

Dina (right) showing a customer how to put on the scarf

Love this colourful mix of prints from Dina's collection

My standout piece was this blue silk top with the 'under the sun'
print showing the cute animals relaxing in the pool

Lobe the back detail!

Each stage of the trip is illustrated by one print, and you can see the story unfolding as you unfold the gorgeous scarves which contain the whole image and are Dina’s starting point in designing every collection.

One scarf shows the penguins and a bear sun-tanning on the sand, while a cute top shows the animals enjoying a swim. Others show the birds waiting for their friends to arrive, a couple of giraffes kissing in anticipation of their trip and many many more scenarios which are guaranteed to bring a smile to your face.

'Comtemplando el Beso' scarf showing the giraffe couple kissing

And finally on holiday! The animals enjoying some sun-tanning!
This scarf showing the illustration of the waiting birds is more subtle but as colourful

 Fun is definitely a big factor in what Dina does and her illustrations are a breath of fresh air with their charming child-like ‘naïve’ quality but still boasting extremely sophisticated finishing. They are meant to transport us to her world, a world of fantasy, cute animals and bugs who remind us of the innocence a lot of the fashion industry has lost.

Apart from scarves and tops, the collection includes dresses and skirts – all made in Italy due to the unavailability of this high standard of silk printing and finishing anywhere else around.
Dina also makes some of the cutest accessories I’ve seen! I especially love the ‘tanning penguins’ ring and necklace and the buttery leather pouches which match the theme.

Some of Dina Khalife’s collection is available online on and shipped worldwide. If you are interested in stocking this collection then please drop me a line at

Cute leather pouches to take on holiday...

And the penguins are just too cute as accessories!

The animal parade theme is still there in this skirt with yellow border

A detail from the 'el beso' or the kiss illustration on this top.

A more subtle print 'sand stripes' in form of a silk dress.