Showing posts with label lebanon. Show all posts
Showing posts with label lebanon. Show all posts

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Bonjour Beirut: Falamank does vintage, modern and antique jewellery like no one else…

As someone with eclectic taste in fashion, I rarely make big definitive statements about my style. But here is one which I’m sure will be true for a long long time to come: if I had to choose only one jeweller to wear their pieces for the rest of my life, it has to be fellow Lebanese designer Tarfa Itani of Falamank.

I hear you ask what about my love for antique jewellery? Well, the best part is that Tarfa makes her own designs AND picks some amazing antique jewellery from around the world to sell or even transform into statement pieces without undermining or ruining their appeal.

I was first introduced to Tarfa’s work just over two years ago on my wedding day, when my fashionista extraordinaire cousin gifted me a delicate gold and diamond bracelet, featuring a flying dove. I instantly fell in love with it as it was something I would pick for myself and naturally I decided to find out more about this Beirut-based label and catch up with the designer for this blog.

An exceptional pendant from Falamank's Mosaic collection...  
'Omri' ring: Arabic for 'My life' as in 'sweetheart', how sweet is that?

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Bonjour Beirut: Sarah's Bag 2013 collection

If you're a regular reader of this blog then you probably know by now that if I'm a big fan of one designer or label, I'm not shy to shout out loud about it. Not just once, but twice and a dozen times if I feel it deserves to.

And this is specifically why I'm posting again about my favourite Lebanese label Sarah's Bag who not just only makes gorgeous clutches and accessories but does that for a good cause as well.

I think I've already said enough about how much I admire Sarah's Bag and its founder and creative director Sarah Beydoun so you can read all about her mission and how she started the label in this previous post.

But today, I just wanted to share with you some of the snaps I took in the label's gorgeous Beirut showroom housed in a French colonial building in the city's historic Rue du Liban (Lebanon street).

I'm in love with this stunning leather clutch and its zips details! Amazing how Sarah's Bag
has been evolving its designs to come up with such creative and chic pieces as well as
crafty ones.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Bonjour Beirut: Bling with Style at Cream Boutique

For the past couple of months, I’ve been highlighting some of the new Lebanese designers who have drifted away from the bling and taken a whole different and more understated approach to fashion, even couture. But that doesn't mean Beirut bling is dead!

Just step into one of the super hip boutiques around downtown and Saifi village (where my dream apartment would be one day!) and you’ll probably need to keep your shades on. Neon, crystals and gold everywhere from accessories to clothing – only it is more on the funky side than tacky.

One of the coolest shops around is Cream – a place for those who are not afraid to stand out and want something bold, trendy and a little quirky. Best of all, most of the stocks are by Lebanese brands who have taken in the footsteps of other successful labels like Sarah’s Bag and started producing cool accessories even if not with the same level of sophistication.

Bling bling everywhere... Cream is full of everything fun and colourful!

Love the location in Saifi Village in downtown Beirut!

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Bonjour Beirut: Malaika Najem’s Unconventional, Raw and Beautiful Jewellery

If you ask anyone the words you’re least likely to hear when discussing fashion in Beirut – ‘raw’ or ‘urban’ will be top of the list.

For such a gritty environment (and Beirut often defines the concept of raw) there is an almost escapist obsession with being refined and polished. Quite often to an extreme.

Even away from the fashion scene you’ll find architecture that involves plastering new facades over historical buildings and the famous Lebanese look (never leave the house without makeup, bling or a blow dry, what surgery can I do this year...)

Yep, Lebanese people are known for their seeking of what they see as aesthetic perfection. And its no wonder Kim Kardashian is such a hit over there.

Raw, ethnic and intruiging... Malaika's work is not your average
style of jewellery, especially not in Lebanon!

 You can multiply that by 1 million when it comes to fashion - just look at the breakout labels that come from Beirut. Nothing but glamour in the form of Elie Saab, Zuhaair Murad and Basil Soda.

So when I stumbled upon Malaika Najem’s work, the epitomy of raw and unfinished, I was more than a little surprised.

Malaika is a jewellery designer whose work is all about the core rather than the perfectly polished exterior. she definitely is a breath of fresh air in a country stifled by a narrow fashion perspective.

The beautiful and charming Malaika, bringing some depth to the overly
polished fashion scene in Beirut.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Bonjour Beirut: Missak HajiAvedikian’s fun take on couture

What happens when you mix, great couture aesthetics, strong heritage influence and a hint of fun together? You get Beirut’s newest  enfant terrible Missak HajiAvedikian.

The minute I entered the Armenian Lebanese designer’s showroom in the middle of the hussly bussly Armenian center I knew I was getting something different, more authentic and candid in a way.

Missak has a great sense of humour which translates even in his most dressy gowns. He does fashion for fun and you can see it through the feathers, unusual bird cage silhouettes and scattered laser-cut butterflies. He is not one to shy away from drama or experiment and this is exactly why I fell in love with his avant-garde designs.

It's obvious when you see Missak's playful creations that he has a
lot of fun making them. I love this dress!!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Bonjour Beirut: Sarah’s Bag combines cool with a cause

Every fashion brand longs to have at least three things. A coveted line that achieves cult status quickly, celebrity endorsement and a back story that gives people a reason to talk about the brand.

So when you hit all three effortlessly, you know you’re doing something right.

And that’s where Sarah’s Bag comes in. This is an accessories label that is little known outside of the Middle East, but something of a phenomena inside it.

I personally love them, and whenever I go out in Singapore sporting a Sarah’s Bag I get asked about it. So while they might be anonymous over in Asia, it’s going to become my mission to change that.

Sarah's Bag handbags
Gorgeous hand-made creations from Sarah's Bag...

Monday, 30 April 2012

Bonjour Beirut: Introducing Singapore to Lebanese labels

Bonjour my Singapore friends!

As you know I have been back home in Lebanon for the past fortnight. But that doesn't mean the fashion wheel stopped turning.

As well as updating my blog, I've been catching up on the latest labels and trends from back home. Once I'm back I'll post a weekly series on Beirut's hottest labels. Hopefully it will be of interest to you all!

As a starter, I'll just do a few introductory sentences - with some photos of course - to show you what's in store and to compel you to keep watching. Kind of like those ads for the terrible movies on Channel 5, but with fewer CGI giant sharks.

I'll start with Sarah's Bag. This label is a phenomenon in the Middle East and I think it would go down a storm in Singapore. It's being carried by all the famous Arab celebs including Queen Rania of Jordan.

Python skin Sarah's Bag
Sarah's bag is a Lebanese success story, handmade bags with a wonderful backstory

There is a beautiful story behind the label which I'll share with you when I post. It's certainly not your ordinary fashion brand. In the meantime here is a picture of one of their latest bags inspired by Africa. Hot right?

On the other hand, Azzi and Osta are some of the new hot designers in Lebanon, making custom pieces from pret-a-porter to couture style. They're inspired by vintage cuts and their work is a world away from the Zuhair Murad style of overstated glamour. I've spoken to the designers and will be featuring the label in the blog soon.

As incubators go, Singapore has tonnes of enthusiasm but not quite so much know how. I think the powers that be could learn a lot from Starch, Lebanon's version of ParcoNEXTnext if you like.

Azzi and Osta - I wanted to steal this dress and smuggle it to Singapore!!

With designers Malaika and Dina Khalife at the opening of Starch Boutique

Dina Khalife's printed scarves - even my old classmate is a fashion designer now!
The project was conceived and started by one of Lebanon's most celebrated designers (which I guess gives you a clue as to why it works so well) Rabih Kayrouz. So it's lovely to see that once these guys hit the big time and start dressing A-listers, they don't forget where they came from.

I attended the re-opening of the space last week and it was an eye-opener, I'll be writing about new designers such as Malaika who does amazing contemporary accessories focusing on raw material and unusual technique and Dina Khalife, who was my classmate throughout university and is now producing scarves, tops, dresses and skirts in her amazing original prints.

There will be other things to come to - but I'll leave you with a nice family photo of my beautiful sister Ghenwa. Just to prove that huge hair runs in the family ;-)

It's been wonderful spending time back in Beirut, but I'm really looking forward to getting back to Singapore this week. So many events and so much to write about it seems!! I've missed you!!

Super curly sisters. Me and my sister Ghenwa relaxing at her place in Beirut