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The StyleForum Runway & High Fashion Thread - Page 51

post #751 of 1125
Quote:
Originally Posted by the shah View Post

frankly I don't care about a designer's politics, I don't buy stuff because I am ideologically aligned with someone I buy it if it works with my vague, fuzzy idea of an aesthetic portrait I aim for. Just because he supports lazy folks at OWS and is opposed to the teachings of physics when it comes to nuclear energy doesn't translate much into my perception of his clothes, or at least how I'd wear them. I can still be an antiquarian imperialist with a nice top hat and vest with buttons originating from different factories I rule over ... and I don't have to subscribe to hippie Buddhist LSD abuse to enjoy Damir's orientalist pipe dreams (actually I know little of his politics, except that it involves listening to classical music) but I can still incorporate it into my closet.
It just looks good to me (in a Dickensian way), construction and attention to detail is obviously there, and there's a story behind each creation which adds a pinch of uniqueness.


to me the designers' personality is a central aspect of how i perceive a brand, especially with small independet eponymous labels like damir, raf, dries etc.
i always read interviews, and when i dislike what they say or how they behave, i get less interested in the clothes they sell.
post #752 of 1125
i would feel the same way about choosing to buy from a butcher based on his views on Kantian ethics or asking if Larry Page believes in evolution before I sign up for gmail account
post #753 of 1125
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by the shah View Post

i would feel the same way about choosing to buy from a butcher based on his views on Kantian ethics or asking if Larry Page believes in evolution before I sign up for gmail account

 

I don't really care personally (I mean I try not to buy from places like H&M but that's because I'm directly supporting a shitty business model so it's different) but this isn't really a fair comparison - one is art/self-expression and the other is not.  A better comparison would be not liking a musician because you don't like his views, which I think is fairly common yea?

post #754 of 1125

I'm very much in agreement with Zeemon on this; my enjoyment of and interest in brands with a figurehead is in no small part derived from how much I empathize with that person. If designers wish to keep their private lives private and separate from their line I am in total support, but the second they bring it up in an interview or post-show tweet or whatever it is something I take into consideration before investing time/money into the brand.

post #755 of 1125
my tailor is a racist homophobe (and hates the West)...but he's really actually kind of a nice guy and does good work..............
post #756 of 1125

The way I look at it there are enough people out there with views I'm not vehemently opposed to who are just as appealing aesthetically or not as obnoxious with their proselytizing, so may as well support them instead.

post #757 of 1125
oh. i don't know many good tailors
post #758 of 1125
Quote:
Originally Posted by the shah View Post

i would feel the same way about choosing to buy from a butcher based on his views on Kantian ethics or asking if Larry Page believes in evolution before I sign up for gmail account
Quote:
Originally Posted by KingJulien View Post

I don't really care personally (I mean I try not to buy from places like H&M but that's because I'm directly supporting a shitty business model so it's different)

H&M is a brilliant business model. Business is about making money.

The only way you can change a landscape (that is, if you're not happy about it) is to make choices as a consumer.

But yeah, I agree with KJ it's not a fair comparison.
post #759 of 1125
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by hendrix View Post

H&M is a brilliant business model. Business is about making money.
The only way you can change a landscape (that is, if you're not happy about it) is to make choices as a consumer.
But yeah, I agree with KJ it's not a fair comparison.

 

'Shitty' is not an antonym to 'clever.'  Walmart also has a brilliant model that's incredibly shitty.  H&M creates insane amounts of unnecessary waste by producing cheap trendy shit that nobody really needs that ends up in a landfill within a year.

post #760 of 1125
yeah I know what you meant.

There's a backlash against consumer conscience which is kinda understandable given the amount of wank and bullshit that people put into it, but I think it's also kinda ignorant to suggest that we shouldn't have any conscience when making purchases. There's no incentive for a business to be ethical unless the consumers themselves make these choices.
post #761 of 1125
there seems to be confusion. ethical business practices is not the same as a person's individual ideology though of course it can spill into the other. chickfillet serves crap indiscriminately to anyone who walks in--gay, straight, bi. whatever--despite the owners holding very conservative views on marriage applying only to heteros. a complete opposite extreme, microsoft engaged in some very hostile corporate tactics, tried to create a monopoly and succeeded to a good extent in 90s and 2000s, yet Bill Gates is one of the greatest philanthropists and wants to impart his ethos to his kids by giving them only a million each, donating the rest (only is relative, since they could be getting a trillion billion or whatever)

i forgot where i was going with that, but my point is a personal interview is nothing but collective patting on the back by photographers and writers pretending to be in the field of journalism, finding excuses and funds to go chill with designers at parties. or perhaps a shoot for advertising which is a $2trill/yr industry, gotta compete. very rarely does anything meaningful come out of it, though there are some with good insights.

* * *

shuddup shah , moar interviews !!!






Me and Damir got to know each others in Paris a couple of years ago, in Fabruari when I finally had Robz
with me the three of us hooked up. It all summed up with an interview in, yeah, INTERVIEW MAGAZINE
(Deutche Edition - Gina, Pick it up!) between the two, so me, R and Damir met up in Berlin in May to do this
shoot together with photographer Benjamin Huseby. Some behind the scenes images below; to be continued!


* * *

Something good from DvN
Quote:


Dries Van Noten's company is located in a five-storey former warehouse in the old port of the city of Antwerp. It is here that precious works of art were stored and protected during the Second World War. Once a down-at-heel wilderness, "full of crumbling buildings, this place was old and neglected", as the designer puts it, since Van Noten's arrival at the turn of the millennium, the district has become a fashionable marina complete with quayside museum, bustling cafés and more. To be honest, he adds, he doesn't actually like it as much as he once did. "Now it's a bit too clean for me. I prefer a scruffy atmosphere," he says. Authenticity is a very important word in Van Noten's world.

From the top floor of the by now lovingly restored and quietly impressive place the views over the city, including the famous cathedral with the Rubens' altarpiece, are spectacular. This particular area is reserved for buying appointments and all of that profession who attend can expect to be served with traditional Flemish fare – meatloaf with cherries and roast potatoes, to be precise. Much of the raw structure of the building has been preserved and it is furnished by an eclectic mix of antiques. Van Noten is an avid collector and so, when the Antwerp courts of justice chose to rid themselves of any original 1930s fixtures and fittings, for example, he was only too happy to take these items off their hands. There's a black, high-shine 1960s sofa here, oil-painted portraits of King Baudouin and Queen Fabiola of Belgium in gilded frames there, all of which form a perfectly harmonious and relatively domestic counterpoint to a sense of industry and modernity that is also very much in evidence throughout.

On the third floor, bolts of fabric from past seasons are piled up on shelves alongside zips, buttons and labels. Van Noten's labels are distinctive, as the size of the garment is printed beneath his name. Although the complex nature of his design process renders his twice-yearly collections more difficult than most to copy, the archive is a precious commodity and is closely guarded for that. It is testimony to the fact that Van Noten's rise to success was a gradual one that it dates back no further than the mid-Nineties. Until that point, and still struggling to make ends meet, he paid his models in clothes, as was the custom with any up-and-coming name worth his or her credentials at the time. On the second floor, the newly arrived (and vast) spring/summer collection hangs in polythene wraps and is subjected to rigorous quality control before being shipped around the world to upwards of 500 points of sale.

Van Noten's office and studio is on the fourth floor. He's dressed today in smart blue chinos and sweater (I am reliably informed that he doesn't wear jeans) and is kept company by his dog, Harry, a magnificent Airedale terrier with a butch bark and a gait like a prima ballerina, all out-turned toes. "Harry is a lot of work," Van Noten says. On weekdays and when he doesn't have the run of the designer's famously lovely garden at his 19th-century home on the outskirts of the city, Harry has his own unusually glamorous dog walker.

It's more than 30 years since Van Noten founded his business. With a turnover estimated at around 50 million euros a year, it is a minor miracle that the label remains entirely independent and ultimately under the control of this unassuming and highly civilised man. In the last decade of the 20th century, when corporate superpowers were snapping up each and every designer name they could get their hands on, Van Noten resisted the temptation to play along, although "I thought at certain points that was maybe the way to go, that that was the future. The big groups weren't only buying labels but also all the factories. Our shoes were made in Italy. The heel manufacturer was sold to Gucci, I think, the last manufacturer to the Prada Group and the producer itself was bought by Armani. My most important yarn suppliers were also bought by Prada. And it's still like that at least some of the time." In the end, though, "that's not my way of doing things. I like to choose my own way forward. I really do want to create something that I personally like a lot."

For similar reasons, Van Noten doesn't design a pre-collection or any subsidiary lines, preferring instead to concentrate on two ready-to-wear collections for both men and women a year, all four of which he shows in Paris. "For me, the show is the only moment when I can tell my story," he says. "It's the way I communicate my ideas to the world." The collections are expansive in that they include both high-end and entry-point pieces.

"For me personally, there's too much fashion around in this world," Van Noten says – not something one might expect to hear from the mouth of a fashion designer. "There are too many images, too many impressions and the danger is that the whole thing is lost in one big blur. That's a pity. Before you had only images from ready-to-wear designers, now there's Topshop, Diesel... Everyone does fashion shows and produces imagery that is as strong as possible, just to attract attention. In the past, it was twice a year for men and twice a year for women and then there was couture. It was far more definite and there was breathing space in between."

Given that today's industry is notoriously driven by money-spinning accessories, it is equally remarkable that less than 10 per cent of this designer's business is based on those. "I'm a fashion designer, not a shoe designer," he says by way of explanation. "I like to design clothes. It seems strange to me that people buy a whole outfit in a high-street store, but they still have very expensive shoes. OK, shoes and bags are important but not so important. The whole thing, the combination of all the elements, is important." Van Noten chooses not to advertise or bombard celebrities with his designs, although he has dressed Cate Blanchett and Maggie Gyllenhaal for the red carpet. "Who are the clothes for?" he wonders. "It is challenging to create clothes for people who perhaps don't have the perfect body, who aren't a size 38, and to put those into the collection too. Why not? It's a real world out there."

We are talking today about his offering for his spring/summer collection, currently flying out of stores, and something of a departure from Van Noten's signature, more ethnically-informed work. Now, as always, however, the fabrics take precedence, providing the starting point for the collection – although never at the expense of the silhouette, which is just as considerate of its wearer's needs as it always has been.

"The idea was to find things that were aesthetically interesting but which have no connection with fashion at all," the designer says. "I thought: 'What would happen if we use elements on garments that were not created to be printed on garments?'." Van Noten looked at technical drawings of butterfly wings from the 17th century and at 18th-century black-and-white etchings of landscapes. "What's on the etchings? A lake and some houses. So, OK, that's the way they used to do it, now let's look at the modern way of doing it. So we have water from the 18th century and we have 21st-century water, too."

Then there's his collaboration with the photographer James Reeve to consider – Van Noten first came across his work at the Hyères International Fashion and Photography Festival in 2010 when he was president of the fashion side of the event, which is aimed at nurturing young talent. "He obviously has a completely different way of looking at cities," Van Noten says. Reeve's night-time images of everything from London's Albert Bridge to the casinos of Las Vegas have a similar quality to that seen when flying over urban spaces at night. Applied to clothing, at first sighting each piece appears to be scattered with tiny jewels. It is only when looked at more carefully that these patterns reveal themselves to be figurative. "We had to find a balance between the prints and achieving a garment that is nice to look at and, especially, nice to wear."

You do indeed, but there is something uplifting about wearing an oversized cotton dress or vest that turns out to be printed with blue sea, green palm fronds or ancient black-and-white sycamore trees – or indeed all of these things at the same time. "The danger with prints like these is that we would end up with very simple sack shapes – you can't use too many seams," Van Noten says. The solution? The cut of the garment looks to mid-20th-century Spanish and Italian haute couture – and to Balenciaga especially – for inspiration. "French couture at that period was very Cardin and Courrèges," Van Noten explains. "Whereas in Spanish and Italian couture it was more about lace and about ruffles – olé, olé! – and I like that much better."

Dries Van Noten was born in Antwerp in 1958. His grandfather was proprietor of a men's ready-to-wear clothing store in the city. His father was responsible for a larger designer clothing boutique in its suburbs. "It was a completely new concept," Van Noten remembers. "Until that point, all the stores were in the city centre. This was destination shopping ... on a Saturday people would drive to the store. It was menswear, womenswear, childrenswear, there were small fashion shows every weekend." Van Noten's elder brother and two sisters were at university studying by this point, so he used to join his father after school and do his homework there. His mother also owned a clothing store and collected antique linen and lace. "During the school holidays, I accompanied my parents on buying trips to Milan, Florence and Paris," Van Noten says. It is fair to say, then, that fashion is in his blood.

By the time he was 18, in 1976, Van Noten was ready to enter the prestigious Royal Academy of Fine Arts in his home town and to undertake the rigorous fashion course there presided over by the infamous Mme Prigot. "She thought that long hair for girls was untidy, that they had to have a chignon, or she just took them to the hairdresser's herself and paid for them to have it cut off. Oh, and she didn't like knees," says Van Noten now. "She thought the only good fashion designer in the world was Coco Chanel. It was the end of the 1970s. It was punk. Of course, when you have that many restrictions you rebel against them and that makes things quite interesting.

It is the stuff of legend that, with Ann Demeulemeester, Dirk Van Saene, Dirk Bikkembergs, Marina Yee and Walter Van Beirendonck, Van Noten formed the Antwerp Six, perhaps safe in the knowledge that few outside their native country would remember, or even be able to pronounce, their individual names. In 1986, and with Van Noten having worked as a freelance designer since graduating in 1980, they drove their collections to London in a van and took the biannual collections in the British capital by storm. They were all completely different, both personally and professionally, of course, but they shared a belief that it was possible to break from tradition and to create innovative fashion without outside financial support. It says something of those involved that, to varying degrees, they went on to do just that. Although Van Noten remains friends with most of his contemporaries, he brushes off any suggestion that there is a shared Belgian aesthetic. "But we maybe do look more at clothes piece by piece. That's why shops can easily sell Belgian designers, because they can mix their clothes with other things."

Van Noten's own pragmatic approach is certainly refreshing. "Doing only the creative part of the job would be boring," he says. "In the end, it's all part of the same thing. What's the point of designing something if afterwards you don't know whether it sold? It's not that if something sells really well we're going to repeat it, because everyone who wanted to buy it has done so already and will want to move on to something else. But it keeps me in touch. I keep in mind what people want and maybe also why they want it. Did other countries buy it? Yes, no. Why did a collection not sell very well in one country when it sold fairly well in another? Maybe the balance of certain shapes wasn't right, the volumes were too oversized or not oversized enough. It's interesting. I like to look at that."

Van Noten says that he is, for the most part, left alone when out and about in his home town. "People recognise me but not too much. I'm more recognised when I walk around in Tokyo or Hong Kong than I am here. And that's good because I'm not really a big fan of that. I like to have my own life. I have my house. I am able to do things I like to do which are not always the most fashionable..." He lives with his long-time partner, Patrick Vangheluwe, and they work together, too. Cooking and gardening are both high on their list of favourite pastimes.

"I think it's the dream of every fashion designer to have six months off," Van Noten says. "To have a sabbatical just once because it all goes so fast. But that's impossible. I'm forced to think about the future because I have a responsibility to the people who work for me and who have been working here for 10 years, as well as to the people who open stores and to suppliers. We have a few thousand people working for us in India who do the embroideries, for example, so I have to make sure that every season I sell so many pieces of embroidery that represent so many hours of work..."

Although Van Noten travels frequently, he's as likely to spend the summer driving around the northern English countryside as fly off to anywhere more obviously exotic. He has spoken in the past of his clothes being inspired "by travel of the mind". Of Paris, where he has a second office and showroom, he says: "I'm always very happy to go to Paris but I'm always, also, very happy to leave. Paris is a city where you need a lot of energy to survive."

Dries Van Noten is Antwerp's most successful designer. His stand-alone store on a corner at the city's centre, around a 15-minute walk from his office headquarters, is a destination for local residents – who queue round the block each time a new collection arrives – and tourists alike. It's an elegant space where staff are attentive and well-informed but never intrusive.

"Antwerp is a very easy city to live in, I think," the designer says. It helps that it is lovely to look at, too. As so too are Dries Van Noten's clothes. They are a multi-faceted, cultural and philosophical reflection of one another in more ways than one. Above all, though, both are somehow modest – this is neither a city nor a fashion designer that likes things loud.

"I don't really want to make clothes that shout," Van Noten says. "I think the people who buy our clothes are quite individual. They're not buying them because they want the label or because they want people to admire that label. They're buying them because they like them."

MODEL: LEAH DE WAVRIN AT IMG

MAKE-UP: EMMA MILES USING JAPONESQUE

HAIR: CHRISTOPHER SWEENEY AT DWM USING BUMBLE &BUMBLE

PHOTOGRAPHER’S ASSISTANT: JED SKRZYPCZAK

ALL CLOTHES FROM THE DRIES VAN NOTEN SPRING/SUMMER COLLECTION, AVAILABLE FROM HARVEY NICHOLS, HARVEYNICHOLS.COM; SELFRIDGES, SELFRIDGES.COM; AND BROWNS, BROWNSFASHION.COM.

ALL SUNGLASSES DRIES VAN NOTEN BY LINDA FARROW, LINDAFARROW.CO.UK
post #762 of 1125

So just discovered this blog: http://musingsofbuffyleigh.blogspot.com/ - great mix of independent designers and high fashion, and good commentary on lots of it. If you've enjoyed this thread you'll definitely enjoy her posts.

post #763 of 1125
Exclusive: Le Paradox meets Ria Dunn





Quote:
In the reign of abandoned things, you need a particular intelligence to look at the ideas buried by the ruins of time and bring to light unborn thoughts. Ria Dunn, creator of the label Lost & Found Ria Dunn, has the ability to pick up with her own hands dusty memories, rediscovering their forgotten meaning, to transform it into aseasonal and refined clothes through extremely innovative techniques and finishings. With focus, her gaze travels through past and future, carefully interpretating traditions and working it with experimental suggestions. A raw instinctiveness drives the meeting of these different temporalities with a, tactile, material, approach full of feelings that you can actually perceive in the end garment. She re-shapes fabric and construction, respecting their history and tracing for them a visionary and ephemeral future, which takes place in the daily life of the wearer.

Ria, how do you describe your own idea of “time” ?

Time is Fleeting.

There is never enough of it… and it all goes so fast….

Im not quite in harmony with this concept yet… but i’ll get there.

What kind of relationship you have with our contemporary society?


It is a love and hate dynamic. I love people, I love a lot of the things that we have the potential to create…. But often I’m extremely disappointed by the things we actually do achieve, or more precisely do not achieve, as a whole.

I suppose “contemporary society” would be like an old friend that i see from time to time… It is important for me to hear what this “friend“ has to say… the newness, the developments. I think it is really important to know what is happening around the world, whether it be art, politics, culture etc…. But at the same time, I often feel the need to be away from so much information.. so many people, and so many mixed up ideas.

I return back to my simple place.. where I enjoy my family and my studio in the middle of no where.., my garden and things that are more basic.

In the age of mechanical reproduction, What does innovation mean to you?


Innovation is really about working around typical boundaries I think. Understanding something completely enough to be able to approach it in a totally different way and to push through an evolution of that idea.

Could you explain how your thoughts and emotions imbue fabrics; how they physically evolve into real and functional objects…


Quite simply I follow the sensations that I have.. it is an instinctive process.. Do I want to create warmth… lightness… contrast.. do I want to create a particular sound when one walks? And often there is not a lot of sense in the beginning. I go through a lot of tests of the base fabrics. I experiment with different weaving techniques and different materials. I then dye and experiment with the finishings… until I have arrived to where I can really feel the story.. When the fabric speaks that much, the creation of the objects are much easier because there is no need to force concepts as the fabrics already speak about what it needs to be. It is not always the rule, but in general my process is like this.

What are the things you consider first in conceiving the form of a garment?


I have quite a lot of dialogue with my garments…

The conception and final result of a garment must be captivating and intreguing .. ? It must speak of an emotion, a story or a tradition…..BUT it also needs to be practical.. Is that a garment that can have a REAL life?…… can you work in it, and play in it? My aim is to create treasured things… to create beauty and curiosity that is relevent in a life. The biggest compliment I can have is garments worn down to bare threads because it has been worn to death.

Speaking about the whole creative process, does it all come naturally or do you also do research work?


I think I would be extremely arrogant to say that it all comes naturally.!

The creative process for me is both things… i need to follow my natural instincts and listen to my own creative voice and most importantly to trust it. But the research is also fundamental. There is so much history that has happened before me and I think that I would seriously limit my work if I did not look closely into parts of the past, whether it be in a old construction technique, an old finishing on fabrics or a philosophy behind a type of dress… research is always essential even if there is a natural process to my creativity that needs to be followed.

In your pieces the traditional meets the modern, the decay is developed as a new form of “imperfect” beauty, the raw nature is blended with the urban. What makes possible this unique synthesis of contrasts?


I think it is a combination of so many elements that it can be hard to sum up quickly. It is all about the right combination, a fine balance between the materials and the sensations that it gives you, the cut and the proportions, the simplicity and the innovation, the effortlessness against the well conceived… and that all happens I think because I really study the thing… I put my head in the process and I dont get out of it until it’s right. I am following my instincts and trust myself to know when to stop or when to keep pushing.

How did the idea to start also a unisex children’s line came about?


I have two children and it changed the way I see a lot of things. I wanted to be able to have things for them that echoed my ideas that I had developed for the men’s and woman’s line… and on the contrary, special things can still be found out there for adults, but for children it is really hard. The majority of things are really sporty and cheaply done. I wanted my kids to be dressed in a different way…so I began to make clothes for them.

Could you please share something on the development of your upcoming collection?


I have just finished the Woman’s Spring Collection which I will be presenting in Paris. The fabrics are really sensual and architectural. I worked with more structured shapes contrasted against a lot of fluidity.. I really wanted to focus on a very empowered woman.. a very strong woman, sexually and intellectually. I enjoyed a lot of old poloroids of Helmut Newton.. he had a great way of exposing the strong nature of woman and odd situations… i like that tone.

I worked on creating a lot of special pieces this season but with very focused proportions.

More than just clothing, Lost & Found offers an intellectual and deeply intimate approach to reality. Do you think that in the future the fashion system and in general our current throw-away world, will change, becoming more closer to your point of view?


I think that some things you can’t change, even if honestly I would like it to…

I think that the state of fashion right now is at it’s lowest. Designs and the creation of garments have very little value to the average person. A persons closet can change litterally in a day.. because anything you want is available and at any price. I dont think that this mechanism in general will really change at this point. Technology and information just moves at an incredible speed now… and for many, business just needs to be made at any cost.

But within that there will always be people that desire something more authentic, something different than what everyone else has… There will always be people that look deeper, that are more informed and demand more from something they buy.

There are people that see the value in the reflection of a well made garments that has something to say..

I really hope that this is a understanding that more people will have… I suppose one can only hope..

References: Lost & Found Ria Dunn

Special Thanks to Ria Dunn and Alessandro Esteri

By Cecilia Musmeci
post #764 of 1125
Quote:
26 September, 2012 | by Guest Contributor
The Spotlight | Thamanyah by Ahmed Abdelrahman


Detached Sleeve Kandora from Thamanyah Autumn/Winter 2012 | Photo: Asha Mines

PARIS, France — “I met him at the gym, in his boxing shorts, fancy sneakers and large Kelly Bag as a gym bag,” recalls Michèle Lamy — Rick Owens’ captivating muse, wife, and business partner — of her Dubai-born, Paris-based protégé, Ahmed Abdelrahman. “He was able, in a couple of months, to mingle Middle-Eastern and Western culture in a such a chic, clever, refined way — mind-blowing,” she exclaims.

Indeed, Abdelrahman’s precise, sculptural and conceptual line, Thamanyah, maintains an unusual aesthetic tension between the ancient and the innovative. His signature piece is a kandora, a traditional, ankle-length Middle-Eastern garment, usually made out of cotton that Abdelrahman has reimagined in virgin wool.

“Nature seems to be an eternal source of inspiration,” says Abdelrahman of his elemental yet sharply constructed pieces. For Spring/Summer 2013, the designer is set to introduce “razor crotch” pants in three different lengths, inspired by “the soft and sharp edges of sand dunes.”

But perhaps most importantly, Abdelrahman feels the spiritual weight of his clothes. “Evolving the kandora is not a styling project,” he insists. “It requires a deep understanding of the culture it is coming from. There are heavy tribal, religious, political and historical dimensions hidden in the garment.”

As for the name, Thamanyah means “eight” in Arabic, a reference to Abdelrahman’s eight siblings and the eight-pointed star that symbolises the eight gates of heaven frequently used in Islamic art and architecture.

The entire line is produced in small quantities in Italian ateliers, on which Abdelrahman keeps a close eye. Indeed, he says that poor execution of mainstream kandoras have contributed to the loss of the garment’s emotional weight. “For the past 30 years, the fate of the contemporary male wardrobe in the GCC (Gulf Cooperation Council) countries has been controlled by foreign labourers who do not wear these garments, nor understand their emotional meaning.”

Abdelrahman was a mechanical engineering student who went on to work in the luxury jewellery sector, shuttling between Abu Dhabi and Paris. The idea to launch a fashion line began as a small personal project. “I wanted to create a small collection of kandoras that I could wear when travelling abroad — not only at home in the UAE.”

It was Lamy who first encouraged him to turn these initial pieces into a full-blown collection. “She was the first person to see my work. I was a bit sceptical about launching a brand on my own, especially as the project would require a huge financial investment on my behalf, but Michèle’s reaction was most assuring. She has the sharpest instincts. I can measure the success or failure of a certain idea by observing the reflex in her eyes.”

Indeed, Lamy’s support has been critical to the growth of the young label, as has also been the case with another of her protegés, Gareth Pugh. “Having seen the collection, without even telling me, Michèle approached Luca Rugerri who, in turn, introduced Thamanyah to a small group of visionary buyers,” recalls Abdelrahman. “Michèle is also the godmother of Thamanyah from an operational perspective,” he continues. “She is a fierce protector of Thamanyah’s commercial operations, especially in Paris.”

Today, the brand is stocked in a number of highly influential stores around the globe, including Atelier and Barneys in New York, LN-CC in London, Darklands in Berlin, Degli Effetti in Rome and The Number 4 in Kuwait.

“The cuts are extremely well executed and the shapes inspired by Middle-Eastern dress were an interesting take on what is essentially a very classic and tailored garment,” says John Skelton, creative director of LN-CC, on his decision to stock the line. “But even when you remove the initial inspiration and elements of cultural dress, the garments stand alone as extremely well-made pieces realised in high quality cashmere, silk and wool mixes.”

The pieces are in tune with “the current zeitgeist in certain areas of men’s fashion: global traditional garb has been used a source of inspiration for designers for several years, so it was only a matter of time before the kandora would be embraced,” adds Karlo Steel, owner of Atelier.


Thamanyah for BoF

For this month’s spotlight, Abdelrahman has designed a custom BoF logo in Arabic calligraphy that states, flatteringly: “read BoF.”

On the future, Abdelrahman says: “I wish for Thamanyah to create beautifully crafted, high quality products, that our clients really wear and with time, readjust, perhaps repair, and eventually, after many many years, would still want to pass on like a rare edition of a great book that gains value and meaning over time.”

With Abdelrahman set to launch a pop-up store in collaboration with Rick Owens in January, in Dubai, where he will also present his work, in March, during Art Dubai, it is with great pleasure that we shine our Spotlight on Thamanyah and wish Ahmed the very best of luck in pursuing his vision.

Alice Pfeiffer is a writer based in Paris. The Spotlight is BoF’s showcase for emerging talent who employ creativity and business acumen to make their mark in the fashion business.

http://www.businessoffashion.com/2012/09/the-spotlight-thamanyah-by-ahmed-abdelrahman.html
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