A blood red gown embroidered with a unicorn; a black dress resembling a gothic kimono, covered with sequins, flowers and birds; a skirt of swirling petals and lace snowflakes. These are the designs in Hussein Bazaza’s new collection.
This talented young designer is definitely one to watch. Born in Beirut in 1990, Bazaza is one of the most exciting new designers working in the Middle East. After completing a BA in Fashion Design and Pattern Making at ESMOD Beirut in 2011, he worked as junior designer for Elie Saab, before launching his first collection. The innovation and dramatic flair of Bazaza’s designs soon attracted international attention, winning him the prestigious Elle Style Award for “Best Upcoming Middle East Designer” in 2013, and “Best Emerging Designer” at the Middle East Fashion Awards in 2015.
It only takes a quick look at Bazaza’s early work to understand what makes his designs so special. The pieces in the “Annaliese” collection from 2013 look like something from a gothic fairy-tale, including tight-fitting, ornately patterned skirts, and glamorous yet funereal black gowns; it’s no surprise to discover that his favourite fictional heroine is Maleficent. Bazaza understands that often, the less you reveal, the more seductive you appear, and some of his most sensual dresses seem to cover the body completely, with high collars and floor-length skirts.
For his Fall Winter 2017 collection, entitled “Sophia the Goddess”, Bazaza is inspired by the theme of medieval alchemy, and the quest to find the elixir of life. The collection represents the journey of the alchemist as she transforms into a goddess, reflected by the use of luxurious handmade fabrics and alchemical motifs, drawn from a variety of geometric symbols and equations. All the pieces in the collection are clearly united by this theme, and seem inspired by nature itself, as the collection is dominated by autumnal colours – black, grey, gold and red – and uses embroidered butterflies and unicorns. It’s an intriguing blend of nature and magic, and the designs are remarkable for being highly artistic as well as flattering and wearable. Bazaza specialises in a more accessible form of haute couture, creating imaginative, theatrical pieces that can be worn off the catwalk.
Who wears Bazaza’s designs? In his own words, the designer creates pieces for “the complex independent woman”, who “sets her own rules”. There’s something undeniably empowering about the refined, regal quality of the dresses, as they seem designed to reveal every woman’s inner queen, alchemist or goddess – the heroine of the fairy-tale.
Bazaza’s clothes, which are all handmade in Lebanon, can currently be bought in luxury boutiques in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Kuwait and Iran, or ordered through his website. But given the sense of excitement about his work, it’s surely just a matter of time before his alchemists and goddesses make their way to Europe.
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