This is a very special post on our blog because it consists of an interview with a very talented young artist named Lara Khoury who manages her own brand ‘Lara Khoury’. I visited her in her own workshop in Gemmayzeh and our chat was really nice, after that I headed to Beirut Souks to check a special collection she made for Momo restaurant, and i can say that it keeps getting better with this one. We know it’s a very long post to read but it’s beyond interesting!
Lara Khoury opens her eyes to the world on a January night in 1985. Eighteen years later, she joins the Ecole Superieure de la Mode de Paris (ESMOD). Her desire grew with every pull of a thread and needle, and was concretized in September 2006 when she joined Elie Saab in Beirut and it was not long before her desire for fashion took a life of its own.
Lara decides to start expressing her own creations, born as ideas still fragile and conceptual, always open, often unexplored. Her very first collections are put forth to the general public in Starch Foundation, Beirut, RabihKayrouz’s laboratory of new ideas, and showroom for contemporary young Lebanese designers.
In 2010, Lara Khoury finds the assurance to launch her first eponymous collection; Her brand name became Lara Khoury and settles in the heart of Beirut, in a workshop on rue Gouraud.
Lara Khoury’s style is sincere, bold, moving and minimalist. It embodies a contemporary and experimental trend, continuously concerned with detail, passion for innovation and freedom.
On May 2011, Lara Khoury is selected to represent Lebanon on the second generation of the Maison Méditerranéenne des Métiers de la Mode in Marseille (France).
In 2011, on the west shore of the White Sea, Lara Khoury takes time to develop her techniques, her network and her knowledge not so far from her hometown, definitely oriental but also able to appreciate civilizations from all around the world.
What’s your definition of fashion?
Gebran Khalil Gebran once said that people shouldn’t wear clothes as they must remain as God made them. But fashion is involved in our lives in so many ways, some people think it’s a kind of entertainment, but it’s really a person’s identity. Some people don’t think of the meaning, they just wear stuff…
Fashion is who you are, you are what you wear. So I think it defines a lot of a person’s identity whether they wear extravagant, minimalist, clothes …
Do you think trends are important?
I think they’re important for people who follow fashion. Trends are made by people who make fashion. I make trends. People need something to follow and wear. But for example, I use blue color not because it’s trending but because it’s my color theme and frame.
During long hours of work and preparations, what is your primary motive?
I’m a perfectionist and I hate failing, once I do a project, I go for it until the end. Fashion is a complicated job because you need to have a lot of patience and you need to believe in your work, if you don’t, you’re going nowhere in your career.
Who do you admire among other international designers?
I actually love the designers Viktor & Rolf. They are not recognized as much as their debutsbecause their work is so conceptual, it could almost be a work of art. But since fashion doesn’t exist today if it’s not wearable, it took all the magic away. They launched breathtaking collections 10 years ago. I remember a collection made by V&F, focusing on volumes, it was all black; black stage, black cloths, black skin for the models, and all you could see are the white eyes of the models on the catwalk and the extravagant volumes of the cloths (A/W 2001, ‘The Black Hole’).
What is the fashion industry status in Lebanon?
It’s actually growing, there’s lots of potential. Young designers are rising, and with the help of designer Rabih Kayrouz it gets better; he’s on an international scale and the fact he’s representing Lebanon because he wants to boost the Lebanese fashion image. So he’s helping aspiring designers to get out of their little world and try to evolve, reason why he founded the Starch Foundation.
What would be your biggest achievement?
It would be opening this brand and managing it, thank God it’s going pretty well.
Fashion is not the success of just one collection, but the one after and then the one after that… Just don’t give up, we should always work more and more because when you launch a good collection, people are going to put in mind that the next one is going to be even bigger and better.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years from now?
I don’t know! (Says laughing), I always go with the flow and never think of the future. Depends on the opportunities you get and the people you meet. But I do have a future ‘plan’ of expanding with the help of ‘MMMM’ (Maison Méditerranéenne des Métiers de la Mode in Marseille, France). They’re helping designers living in Mediterranean countries to evolve on a macro scale, so I’m hoping this would help me reach out a little bit further in France.
Why is fashion underrated in Lebanon?
I think the Arabic taste of clothes primes in the Lebanese fashion society. There are actually two kinds of ‘fashonistas’ in Lebanon:
The first kind and sadly the dominant is the “Bling Bling” people, those who lack ideas and boldness in their designs.
And the second kind is the people who develop their clothes by working more on the texture. Those are more contemporary in their wardrobes; I think they’re much more educated fashion wise, they know the international fashion scene. And I hope the “Bling Bling” people disappear soon (Says joking).
Can we talk about street style and trends in Lebanon?
Yes of course we can! Lebanese women don’t dare being different at all (they’re mostly ‘copy pasted’). But I think fashion people are much more educated now. We still have to wait a little bit of time but hopefully we’ll get there one day.
What inspires you to create and always renovate?
By collections, I work on themes and the fact of being able to transfer a message by a garment is very interesting and there lies the big challenge.
What is the message you want to deliver to our people?
Well, you always have to follow your heart and instinct, and do what you think is right and be happy with your life!
I used to neglect what my parents used to say about my future plans and dreams and here I am now, by the age of 26, running my own brand.
Last word for our dear ChicBayrut.?