Sanaa Ayoub launches sparkling fashion collection


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Lebanese fashion designer Sanaa Ayoub launched her 2017 spring/summer collection earlier this week, with a range of looks best described as eveningwear flirting with haute couture. Ayoub’s collection, titled “Chandelier,” features 14 dresses – mainly ball gowns with a few cocktail dresses – inspired by the shape and filigree of chandeliers. The designs incorporate reflective elements, crystal detailing and the opulence associated with luxury light fixtures.

“I got inspired by the curves of the chandelier and its elegant flair and attitude, so you can see a lot of tier shapes and crystal detailing in my dresses,” Ayoub told The Daily Star at her catwalk launch show held in Beirut’s Liza restaurant Monday.

Fitting the curving lines typical of chandeliers to the shape of the female figure, the collection intends to convey elegance, extravagance and romanticism, injected with classic simplicity.

Ayoub’s collection pairs soft pastel colors, such as lavender, baby blue and silver, with more vibrant shades of pink and an assertive royal blue. Her designs for Chandelier consist of flowing lines, full sweeping skirts and sharp tailoring. Delicate beading and embroidery complement the soft silhouettes.

“The fabrics I used are mainly muslin, which is flow-y and gives this loose effect and a beautiful, classy, elegant look. I always like women to wear dresses that make them look confidant, elegant and chic,” Ayoub said.

Her use of crystals, beading and pearlescent embroidery gives her dresses a lustrous effect, continuing the chandelier theme.

“I always like to mix and match [colors and textures] – if the dress is very simple pastel colored, I would work with some embroidery to create some contrast,” Ayoub said. “If you look at the embroidery [in this collection] you can always see that the dress is glowing, in a way, or sparkly.” She continued: “In some dresses, I use the same color embroidery as the fabric, just to give it this glowing effect, and in other dresses I used different-colored embroidery to give contrast.”

The final dress of the collection was a bridal gown that left the shoulders bare, with simple, subtle floral embroidery and a mix of satin and muslin in the skirt.

“In Lebanon we tend to do extravagant bridal gowns, which I’m not against, but it is not really me – I wanted to keep it special but still simple with a bit of embroidery,” Ayoub said.

Pascale Ojeil, a passionate singer who works in the financial sector, attended Chandelier’s launch and said she admired the collection, even if the style of clothing on display didn’t quite fit her own look.

“I loved the collection, even though it’s not usually my style. I prefer a more classic approach, but I like that [the collection is] unconventional, used embroidery and gives a twist to classic dresses,” Ojeil told The Daily Star.

Ayoub’s production process for her collections is completed in phases over a six-month period. She makes tweaks as she goes, before finally producing the collection she envisions.

“I start with an idea that I expand and develop with mood boards, palette boards and fabric boards, and then I edit all the sketches until I have the final collection, ready to start production,” Ayoub explained. “I have tailors and employees that I work with to produce the dresses [who] are very talented. The craftsmanship in my dresses is very high.”

In 2011, Ayoub interned with world-renowned Lebanese designer Elie Saab – an experience that allowed her to get to grips with the Lebanese fashion scene.

“It was beautiful because I learned a lot about the Lebanese market and I saw how Lebanese women craved Elie Saab’s dresses,” Ayoub said. “I admire his intricate work and the details, but at the same time, Elie Saab has a lot of heavy embroidery in his dresses. I feel like my style is a bit simpler.”

Ayoub is an advocate of eco-friendly clothes. In an effort to promote a “green” approach to the fashion industry, she runs university workshops and awareness meetings with up and coming designers.

“I am very fabric conscious: I don’t waste fabric, which is part of being eco-friendly,” Ayoub said. “Unfortunately, the part of using sustainable or eco-friendly fabric is still not there yet, because in Lebanon [such fabrics are] still not that common.”

Ayoub began her career by studying fashion design at Notre Dame University in Zouk Mosbeh, winning the prize for Best Fashion Designer in the class of 2010. She then completed bachelor’s and master’s degrees in fashion design at the London campus of Istituto Marangoni, a private Italian school of fashion and design. On her return to Lebanon in 2014, Ayoub launched her Sana’ fashion line and began creating a name for herself on the Lebanese fashion scene.

While she has no immediate plans for her next project, Ayoub will be busy touring with Chandelier to various fashion events until the end of the spring/summer fashion season.Read more at:formal dresses australia