Architectural fashion

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Updated 10 January 2013

Architectural fashion

A dance step, an architectural projection, a full volume pleat, a prominent yet graphically cut top; this is how Dina JSR’s second collection comes to life. The designer’s goal is to create a new line that is unique, but nonetheless elegant and comfortable.
Fashion designer Dina Jisr was born in Riyadh and at the age of 17 took a leap, moving to London to discover the city’s cosmopolitan culture. Initially, Jisr attended Central Saint Martin to study fashion design, but soon after she completed the foundation courses, she found herself fascinated with the intricate handcraft work involved in jewelry making, and decided to she change majors in pursue of jewelry designing.
“I was always fascinated with fashion design, even when I was as young as 10-years-old I would carry my sketchbook with me everywhere, scribbling silhouettes of dresses. My mother and grandmother were always the sources of my inspiration; their elegance and style always drove my passion for fashion. My great grandmother would always touch the fabric of my dresses to see if she liked it or not,” said Jisr.
Jisr recalls that the first dress she ever created was made out of curtain fabric. “The fabric was just stunning and colorful, and so I used it to design a topless cocktail dress with pleats. I remember the first time I wore it to a friend’s wedding, it made me feel beautiful and confident and that’s when I told myself this is exactly what I want to do,” she said. “I wanted to make women experience and feel what I felt with that dress. Today I think of it as the dress that launched my career and made me who I am today. When I look back, it’s that dress that awakened my passion in fashion designing,” she added.
Jisr used her name as the title of her fashion brand because she feels her brand is a reflection of herself, her identity and character. “My work depends on my mood and how I visualize life, so when I came up with the name DINA JSR, I told myself it has to be who I am as a person because this is what I am perpetrating for my brand,” she said. ” I want women who wear my designs to feel more beautiful, confident and elegant. I need them to connect with the dress the way the dress connects to them, because this is what fashion to me is all about,” she added.
Every one of Jisr’s collections has a different source of inspiration, however she always finds herself seeking creativity from various architects. “I believe that as artists we should study, admire and analyze the work of other artists, regardless of what their form of art represents, because inspiration is boundless and not constrained to certain outlets. That’s the beauty of our work,” she said.
The designer is currently working on her fourth collection, and the inspiration for her spring/summer 2013 collection stems from the Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava. “Calatrava uses a lot of arches in his work, so I decided to recreate these arches in my dresses. A lot of the inspiration came from the city of science l’umbracle, the peace bridge, and the winery building for the plisse,” she said.
“It’s quite a colorful collection; the colors I used are bright turquoise, bright green, bright yellow, pale blue, pale grey, gold and of course white and black. They are summery colors that work really well with a tan. The fabrics I used are shantung, crepe, lace, gazar, organza and satin,” she added.
Jisr starts working on a new collection six months in advance. The first step she takes in preparing for the collection is selecting the colors, as she feels that is the starting point to any creative design, and then she chooses her fabrics.
“Next, I start looking for my new collection’s inspiration, and once I find something that intrigues me and stimulates my imagination, I study well the details of the work and then try to reinterpret and recreate the strongest elements of that work into my designs. Sketching is the subsequent step, followed by working on the toile, which is the white fabric that designers use to make the first sample of their designs. I made the essential changes on the toile and at the end I choose the perfect fabric to match the designs,” she said.
“Once I have finished the collection I take all the toile dresses with the fabrics to the factory in Paris and they start working on the patronage of the dresses. However sometimes when the dress is finished I realize that the fabric doesn’t really suit the design, so I either remove the dress from the collection or change it. After all the last changes and adjustments are made, I book for a photo-shoot for the look book and present my collection at a trade show in Paris during fashion week,” said Jisr.
When asked about her strengths and weaknesses in design, Jisr said that her strength lies in her keen awareness that no matter how many mistakes she makes, she will always pursue her passion and learn from her mistakes. Regarding her weaknesses, Jisr said, “I need to learn to choose the right fabrics, because I have changed so many dresses due to an error of judgment regarding which fabric is most suitable for a certain dress,” she added.
In the future, Jisr aims to create her own fabrics and jewelry line to go along with her collection.
Dina JSR’s upcoming collection will be available in Paris at La Foli de and Gisele So, in Riyadh at Saks Fifth Avenue, in Dubai at Gallery La Fayette, in Qatar at The Closet, in Kuwait at Ganash and in Lebanon at Sophie’s Choice. Jisr hopes she will be able to extend her brand to new stores in London’s Harrods, Colette and Montaigne Market in Paris, and 10 Corso Como in Milano. She also aspires to have her brand showcased in the United States of America and other countries.

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Architectural elegance defines this Ramadan-ready collection

Fadwa Baruni’s label is defined by its structured lines. (Photo supplied)
Updated 27 May 2018

Architectural elegance defines this Ramadan-ready collection

LONDON: A former petroleum engineer with a packed appointment book, designer Fadwa Baruni does not always have time to soak in the scenery. But recently, as she drove past the Ras Al-Khor Wildlife Sanctuary in Dubai for the umpteenth time, she was so struck by the flamingos cavorting in the lake she had to pull over.

“I was there and I just forgot about time,” Baruni recalls. “I was watching them and the way they move. It’s as if they were dancing.”

After a flutter of research, sketching and designing, Baruni’s eponymous label released this year’s Spring/Summer collection titled “Dancing on Water,” inspired by the statuesque creatures.

The line features a number of elegant kaftans ideal for those seeking a modern, detailed spin on the traditional Ramadan robe.

A kaftan with a finely pleated skirt and ruffled sleeves combines Baruni’s characteristic detail-oriented construction with a rippled sense of flow. Accentuated by a gently cinched waist, the piece provides an element of feminine structure without hindering the easy ebb and flow of natural movement.

The combination of neat, structured details with comfortable, yet refined silhouettes is the hallmark of Baruni’s label. Even when drawing inspiration from dynamic avian movements, Baruni says her designs rely heavily on clean lines. “I studied engineering, it’s still in my blood. I still have that analytical, black or white (mindset),” she told Arab News. A native of Libya, Baruni says her family insisted she pursue a more conventional career path. It was only after working as a regional manager for a petroleum company that she decided to change tack and pursue her passion for design.

Still, her training as an engineer pushes her toward clean, almost architectural lines, like those featured in this season’s full-length kaftan with pressed pleats and cuffed, three-quarter-length sleeves.

The sharp, narrow pleats are two toned. The outside hue — available in both coral and royal blue — accordions open to reveal striking white panels. Inspiration was taken from the opening of a flamingo’s wings, Baruni explained. The effect is one of eye-popping geometry, giving length and the illusion of structure to the kaftan.

Baruni’s style has evolved markedly since she launched her first collection in 2009. The line was entirely black and white, she recalled. Later, deciding to experiment with color, Brauni dove in with characteristic commitment: “I don’t have grey in my dictionary,” she said. “It has to be vibrant, it has to be strong.”

Indeed, this season’s collection draws on a strong palette of pinks and blues, with a single feathery print in an otherwise monochromatic edit.

Catering to modern women who, like Baruni, have places to be and people to see, bold color and design take precedence over fussiness. “I don’t like very busy designs,” Baruni explained. “I like to focus on one thing in the garment rather than make it look like a curtain, all busy. It gives me a headache,” she laughed.

But that doesn’t mean she avoids playfulness — feathered detailing on the sleeves of a number of kaftans give a lighthearted touch to the mature cuts.

The designs all reflect Baruni’s three key design premises: Maintaining the highest quality of tailoring while insisting on comfort and beauty. Women seeking both feminine frills and professional elegance this Ramadan season need look no further than Baruni’s latest collection.