LaLaQueen bags lure fashionistas in a big way

Sally Sarieddine and her line of handbags.
Updated 21 April 2017

LaLaQueen bags lure fashionistas in a big way

The Middle East is home to some of the best luxury handbag brands that one can possibly find. This exciting development is what seems to be influencing the global fashionistas’ rush to visit the region and explore the amazing variety it has to offer. The latest front-runner taking everybody by storm is LaLaQueen, founded by the Lebanese-born, UAE-raised Sally Sarieddine who finished her education in Britain.
Sarieddine got into the business of designing handbags because she knew she had a specific taste in fashion. “This knowledge led me to trust my instincts about how I really wanted to design a handbag that I would personally carry anywhere I go,” she said.
The fact that she makes beautiful handbags today is proof that what she does means a great deal to her. “The research and design philosophy is something that I love, and to actually see an idea or a design concept come to life is even more exciting,” she said.
For all of this to come true, Sarieddine studied design at Central Saint Martins in London.
The beauty of LaLaQueen bags can be gauged from their architectural framework including the shape and size. “My bags are unique and timeless pieces, all handmade in Lebanon. We’re also advocates of sustainability,” Sarieddine said. “This is another reason why our bags are adored by those who have them.”
In order to achieve sustainable results, Sarieddine prefers to use material such as brass and genuine leather, which are finished in a natural way in order to maintain the look and feel, and also to make it age gracefully.
Moreover, the color paradigm is vital for Sarieddine to work on. She said, “I choose to work with classical colors that reflect elegance and sophistication. I mix classical earth tones with different color tones and hues to bring vibrancy and fun to the piece. Each color has its own energy and so I choose specific colors to bring that energy into the bag. For instance, I chose the color pink for love energy, the color red for power energy, etc.”
For Sarieddine, the essence of inspiration means staying connected with nature, architecture, books, cultures, people and beauty. “It all helps me weave stories in my mind, and find ways to express them in shapes and colors. Being Lebanese, my heritage is filled with beautiful stories and inspiring sites so it’s easy for me to be influenced by lots of unknowns. I love it.”
It is no wonder that every collection she creates has a story. For example, her “Moon Collection” is inspired by the moon and its cycles, how it affects water levels, and thus, our moods because more than 75 percent of the human body.
LaLaQueen bags perfectly suit those women who are trendsetters in their own way. “She is someone who is confident and speaks her mind and has a big heart, an inspiration to those around her,” Sarieddine said.
Middle Eastern women are certainly leading the race with their fashionable lifestyles. “They’ve set some international standards in the fashion and style industry. Besides, we have many famous designers who have reached an international audience,” she said.
Sarieddine believes in every person who is genuine and authentic and has a positive impact on their community and environment.
The latest collection entitled “Geometric” is inspired by the beautiful crystal formations in nature. Her “Dr. Collection” is the signature line one that has always been in the news. The metal clasp and the design of the bag make it special because it has a vintage feel with a modern twist.
She always carries the Dr. Mini-bag because the color and shape is so versatile that it matches nearly all her outfits.
Even though Sarieddine has found the fashion industry competitive, she has nothing but praise for it. “It has strengthened my determination, and taught me many things about the business. As a brand, we’re injecting our business values into the industry and we choose to work with people who are the same,” she said.
The human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin Clooney and Indian actress Neha Dhupia have been seen with her designer bags on several occasions. She is open to adding many high-profile people to her A-list clientele. It’s crystal clear that Sarieddine acknowledges how helpful celebrity endorsement is when it comes to bringing international exposure to the brand.
Eager to take her brand far and wide, Sarieddine has some amazing projects in the pipeline. “There is always room for growth in life. We’re taking it one step at a time. We recently opened our first boutique in downtown Beirut which is a big milestone for the brand,” she said. “This will never change i.e. I would like my brand to be known as authentic, ethical, sophisticated and timeless.”

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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.