This isn’t your first visit to Lebanon; you’ve been here over 15 times…what keeps you coming back to the country?Every time I have a good occasion or opportunity in Lebanon, I come!Are you excited about your “Bridge the Minds” seminar with Agenda Beirut?Yes, it’s exciting to meet the new generation of designers and students, and transmit the knowledge that you have attained. Of course, it makes me feel a bit older, but there’s no interest to be in this world if you don’t transmit what you have, what you got.
What piece of advice have you been given that you actually put into practice and that you would give to other people?The first advice I received was from Pierre Bergé (co-founder of Yves Saint Laurent) when I was 18 and my dream was to work for Yves Saint Laurent one day, maybe be his assistant of Monsieur Saint Laurent. Pierre Berger was looking at my designs; the portfolio was really well done and very clean, but maybe too clean. At the end of my look book, I forgot to remove my rough sketches. He was turning the pages and he said that it was all-nice and suddenly he got to the end and saw the rough sketches and said, “YES! That’s it, this is what I like” Because you can get a sense of the movement with just one stroke. I realized that being honest, being authentic, not trying to seduce but just being you was the most important thing. What I’m always trying to explain to students and to people, who ask me for advice, is that you have to know who you are. You have to understand what your background is, your parents, look back at previous generations, sometimes the answer can be found there. I understood myself, I understood who I was, because I did some research. Only then did I feel more comfortable. Once you know who you are, you can start to correct things and to build your future because you’re aware of your mistakes and your “defaut” (weaknesses and faults). Understand who you are, this comes slowly, you can build your DNA and when you have built your DNA, you can create our brand!When did you achieve this, the level of comfort that you just mentioned?I really felt comfortable when I got to the age of 40. That was my best age. I was physically better. I was more mature. I felt better about myself, and I really started to live when I turned 40. It was very strange, but I like to think that I’m like a good wine that only gets better and better with age!
What inspires you every season while designing your collection?Architecture is very inspiring to me; the way that architects play with volumes in their work. That’s why I’ve been, for a long time, totally fascinated by Zaha Hadid and Anish Kapoor. They are really my mentors. The way they sculpt, the way they build buildings, the way they play with space and colors and everything, it means a lot to me. It’s part of my DNA. I recognize myself in their work. I just express myself with dresses and they express themselves on a canvas or through architecture. With each season though, I try to build a story. Not to create a new story every season, but to evolve more and more, to grow and learn.
You’ve designed many pieces that have been worn by famous celebrities; do you have a favorite celebrity look, one that you’re very proud of?I’m aware that it’s better to dress a celebrity than to take page in a magazine, but I like to only dress celebrities that respect my style. I‘m always proud when celebrities wear my dresses like Cheryl and Beyoncé. The only thing that drives me crazy sometimes is that some celebrities send back a dress and it is destroyed and dirty. That happened too many times, but it is very disrespectful, which is why I don’t like dressing everybody, so I’ll make a selection of artists for the right fit. I don’t dress any Arab celebrities except for Yusra, because she’s my heart. Who would be a dream to dress?My dream is to dress Fayruz, she’s my dream. I love her, I love Fairuz. But I don’t think she’s performing anymore, alas, I arrived too late!
Online Editor at Mondanité