Designer Elie Youssef has moved into making bridal dreams come true, designing gorgeous gowns that effortlessly drip with the rich promise of happily ever after. But his astonishing haute couture collection has always been the dreamiest of dreams! You may remember when Kelly Rowland slayed at the VH1 Hip Hop honors in his stunning interpretation of the LBD, adding a whole new level of grace to this classic dress equation.
His designs are the makings of a legend; Bold, vibrant, and rich,
emanating from an imagination that seems to have come from another time
and place. Youssef reweaves the finest of silks, lace, and richly
decorative brocade fabrics into the most enviable chic couture
collectibles that seem to echo the history of fashions gone by. The Lady
Loves Couture had the opportunity to sit down with Youssef and chat
about his enchanting “old world’’ approach to bold new fashions.
You are impacting the American
fashion scene in a major way (who could forget Kelly Rowland’s stunning
LBD). How does the American fashion world differ from Europe? What do
you like most about American fashion culture?
Elie Youssef: I began my collection with more of a Middle Eastern
style— a bolder approach in the use of my embroidered fabrics and
colors. Expanding to the US and Europe has exposed the brand to two
different aesthetics. European fashion has an understanding of what is
true couture, an old world appreciation for handmade one-of-a-kind
pieces. American fashion is more modern and relies more on what’s
readily available to the client.
TLLC: Who or what inspired you to go into fashion? And what did that path look like?
EY: I started my love for fashion as a child. I watched and learned
from my mother and at the age of 17, I made my first piece. I later
studied at CAMM Fashion Academy in Lebanon.
TLLC: How do you define style? And what, if any, are your biggest fashion faux pas?
EY: I gravitate towards an old world haute couture style. Fashion, as
I understand it, should be chic, elegant and luxurious, while still
combining modern elements. I believe fashion is an art and an expression
for both the designer and the client that wears the pieces. Fashion
faux pas to me are what’s really in at the moment.
TLLC: You are launching a bridal collection. Tell us what ladies can expect from the collection?
EY: The inspiration for my current collection comes for the Victorian
Era— a very royal-inspired look. You will see the use of Victorian
fabrics, coupled with a more modern approach in the varying
silhouettes. I want my brides to feel feminine and regal on the most
important day of their lives.
TLLC: You are a part of a cultural legacy that has for centuries
understood beauty, opulence, elegance, and grace. How would you say that
insight has shaped your popularity and other notable designers who
share in that culture?
EY: In my opinion, a great designer doesn’t worry about changing
fashion necessarily, but rather contributing to it by recreating
something all their own. I really believe in that old world approach to
my collections; everything is hand-finished and tailored made. I don’t
approach my designs by mass-producing them. By not doing so, I’m able to
stay true and add value to my gowns; I don’t worry about my gowns
becoming popular. I focus on making them well.
TLLC: What do you think are the talents that make up a great designer?
EY: Confidence in what you create and never short cut the work. It’s
so important for a designer to understand proportions, the details,
fabrics, construction, and, most importantly, the client that will wear
TLLC: Where can we find your designs?
EY: Currently in Beirut, Dubai, and The Miami Design District. Our stock-lists can be found on our website.