Thursday, 19 January 2017

Designer Dialogues: Elie Youssef 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 the pieces.
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.

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