AWARD WINNING Blueprint Beirut as presented by the Arab British Centre and Starch Foundation was set out to be a success right from the start! One of our creative’s Saliah took a trip to get a first hand experience of the exhibition earlier this month. We were excited to see that for the first time ever – Lebanon was being represented at the International Fashion Showcase 2016!
Blueprint Beirut was curated by Tala Hajjar, Starch Co-Founder and Fashion Entrepreneur, from first glance, as you walked in, a beautiful display of fashion works of art awaited inside picturesque arches designed by Starch Architect Elie Metni. The arches depicted Metni’s interpretation of a deconstructed architectural blueprint of a traditional Lebanese home. The exhibition reflected Lebanese fashion’s journey to a future still grounded in Mediterranean heritage.
There were queues of people lining up to see the event, with constant one-on-one engagement from the architects and fashion designers themselves, it really gave a more intimate understanding of the exhibition and how each designer interpreted the brief.
“The fashion industry in Lebanon is growing exponentially every year. We are witnessing an emergence of new blood that is steering away from conventional and predictable fashion to something that is confident and bold!” – Tala Hajjar.
Each individual piece of work presented was unique, we got chatting to one of the designers, Mira Hayek, who presented the fantastic piece ‘Bluebell’. Hayek had previously come from a graphic design background, we asked how she transfers her graphic design skills across her collection of work, Hayek added;
“I studied graphic design at the Lebanese American University before continuing my studies at the Milan Fashion Institute. Since the launch of my brand, each collection has a very strong graphic aesthetic, for my Bluebell piece, I was inspired by the traditional Lebanese encaustic tiles“
Another interesting piece by fashion designer and illustrator, Timi Hayek ‘The Three-Arch House was a reflective of Beirut’s heritage and her personal family history. The final design embodied the classic Lebanese triple arches and large palm trees that featured in her mother’s childhood home.
“My mother had a beautiful childhood in that house and left behind some beautiful pictures and stories. Now it looks derelict and abandoned but the memories of love and family are still with her, and in effect with me” – Timi Hayek.
The team then went on to win a very well deserved, ‘Best Curator Award’. The team at Creative Action would like to wish all those who took part a very warm congratulations and we look forward to possibly seeing Lebanon display their ‘new blood’ talents again next year!
As a cultural organisation whose mandate is to improve the British public's understanding of the Arab world, London Fashion Week offers us an excellent opportunity. Fashion from the Middle East presents a means of communication with audiences in the UK. The industry lies at the crossroads where art, history and culture mix with craft, technology and business. As dreamers and innovators, designers tell us stories, imagine new worlds and create the space and possibility for us to realise them together.
Amani Hassan, Programme Director of the Arab British Centre