The Lebanese couture designer weaving magic into his collections By Nagmani
The mesmerizing world of haute couture is perfectly exemplified as a palatial art form of designing one-of-a-kind dresses with as many intricate techniques as possible to make it look absolutely refined.
To start with, the credit for this remarkable phenomenon as it seems distinctly apparent today goes to the established skilled couture designers or the new ones we have emerging from Lebanon as they are making the red carpet extravaganza and other galas more glamorous and memorable with their couture dresses, fueled by the A-list stars’ choice of them for such special occasions.
The latest head-turner to have joined the club of elite Lebanese couture designers is Saiid Kobeisy who possesses an incredible way of designing couture gowns similar to mosaic thanks to powerful visions that unequivocally arise like sea waves in his mind. It comes as no surprise that his new collection titled “Whispers of the Sea” is one such great example toward bringing to life that higher level of superiority and panache as often sought by women of sophisticated taste in any high society.
In an exclusive interview with One Coast, we caught up with him to find out what got him excited enough about fashion to delve himself wholeheartedly into it at first and make a career out of it, what it stands for him and much more.
Kobeisy’s intense love of fashion sprouted in his teenage years. His father ran a boutique selling evening dresses. This is where he always went to in his free time to interact with the customers in order to guide them through things like what would look good on them in the most appropriate sense. “I felt quite encouraged when they believed what I recommended for them and embraced it with open arms. That’s how it occurred to me that fashion would only be my true calling,” he said.
He then went on to study fashion design, and launched his own couture brand in 2002 with the opening of the first Saiid Kobeisy atelier in Beirut, Lebanon. This came about when he realized he was fully geared up for it. “It was my passion and I had an eye for it leading me to start my own label,” he said.
With so many couture brands competing against one another in the fashion industry, it becomes even more binding for them to come up with something that truly represents their status symbol in the market, making it easier for women customers to choose what appeals to them most. And it’s amazing to know that the signature of the Saiid Kobeisy brand is precisely known for its silhouette rich in light structures, high collars and playful volumes with a touch of gold and ivory cream colors.
Inspiration and muse
He often gets inspired by the strength, determination and success of the modern-day women. Besides, he understands them so well. That’s what motivates him to design such extraordinary couture collections. When it comes to dwelling on his muse, there is none like Christian Dior who as a designer and person has always titillated his imagination. “We’ve witnessed brilliant fashion designers throughout history who’ve created trends and masterpieces. What makes Christian Dior my muse, however, is his ability to create ageless silhouettes,” Kobeisy said.
Women who wear his creations are quite aware of what they want. They are simply seeking out a means of self-expression through his designs that celebrate their individuality as well as reflect their identity. As a matter of fact, the perfect woman that he visualizes to be looking one hundred percent dazzling in his couture dresses is someone whose brilliance stems from her self-confidence, determination and willpower. “My designs are a pure reflection of a woman’s desire to look after herself in the most sensual and feminine ways. She concentrates on what she wants to highlight in her silhouette rather than seeking at all costs to mask this or that part of her anatomy,” he said. “She’s not afraid to leave her mark and she never goes unnoticed wherever she makes her presence felt.”
Not only that, he has launched his ready-to-wear bridal line that’s primarily focused on women who are bold, elegant and unconventional. This line is characterized by its high-end quality and exquisite designs. The generous volumes, flowing contours, and feminine cuts come together to produce a unique collection for the bride’s night to remember.
As for the fabrics, he uses lace Chantilly sourced from France and brocade sourced from Italy.
“The majority of our fabrics are hand-embroidered in our atelier in Beirut,” he said.
Lebanese heritage and Middle Eastern women
Even though he gets intrigued by various cultures in general for their distinctiveness, he can’t help being very considerate about his own Lebanese heritage. “It plays a big role in my love and appreciation for details, craftsmanship and luxury,” Kobeisy said. “I take pride in our ability as Lebanese designers to bring our culture and vision to the forefront of the fashion industry.”
There is no denying that women in the Middle East are extremely sophisticated when it comes to seeking out the best; be it fashion or anything else. They know what they want. “I truly admire the elegance of Middle Eastern women along with their love and appreciation for luxury. The fact that they’re very cultured and travel frequently is what truly makes them fashion-forward trendsetters,” he said.
Talking further about his latest collection “Whispers of the Sea” he explained, “The inspirational idea for it came from Atlantis, a Utopian Greek lost city submerged at the cold deep Atlantic Ocean. Another mystery regarding this was whether such a thing exists or not in the first place.”
He also added that Atlantis gave him the leverage of working, not only with locations and cultures, but also with myths, fantasy and everything else that might not seem real to the eyes. Going with this vision, he and his team made sure to use everything related to the deep ocean, from mermaids to sea horses and sea stars. The intriguing embroideries were carefully designed to create stories for each dress, from the combination of colors, to their inspiration point. “As part of the collection, we have a red dress to emphasize this point that the red color is treated as a symbol of royalty, giving the ocean and Atlantis, their queen,” he said.
The celebrity endorsement for the Saiid Kobeisy brand isn’t that main concern at the moment, but could be considered as and when that famous person is a relevant and accurate reflection of what it stands for. “In that case, we can definitely think of collaborating,” he said.
As the brand makes its foray into the international market fully aware that the pace of fashion design will only be too quick to ignore, Kobeisy is ready to accept this challenging reality and let his designs do the talking. “The customers want immediate access to new collections off the runway, ideally at price points they can afford. We have to adapt to the speed like we have had to adapt to other media. We want to be closer to our customers and cater to the most sophisticated woman in a timely manner without losing our edge. So in the next five years, we should hopefully have exclusive showrooms in the top 5 cities of the world,” he said.