Canada de­signer cel­e­brates uni­sex at Dubai show

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Cana­dian-Jor­da­nian de­signer Rad Hourani cre­ates avant-garde de­signs with a vi­sion: To break all bound­aries, start­ing with gen­der. His rev­o­lu­tion­ary uni­sex gar­ments were show­cased in the Mid­dle East for the first time ever dur­ing a show late Fri­day at Arab Fash­ion Week in Dubai.

In thick pieces of ma­te­rial tied up in dif­fer­ent styles, male and fe­male mod­els walked down the run­way wear­ing dark sun­glasses. The 34year-old, an in­vited mem­ber of the Cham­bre Syn­di­cale de la Haute Cou­ture in Paris, was the first ever de­signer to present a uni­sex haute cou­ture col­lec­tion in 2013.

His Spring-Sum­mer 2017 col­lec­tion pre­sented in Dubai is a re­worked mix of his past ar­chives and aims to show­case “the time­less­ness” of his 10-year-old gen­der­less works, the soft-spo­ken de­signer, wear­ing a sim­ple black cot­ton T-shirt and match­ing trousers, told AFP in an in­ter­view.

“Peo­ple didn’t re­ally un­der­stand it (uni­sex) at the be­gin­ning,” he said. “They were al­ways ask­ing which pieces are for men and which pieces are for women.”“I had to work very hard in the past 10 years to com­mu­ni­cate the neu­tral uni­sex vi­sion,” which has be­come his sig­na­ture style, he said.

‘Free of lim­i­ta­tions’

For Fri­day’s show, Hourani said he re-edited his old col­lec­tions “in a new way, adding new forms and new shapes.” But it was the first time the de­signer, known for his clean A-lines and min­i­mal­ist looks, has worked with draped folds. “I think work­ing with th­ese shapes in a new drapey and ar­chi­tec­tural way was an in­ter­est­ing ex­er­cise for me,” he said.

Be­hind his work, Hourani has his own un­bounded phi­los­o­phy or “vi­sion”, as he likes to call it. “I live in a way which is free of (the) lim­i­ta­tions of gen­der, race, age or na­tions,” he said. “I see the world as one place and I see the peo­ple as one as well.”

Through his gar­ments, he tries to of­fer cus­tomers some of this free­dom by cre­at­ing uni­sex cloth­ing that could be trans­formed to menswear or womenswear through sim­ple styling such as adding a belt, or ty­ing up the piece in a cer­tain way. “What I’m try­ing to do is to cre­ate neu­tral graphic shapes and then to give each in­di­vid­ual the op­tions of wear­ing it: fem­i­nine, mas­cu­line, ca­sual, or what­ever style they like it to be.” “I don’t work in a way that I can limit you in the way you style the gar­ment. So my gar­ments are re­ally very trans­formable in terms of style.”

While his fab­rics are gen­er­ally cot­ton satin, silk, and crepe, he used a plas­tic-like ma­te­rial for his Dubai col­lec­tion and added bright colours-a change from his usu­ally mono­chrome pal­ette of black, white, grey, and blue. “This time it’s more of a fun show” with the mod­els even ap­pear­ing wrapped up “like gifts” to cel­e­brate the decade he has spent in the in­dus­try, Hourani said with a grin.

‘Lady Gaga style’

His de­signs drew mixed views from the au­di­ence with an el­derly Iraqi man ex­claim­ing: “They’re aliens!” as the mod­els walked past. But Nora, a French­woman of Arab ori­gin, said she did see some “in­ter­est­ing” pieces which she could con­sider buy­ing. “We don’t have this kind of fash­ion here in the Mid­dle East... I see it (as) a bit spe­cial,” she said after the show. “To un­der­stand this kind of de­sign you need to... un­der­stand the de­signer him­self how he thinks.”

Daryl Scott, a fit­ness trainer from New York, agreed that “it was pretty in­ter­est­ing. It’s dif­fer­ent in a good way.”“It’s some­thing more like Lady Gaga” style, said Scott, re­fer­ring to the all­fa­mous Amer­i­can pop star who has al­ready worn Hourani’s de­signs.

But the de­signer said he does have Arab clients. “I see a great evo­lu­tion” in the Arab world in terms of fash­ion. “We have Emi­rati clients”, male and fe­male and of dif­fer­ent ages.

DUBAI: Mod­els present cre­ations by Cana­dian-Jor­da­nian de­signer Rad Hourani at the Arab Fash­ion Week in Dubai on Fri­day. — AP pho­tos

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