Ode to africa with a moroc­can twist

With Moroc­can in­flu­ences and African in­spi­ra­tion, Loubna Ay­ouche Com­balat of Loayo Art & Creations as­pires to bring a lux­ury wom­enswear col­lec­tion that’s a mod­ern fu­sion of fash­ion and art, writes

Saturday Star - - L U X U R Y -

ANY piece de­signed by Loubna Ay­ouche Com­balat can be con­sid­ered “wear­able art”. Com­balat, who’s Moroc­can­born but liv­ing in South Africa, is the artist and de­signer be­hind the cloth­ing la­bel Loayo Art & Creations.

Her lat­est col­lec­tion was show­cased at this year’s Africa Fash­ion In­ter­na­tional Cape Town Fash­ion Week held at the Cape Town In­ter­na­tional Con­fer­ence Cen­tre. I spoke to the artist and fash­ion de­signer, who de­scribes her work as a mod­ern fu­sion of fash­ion and art, about her in­spi­ra­tion.

How would you de­scribe your work?

It is the ve­hi­cle I use to chan­nel my creativ­ity and bring to life my dreams. It is a pas­sion­ate self-ex­pres­sion through the use of vivid colours, tex­ture and fluid rhythms. It is a cel­e­bra­tion of fash­ion that has a pos­i­tive in­flu­ence on women, mak­ing them feel happy, self-con­fi­dent, bold and spe­cial.

What’s the in­spi­ra­tion be­hind this col­lec­tion?

Africa, its colours, its peo­ple and its lands. I as­pired to bring a col­lec­tion where Africa is in­deli­ble in ev­ery out­fit, a col­lec­tion full of colours and tex­tures, that breathes the vi­brancy and en­ergy of Africa, a col­lec­tion with kind of mag­i­cal abil­ity to brighten up win­ter days, in par­tic­u­lar, and any day, in gen­eral, and give them a glow to lift the win­ter mood. A kind of happy mood booster that de­fies how our en­vi­ron­ment shapes our mood and in­flu­ence its pat­terns.

How does your art­work in­flu­ence your de­signs?

Each paint­ing be­comes a jour­ney where I lose all sense of re­al­ity and time. Ev­ery fin­ished can­vas is a chap­ter in my story. I dream in colours and then paint those dreams. I dream of a thou­sand pictures, then I trans­form my dreams into liv­ing works of art, colour and tex­ture.

My dreams be­come my art and the can­vas holds my jour­ney. That art will be my in­spi­ra­tion for the next step that is the de­sign and cre­ation of the gar­ment. The art is then brought to life, by get­ting trans­ferred on to fab­rics to cre­ate lim­ited edi­tion and exclusive lux­ury women’s cou­ture I am proud to call Loayo Art. The Loayo woman is a so­phis­ti­cated, self-con­fi­dent woman who be­lieves in be­ing dif­fer­ent, au­then­tic and unique. A woman who does not want to fall into the con­ven­tional and who is not scared to stand out in the crowd. Through her clothes, she wants to ex­press her unique­ness and lav­ish life­style.

Do you have a favourite piece in your col­lec­tion?

I have a spe­cial con­nec­tion with each piece of the col­lec­tion but the first out­fit (to ap­pear on the run­way) is very spe­cial to my heart. The paint­ing is called: Here I am, I am Africa.

It is Africa in mo­tion. Africa not as a con­ti­nent but the one and only coun­try, the south, north, east and west come to­gether united to cel­e­brate their rich her­itage and his­tory. It is the voice of Africa in mo­tion, unit­ing all African coun­tries.

I con­ceived that piece in a way to show Africa although it’s made up of 54 coun­tries, each dif­fer­ent from the other po­lit­i­cally, so­cially and eco­nom­i­cally, they still share many sim­i­lar­i­ties and the first one is their love and re­spect for their cul­ture and her­itage, their lik­ing for vi­brant and bold colours, a sym­bol of the rich his­tory and cul­ture of Africa.

Which piece from your col­lec­tion would you con­sider a “must-have”?

The Loayo denim shirt-dress. Ev­ery woman needs to have a shirt dress in her closet. The Loayo ver­sion is an in­no­va­tive one of the clas­sic shirt dress. It is made of denim and art fab­ric. Mix­ing fab­rics and com­bin­ing colours and tex­tures added character and a per­sonal touch mak­ing it a time­less out­fit. El­e­gant and stylish yet com­fort­able, it can be dressed up or down: with san­dals, sneak­ers or heels for dressier oc­ca­sions.

De­scribe the woman who you see wear­ing your de­signs?

Pictures | Phando/jikelo/african News Agency (ANA) and AFI Gallery

DE­SIGNER Loubna Ay­ouche Com­balat takes a bow dur­ing AFI Cape Town Fash­ion Week.

THE first out­fit to ap­pear on the run­way has a spe­cial place in Com­balat’s heart.

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