Volume 20 | issue nº 4 2019

Young Designers in Play Mode

By Raissa Batakji

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The third cohort of LAU fashion designers deliver brilliance through individuality.

A new cohort of 13 fashion design graduates put their talent to play, producing a fashion show that attested to the program’s success, and the power of collaboration with ELIE SAAB and London College of Fashion (LCF).

In late June, fashion designers, reporters, influencers, alumni as well as university leadership, faculty and staff all flocked to the vibrant scene at La Magnanerie to attend Play, the theme of the program’s third graduate fashion show. From the personal to the extravagant, LAU’s young designers mixed colors and materials, crossed gender lines, paid tribute to icons and muses and created entire outfits – including accessories, shoes and bags – from scratch.

“A year in the making,” as Chair of the Department of Art and Design Randa Abdel Baki noted, the show is a culmination of the students’ own efforts, including “versatile research, conceptualizing, planning and executing photoshoots, and building their very own brand.”

Providing background on the theme, Program Coordinator Jason Steel pointed out how difficult it is for designers to build their individual creations without copying others. “Play comes when you reflect inwards and experiment with untapped ideas,” and that is precisely what students had to do. Ultimately, he said, “they really defined what fashion practice could be.”

Abdel Baki shared LAU’s adamance to grow the program further. “We have international speakers come in every semester, as well as jury members from LCF,” she explained, adding that alongside local and international influences, students gain invaluable feedback and encouragement. Next year, the program will introduce an International Studio – a 3-credit course – designed to expand students’ exposure to global trends, and which will help them gain international experience.

Commenting on the program, world-renowned designer and Honorary Chair of the program Elie Saab expressed his pride in how “this experiment has matured,” and how “the students’ sense of responsibility and search for their creative personas have become ever more pronounced.”

In a short period of time, underlined Dean of the School of Architecture and Design Elie Haddad, the program “has taken a major leap, in a highly competitive market,” to become a reference in design education in Lebanon and the region.

Award Recipients

page25-2.jpgJihane Semrani – Concept and Portfolio Award

In O’stora, Semrani was
inspired by the formation of pearls from grains of sand into displaced entities. She drew a connection between them and Lebanese immigrants, who transform themselves and go on to shine internationally.

Therese Raffoul – Excellence and Craftsmanship Award

In Perversions of Quiet Girls, Raffoul explored what oppressed women throughout the history of the region would have looked like in our world today, had their voices not been silenced.

Jana Abou Zahra – Prix du Jury

In Depersonalized, Abou Zahra delved into the struggle of losing control of time and direction, and falling out of touch with reality.