Lebanon, a country, which is part of the Middle East, fundamentally contributes into the industry. I’m sure that the question in your mind right now is ‘how?’ Lebanon gave us fashion designers that are embedded in every woman’s fantasy that have provided a wearable form of art, from ready-to-wear, to couture. The designers responsible for that achievement could be Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Reem Acra, Abed Mahfouz, Rabih Kayrouz, and several more.
In another form of design, accessorizing to be exact, be it jewelry, watches, scarves, and the timeless “It” item, the handbag.
We’re talking about one handbag designer in specific, and his name is Gilbert Halaby, this Lebanese designer’s influence began at the age of 5, thanks to his mothers tailor – he was predisposed by the colors, prints, and the heavily embroidered pieces that he saw. Thanks to that, and a trip to Rome in 2009, he decided to start his own line.
Halaby’s pieces simultaneously provide an elegant and novel feel. They’re made in Tuscany and preserve that rich sensibility; they’re bold in color, travel friendly in shape, and can elevate a minimal outfit up to required par. The muses behind these pieces are several, and amongst them are the queen of the Opera, Maria Callas; Marion Cottillard whose irresistible charm made her the toast of Hollywood; and last but not the least, Charlotte Bronte who was – in my view – one of the most feminine figures, a force to be reckoned with.
Look at my work and you’ll be looking directly at my soul
Halaby’s SS16 collection embodies a blend of cultures, symbols, and vast historical countries – it’s a cohesive whirlwind of Ancient Greece, and Japan circa the 19th century.
The silhouette refers to a woman of strength, and eloquence – a reference also used to describe the textures of the materials Halaby used to make the products as well as the used color palette. Be it Suede to calf leather, or turquoise to the red shade of Sicilian chili pepper, the collection truly is for a woman of dominance.
Overtime, Halaby states that his work is in constant evolution, and it evolves with his personality. It is, in many ways, an extension of his soul. Some people express themselves through words, others through music – he has chosen bags. Halaby once said, “Look at my work and you’ll be looking directly at my soul”.
Amongst the collection, there is the Ksenia, which comes in two sizes: a micro and a regular, and also it comes in fringes. Another bag is The Gian Gold. There is also the It-Bag, which is called “Andrea”, which is signified because of it’s almond shaped like handles.
From Lebanon to Rome, from creativity to product production, it’s an ongoing process done by the Halaby team. Gilbert is planning to open his very first flagship in Rome, Italy, until then you can get your hands on Halaby’s pieces at Saks Fifth Avenue Bahrain.
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