The Lebanese designer Hussein Bazaza discusses the vision for his brand and finding harmony among the chaos of life.
Hussein Bazaza is a man full of inspiration. So it is quite ironic then that his latest collection Lilli is actually based on a lack of inspiration.
In a very clever twist Hussein’s fall/winter 2018 presentation brings to life a lack of passion and creativity and with a darkness of monotone colours overshadowing the collection. Lili presents a hasher style through geometric cuts, rough leather, and noticeable stitching. The pieces are glitched and blurred with hazy effects through embroidery, beading prints and motifs. This approach may seem chaotic on the surface but when the collection is seen as one it is a perfect harmony.
Hussein Bazaza has gone from strength to strength since launching his brand in 2012. The Lebanese designer took time out of his hectic schedule to get personal with A&E and reveal what the man behind this namesake brand is really all about.
Describe your fall/winter 18 collection in three words.
Fierce, edgy, and dramatic.
What is inspiring you right now?
Monsters and perfection.
How would you define your signature design style?
There’s a lot of color blocking involved; I love playing with colors and matching what most would think do not match. Also the handmade lace collage technique is seen in every collection which I will forever create since the mix of laces turn out similar to a painting. Then there are the geometric cuts which modernize my looks without losing the classic feel.
If you had to choose one piece only from the fall winter collection what would it be?
The “heartless” sweater.
What challenges do you have when putting together a collection?
There are two challenges I most often face when creating the next collection. Designing pieces that are creative yet sellable at the same time is one of them; the piece should have a strong artistic identity to it, yet not to the extent of being unable to wear it due to its dramatic intensity. The other challenge would be merging our ready-to-wear pieces with our couture pieces all in one collection and having them presented in harmony with each other.
What state of mind do you need to be in to design?
I need to be living the story with my character so that the pieces come out telling it.
What trends and patterns in the industry are of interest to you right now?
Nothing specific to be honest. For me it’s always the story behind the collection that comes first and then I decide if a specific trend or pattern to suit it.
How do you want a woman to feel when she wears your clothes?
Empowered, different and daring: empowered to take on anything that comes her way, different from every person in the crowd and daring to proudly stand out.
Have you ever considered designing menswear?
Many times but I still haven’t found the right time. I had actually produced unisex sweaters last winter and the latest “watching heart” t-shirt is for both men and women as well. Hopefully the future will hold a menswear collection from our brand.
What do you think makes your brand unique?
It is safe to say that the style of the brand is quite different than the typical style in the region’s fashion scene. The brand’s signature designs and techniques really help it stand out. The stories behind every collection give it a creativity worth waiting for every season. The consistency of the brand as well plays a big part, and we opt to offer a different mood every time.
How do you think your home country of Lebanon has influenced you?
In many ways. Beirut is a contrast of beautiful sceneries and chaotic landscapes. Because of that, I think I have learned to appreciate the beauty in things that aren’t considered beautiful.
Where do you like to travel to?
Anywhere where I can get to learn about cultures. It doesn’t have to be a new country, it can be a road trip somewhere in Lebanon.
Which other brands are interesting to you right now?
I am usually more interested by the designers behind the brands. Pierpaolo Piccioli for Valentino is my favorite.
Talk us through your daily routine.
My days are never really a routine, I am either spending time with my team in the atelier surrounded with sketches, fabrics and my favorite chaos or with clients. I very much enjoy both; one unleashes my creativity and the other allows me to showcase it to people who appreciate it.
What about your design process – where do you start from?
Always starts with a story, I envision it and try to live it in my mind while sketching drafts of a few pieces. Everything flows after that, including the cuts and choice of fabric. A lot of alterations happen throughout the process; sometimes I also eliminate designs if I feel they turned out to be off storyboard.
Who influences you most in your life?
Everyone around me influences me.
What makes you happy?
I’m the happiest when surrounded by my closest friends in a private gathering.
What angers you?
Not being able to sketch when I am inspired.
When you’re not working what do you like to do?
Watch movies at home and think about my next inspiration.
Will we get to see more of you in the UAE?
Yes for sure. I’m always looking for the right opportunities to expand the brand especially in the UAE. I’ve always been fascinated by the country, its ambition and its cosmopolitan culture which resonates with my creations.
What do you think makes someone a successful designer?
Understanding the needs of their clients and staying consistent in the fashion scene. People like to refresh and have new things offered to them every season, so designers need to meet those expectations in order to stay on top of their clients’ minds. The challenge is to attract people’s attention every season with a new story without losing the brand’s identity and core DNA.
Tell us something about yourself that no one knows.
I like to be a little mysterious!
What are you aspirations for the next few years?
To keep growing, learning and succeeding while positively impacting people I encounter along the way.