As they were about to finish their Fall/Winter 2020-21 Haute Couture collection earlier this year AZZI & OSTA designers George Azzi and Assaad Osta had their world turned upside down when the explosion in Beirut port took place on 4th August 2020. Months of hard work and their brand new atelier were destroyed in an instant.
But even this tragic event couldn’t stop the determined designers from bringing their latest Haute Couture designs to life. A collection dedicated to those who have lost everything in the blast and the hope to rise again.
The new Haute Couture collection “Reve Flamand” is inspired by travel; even if it is just in our dreams. While all of us are dreaming of travelling again, the reality is, it’s not possible at this time, so the two Lebanese designers have captured that desire we all have at this moment. Created during the pandemic the collection was inspired by the designer duo’s desire to escape the closed doors of their atelier through their unparalleled imagination transporting them to navigate the endless canals of Amsterdam.
The collection began its journey with the tulip – it’s bold colours and fascinating frills. Inspired by the bright colour palette of tulip fields and the joy they spark. This was combined with the designer’s love for art history.
Faille, organza of silk, crepe, tulle, lace and velvet were al key players in the collection – fabrics representing the textures of those tulip fields.
Embroidery in golden threads, lit with pearls, are sown on an oversized jacket with large lapels, dropped shoulders and puffed sleeves reminiscent of the ‘Queen of night’ tulips, a fairyland where petals dragonflies and pineapples coexist in harmony.
A black jumpsuit is adorned with complementary patterns, ending with an imposing choker collar embroidered with crystals and baroque pearls. The is called “Rembrandt Gold”.
Blye tones are key to the collection, representing the sky while contemporary silhouettes, combined with medieval influences create a unique twist of old meets new. Embroidered tulips, a cape lined with tulle and an interpretation of Vincent Van Gogh’s “Vase of Roses” highlight the fascination with art and flowers.
The ribbon bow belt plays in this collection the role of a red thread borrowed, out of admiration, from the trompe-l’oeil of Samuel Van Hoogstraten, painter of the 17th C. known for its hyperrealistic assemblages of motley objects held by cords. Trompe-l’oeil elements appear through the collection in tactile collages inspired by Flemish tiles on a white organza coat.
La Maison d’Orange is represented by an asymmetrical dress cut in an abundance of silk faille from the bright orange of the ‘Orange princess’ tulip, short from the front and long from the back in an impressive ball gown dominated by an oversized top embroidered with shimmering crystals in a cross pattern.
The collection was photographed in the old-fashioned charm of the Maison de Gournay, rue Trabaud, in Beirut. The walls covered with paper or fabric, painted or embroidered with landscapes of floral or bucolic inspiration, some borrowed from the great currents of interior design or from artists of all eras, offered an ideal field to develop around dresses of endless narratives.
Between wall coverings, porcelain, fabrics and curtains made by creatives and craftsmen, de Gournay signs interiors whose philosophy responds to Baudelaire’s Invitation to a Voyage, precisely inspired by Holland.