Darin Hachem’s spring/summer 2020 collection revolves around the abstract work of Lebanese artist Saloua Raouda Choucair; one of the first abstract artists of the Middle East who was admired for her sculptural pieces that combine western abstraction with Islamic aesthetics. Here, Lebanese-born designer Darin Hachem explains why she was drawn to Choucair’s work and how it is reflected into her collection.
When I’m searching for inspiration, there is a “fil conducteur” that starts with the observation of our surroundings. It then becomes a starting point for deeper research in fields of arts, architecture, design and textiles; it is a wide topic. Things speak to me at a specific time and I then use them to move into the design process.
The SS20 collection was designed around the first abstract Lebanese artist, Saloua Raouda Choucair, and her wooden sculptural pieces that could be combined in different ways, but at the end still represent a single unit. She was comparing them to the Lebanese people that were, and maybe still are at some points, so diverse in terms of religions and habits, but at the same time form one single nation.
Saloua Raouda Choucair was ahead of her time establishing a new form of art in the region, which is inspiring to me as a designer. This ethos encouraged me to be courageous, move away from the comfort zone and the things I’m already accustomed to, and step toward something a bit more experimental. Even if at the beginning it doesn’t seem clear, things eventually reveal themselves on the way.
When designing this collection, I played with the combination of masculine and feminine that Saloua Raouda Choucair often explored, creating geometric but also organic shapes which can be seen in the collection’s big collars and cuffs, and the fluid silhouettes and soft lines.
Shades of beige form the main colours of the collection, recalling the raw materials artists — particularly sculptors — use. I wanted to use sandy earth tones, either shiny or opaque, with an added texture and also tried fabric tinting in collaboration with a natural dye artist in Italy, using a mixture obtained from a combination of plants. This collection was about trying, experimenting and testing, with Choucair as an inspirational backdrop.
Browse Darin Hachem’s SS20 collection at Darinhachem.com