When the world went into lockdown earlier this year, Lebanese design duo Azzi & Osta found inspiration in escapism. Dreaming of the Netherlands, the pair envisaged endless canals winding through Amsterdam; pictured the colourful palette of a tulip field in spring; and imagined wandering through museums filled with classic paintings and ornate sculptures. The world was on pause, but the pair continued to dream of brighter days ahead. Translating their fantasy into colourful Haute Couture silhouettes for autumn/winter 2020, Azzi & Osta were due to reveal the new collection on August 20. However, when the explosion at the Port of Beirut left the city and their atelier devastated, the brand saw their work scattered in the rubble and their dresses strewn across the trees.
Despite the heartbreaking loss and the immense adversity they endured, the designers were determined to remain positive and focused. “A big part of the new collection was damaged,” the duo told MOJEH in August. “The fact that our atelier was completely destroyed, delayed us quiet a bit. But we met with our teams, we set a pact that we would prevail and although delayed, we vowed to make it happen.” Defying the odds, the Lebanese label have unveiled the Haute Couture collection, entitled ‘Reve Flamand’, just one month after they had originally planned — and it is just as enchanting as we expected.
Bursting with shimmering adornments, outrageously bright hues and billowing shapes, the AW20 Haute Couture line-up is full of optimism, hope and joy. Gloriously embellished gowns and structured separates are crafted from rich fabrics such faille, organza of silk, crepe, tulle, lace and velvet, with each look symbolising a piece of Dutch culture; from Van Gogh’s iconic still life ‘Vase of Roses’ to the intricate petals of an orange tulip.
Captured against the charm of the Maison de Gournay, rue Trabaud, in Beirut, Azzi & Osta’s lockdown escape comes to life. While this collection (and a virtual trip) whisked their minds to Europe, Azzi & Osta’s dreamy Haute Couture pieces reflect the resilience, strength and hope of the Lebanese people. “We like to think that we create dreams, and those dreams are made in Lebanon.” Azziandosta.com