Known for marrying contemporary ready-to-wear with couture-like details, Swiss-born Lebanese fashion designer Sandra Mansour is a force to be reckoned with.
With the Middle Eastern fashion industry booming right now, talented Arab designers have fast become a regional specialty. Yet there’s one standout name who has truly honed the savoir-faire of her predecessors and been steadily infiltrating the global realm of high fashion since the launch of her namesake brand in 2010 – Beirut-based designer Sandra Mansour.
Rather than building her brand on super-luxe eveningwear, Mansour has made a name for herself with contemporary ready-to-wear pieces that are designed to be mixed and matched, appealing to all audiences and personalities. She does, of course, add couture-level details – think hand-stitched sequins, beading and embroidery techniques mastered during a stint at Elie Saab – making her collections perfect for both an afternoon soirée and red-carpet gala. Let’s not forget her ‘Fleur du Soleil’ collection with H&M last year either, which made her the first ever Arabic designer to collaborate with the Swedish high street brand.
Following on from her exclusive Ramadan collection of timeless and elegant kaftans she crafted for Farfetch, attentions are now turning to her AW21 collection, ‘Au Bout du Labyrinthe’, which features modern-come-classic silhouettes combined with the most delicate of fabrics and couture-like detailing.
What were the inspirations behind your new AW collection?
SM: It all begins with a state of mind, a sentiment – staring into a labyrinth to discover a maze of possibilities, all intertwined, abstract forms floating, meeting, and constantly transforming.
Each piece expresses unique illusions like embroideries crawling like ants one over the other, whimsical lines on a crepe satin dress hugging the body, golden earrings that burst into tears hand-knitted ensemble adorned with anamorphic golden buttons created by the house. An imaginative collection that can be open to interpretation.
Can you talk us through the pieces you recently created exclusively for Farfetch and do you have a favorite piece?
SM: Those pieces are an homage to our culture. It’s an elegant and comfortable garment that is an intrinsic part of our Arab culture. For those pieces, the pattern inspiration comes from the SS 21 Dans Mon Jardin collection. We used lighter fabrics like a satin crepe to create a modern, fluid, fun, and feminine. It’s a comfortable piece of garment that can be worn day and night. My personal favorite is the cotton tie-dye.
What message do you hope to convey through your clothes?
SM: Empowering women through creativity.
How would you describe the Sandra Mansour woman?
SM: I never like to limit myself to a single type of woman, however, I aspire to create things that allow others to escape. Anyone who can dream in these pieces should wear one.
How did it feel to be the first Arab designer to collaborate with H&M?
It was the best feeling ever, to be acknowledged that way, it really stood out for me. I honestly felt a sense of excitement I hadn’t experienced before.
What’s next for Sandra Mansour?
SM: This year we will be focusing on sustainable fashion. Additional eco-friendly products and overall development for the brand.
INFO: Available at Farfetch
- Words by Naomi Chadderton