Talking exclusively to MOJEH, Syrian-born designer Rami Al Ali discussed his latest Haute Couture collection for spring/summer 2020. Presented in Paris, the 22-piece showcase revealed a fantastical take on avant garde with feminine silhouettes adorned in tulle and silk organza. Here, the Middle Eastern designer offers a backstage glimpse into the floral-inspired collection.
What inspired you to work in fashion?
Growing up around four sisters and my mother, I had the privilege of being introduced to the world of women through them. Their interaction amongst each other was my early education in the world of fashion and gave me a better understanding when it comes to designing for women. They’ve had a great impact on the brand and are a constant source of inspiration.
How did the label come to be?
I had always been interested in fashion from a very young age and I knew that my career would always take a creative route. I moved to Damascus where I studied Visual Communication at the College of Fine Arts. It wasn’t until my graduation project, where I decided to conduct a fashion show, that I realized fashion would form a big part of my future. After that, I focused all my energy into making my dream a reality.
Describe your aesthetic for the SS20 couture collection?
For SS20, we embraced the celebrated orchid and channelled its splendour. A symbol of beauty and strength, the orchid is delicate in its nature but bold in its stature. I looked to illustrate not just the physical beauty of the flower but also the essence of what it represents. It encapsulates the spirit of couture, and also the DNA of the Rami Al Ali brand.
How did you incorporate the orchid into your designs?
The orchid is a flower that has always fascinated me; it represents the concept of couture in the context of a flower. Its fine lines and strong details are translated into my designs. It’s elegant, feminine, romantic and has sensual shapes that also appear strong, much like my designs.
What materials did you choose to work with?
Mainly tulle for its fluidity and ability to shape strong forms yet look delicate and light. I also incorporated satin and silk organza, as well as lace but not in a classic, floral sense.
Which is your favourite piece?
I have several favourites in the collection. Some of the deigns I knew would be particularly strong from the initial design sketch and others came to life while experimenting with new design techniques introduced this season.
Talk us through your design process ?
I usually start by compiling 2-3 themes and create a universe of inspiration for each. From there, I see which I’m most affected by and what inspires my creative vision the most organically. The orchid was derived from one of these initial concepts. I immediately began creating designs and using references that complimented our brand DNA. I then begin selecting the Pantone colours and working on the first phase of production by experimenting with new silhouettes and structures. Once I have an initial plan I look to develop the rest of the collection.
How does this collection differ from previous seasons?
The collection is formed with fresh new ideas that have evolved over past seasons. There is a certain character of a woman that inspired the house and has influenced the collections season to season. It’s this Rami Al Ali woman who the brand channels to influence the collections.
What do you think the future holds for Haute Couture — how will the craft develop?
I think there is a greater demand for the concept now than ever before. In the current fashion climate, the desire to obtain individuality is something still revered. Couture is the ultimate expression of individuality; therefore it allows the industry to continue to flourish.
What do you love the most about Haute Couture week?
I enjoy having this dialogue not only amongst the people in the industry but everyone that appreciates beauty and art.
What has been your career highlight to date?
I still consider myself in the stage of shaping my professional character. I have been through a lot and accomplished many professional feats but I still have much to achieve.
What has been the most challenging part of your career?
Being self-made and self-funded makes it challenging to grow as it limits your ability to grow at a rate you might otherwise wish to be. Although challenging, it’s also something that I’m proud of because it shows how far I have come.
What does the future hold for Rami Al Ali?
Professionally there is a lot of exciting plans install for 2020. Some have been in development since 2019 while we continue to perfect the concept and execution.