HAUTE COUTURE DESIGNER
HAUTE COUTURE DESIGNER
Lebanon-born designer and visionary Ziad Ghanem captures peoples hearts with more than just clothes. Meet: The Cult Couturier
Dubbed the ‘cult couturier’ by the International fashion press Ziad Ghanem has gained a staunch global following that includes industry stylists, celebrities and devoted private clients. Hailing from Lebanon Ghanem relocated to London in the late 90’s having grown-up through a horrific civil war. Determined to make his mark in the world of fashion he packed his suitcase to the brim with ambition and headed west.
Working his way up by assisting and styling Ghanem began his own label as a ready-to-wear designer accruing loyal customers and acquainting himself with the fashion press. Over the last few years Ghanem has shifted his business towards a haute couture direction. We caught up with him post London Fashion Week to find out more about his visionary designs plus various other fashion musings…
JOJO: YOUR LABEL IS NOW FOCUSED ON COUTURE / MADE-TO-MEASURE DESIGN WHAT MADE YOU MOVE AWAY FROM READY-TO-WEAR?
Ziad Ghanem: The label naturally evolved this way. I originally trained and grew up in a couture environment and even though I started the label off with ready-to-wear I have always retained my couture roots.
JOJO: WHAT DID YOU THINK OF LONDON FASHION WEEK THIS SEASON?
Ziad Ghanem: London Fashion Week was great this season with lots of hope and positive vibes. And colourful too! I loved the Burberry show.
JOJO: AND HOW WAS YOUR SHOW?
Ziad Ghanem: My show was great thanks. It was simple and chic with a very Parisian salon feel. We spent a lot of time individually with our clients going through the collection with invite-only showings at Claridge’s Hotel. The collection is called ‘Paris is Burning' named after the film and inspired by great old couturiers. It is very colourful and very 'fashion' in a traditional couture craftsmanship kind of way. Photographer Ram Shergill documented the looks on the day and in a pre-production shoot as well as directing my show. I presented 30 pieces and 20 naked men in an Avedon style setting. We played the song ‘Paris Paris’ and the voice of Catherine Deneuve on loop as the music; her voice was taken from the film 'Le Dernier Métro' produced by DJ Munroe Bergdorf.
JOJO: IN THE PAST YOU HAVE BEEN KNOWN FOR YOUR LOVE OF TRADITIONAL CRAFTSMANSHIP AND GREEN CREDENTIALS HAS THIS ETHOS CONTINUED INTO YOUR LATEST COLLECTION?
Ziad Ghanem: I am always fair trade and ethical when it comes to working with people. I try to source lots of sustainable materials and organic fabrics that are environmentally friendly. I also love beautiful craftsmanship that you can find in traditional techniques and I use and support these where I can.
Fabrics for ‘Paris is Burning’ have deep routed origins; such as the brocade from Damask and includes a traditional weaving method called 'Nawl' which originates from Zouk Mikael (Ziad's town of birth). I am not trying to save the world, but I choose to use ethical methods to show my respect to the planet.
IF YOU CAN’T EAT THE MEAT OF THE FOX
THEN DON'T WEAR ITS FUR!
THEN DON'T WEAR ITS FUR!
JOJO: YOU TEND TO FEATURE A BROAD RANGE OF MODELS (SIZE, AGE, GENDER ETC) IN YOUR SHOOTS & SHOWS – IS IT IMPORTANT FOR YOU TO WORK WITH UNIQUE INDIVIDUALS AS OPPOSED TO SAMPLE SIZE AGENCY MODELS?
Ziad Ghanem: I make and design my clothes to dress people not imaginary super heroes. Using super-thin non-realistic models in fashion is a high form of rejecting the human's general natural shape and body. Young or old, small or big, they are in my show because they inspire me...true my models are my inspiration and they are in my show because they love dressing up and love my work too. I refuse to force my clothes on any random model from an agency. My clothes are made on my models bodies, as they are for my clients; I work with their natural attributes and make them look fabulous!
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JOJO: HOW IMPORTANT IS BEING LONDON BASED TO YOUR WORK?
Ziad Ghanem: I am inspired by London. I am grateful for the freedom and support that this city has given me. I am inspired by the people that are based in London, the diverse mix of cultures and nationalities.
JOJO: COULD YOU DIVULGE ANY FUTURE PLANS FOR YOUR LABEL?
Ziad Ghanem: It is more exclusive than ever, you can not find it in a shop and you need to come for a consultation. Humans need more than food to survive and I like to provide something that is more personal and unique to each individual. My label is Bespoke/ Couture and I am happy with that direction.
JOJO: IS THERE ANYTHING THAT YOU WOULDN’T WEAR?
Ziad Ghanem: Wear what is comfortable and what makes you feel good. I wear the first clean shirt I pick up from my closet! However, fur is horrible…if you can’t eat the meat of the fox then don't wear its fur!
JOJO: SURPRISE US!
Ziad Ghanem: My Mum got involved with this collection too…and designed all the accessories!
—by JoJo Iles
Photos: All images courtesy of Ram Shergill/Drama Magazine