A Conversation with Roula Bahnam

A Lebanese presenter with an enviable style, Roula Bahnam is a mom of two and an interior designer, whose passion for all things artsy has taken her to extremes. The result? Her own line of state-of-the-art clutches and – dare we say it– a killer outlook on life! Now that she has taken on the worlds of art and fashion simultaneously, the Lebanese designer doesn’t seem to be backing down one bit.

From her inspirations to her concrete designs, Roula Bahnam opens up about her career, her new line of clutches and her upcoming endeavors. And yes, it’s as juicy as it sounds!

You’re a TV presenter, an interior designer and most recently, a clutch designer. Could you tell us more about your multifaceted career?

Rooted in a successful architecture and interior design career, my latest spatial explorations have led me to apply my technical training to new mediums. Clutched*, my first line of clutches, stems from an impulse to investigate the limits of construction, form and materiality on a much smaller scale and at a faster pace, by building fashion apparel through a fusion of diverse laser-cut materials and rigorous artisanal hand work.

How did you start designing clutches?

I believe an Architect can design all sorts of things, I love clutches, so I started with that. Designing my clutch collection has become another facet of my practice at MiaSkamla, my own architecture and design firm.

Why did you specifically go for clutches and not bags in general?

I started out with clutches and now I am designing both clutches and bags.

Let’s talk design; from where do you usually draw inspiration when designing new models?

From the world of design and architecture. The “Edge” clutch is a rigorously hand-cut two-fold geometric pattern that superimposes varying materials, creating an edgy yet subtle depth of colors and textures. “Deco” is translucent wooden box, and is inspired from the Art deco movement, while “Sol”, a sleek yet dynamic clutch that can rest on its rotating wooden frame, is an ode to artist Sol Lewitt.

Could you tell us more about the process and savoir-faire that goes into their creation?

Each piece emerges from a balance between my architectural detail-oriented approach and my alliances formed with local artisans. This collaboration yields clean-lined pieces with coherent elegance, geometric boldness and refined materiality.

What’s your favorite piece in your clutch collection?

All of them. Each one of them has its own unique story.

Do you have a favorite clutch designer?

Not really.

What’s one style of bag you’d never ever wear?

I wear all types of styles.

What do you never leave your home without?

My bag and my phone.

What’s next for Roula Bahnam? Any upcoming projects?

My next upcoming collection. I hope to further push boundaries through the eventual use of unconventional materials, appealing to those who see themselves on the cutting-edge of fashion.


Cindy Menassa

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