Interviewing Layal Makarem gets more interesting every time, and each conversation reveals a lot about her brand “Maison Makarem”, making us fall deeper for it. Here’s how our latest dialogue went:
What are the key pieces that make your brand unique?
Maison Makarem introduced key pieces that stood out at a time, especially in the Middle East, which was more exposed to Haute Couture brands and importing ready-to-wear pieces. It introduced the classic white shirt, the tailored trouser and Caban, the wrap coats and dresses that can be worn from day to night. The most important part is the craft put into creating each piece and combining luxury with practicality.
What is the ultimate piece from your collections that you think a woman should definitely have?
The iconic Maison Makarem white shirt is the go-to piece and most essential item of clothing every woman should have in her wardrobe.
Amidst the ongoing crises in Lebanon, what encouraged you to open the new pop-up in Saifi?
When Maison Makarem launched in London in 2016, the aim was to move the brand’s headquarters to Beirut, first of all because we’re Lebanese founders and designers - both my sister Shereen and I, and second of all and the most important part is the amazing craftsmanship we have in our home country Lebanon. In addition, our ultimate aim was to always support this craftsmanship because we believe in it. And after the hardships Lebanon went through, we wanted to show how much we still believe in our country and decided to open a pop up this Summer 2022 in Saifi Village even though we have our Raouche Studio in Beirut as well. We will never stop believing in our country and supporting it.
Can you tell us more about the amazing "Rebirth of Venus" SS22 collection?
In this collection, MAISON MAKAREM felt a deep sense of nostalgia for the first creation it ventured into: the Matador-inspired jacket. The Maison also experimented with new types of fabric, thus leaning more towards sustainable fashion in terms of production quantity and providing certain pieces upon order only. The collection takes its inspiration from the surreal times the world is currently going through and how life is viewed from different visions. With an ongoing global pandemic and political unrest, surrealism in fashion seems to make a lot of sense now. After all, the motive of the original surrealist artists was to show a fragile world full of tension in a new, delicate state. This is manifested in the Maison’s hand painted fabric through dream-like scenes and symbolic images that are a work of art executed by the Creative Designer to create automatism and a spirit of spontaneity. Motifs inspired by Salvador Dali and Rene Magritte are present throughout the collection symbolizing bizarre assemblages of ordinary objects that are translated into a painting and then envisioned as a garment. Simply put, this collection blends ‘the desire for newness’ with ‘the need for confidentiality’.
What are the future plans of MAISON MAKAREM?
We are excited for the time being to be taking things slowly in terms of expansion and, at the same time, the past year has been very exciting in terms of launching our new website and having onboard a wonderful team of new members that are driving the brand to where it’s supposed to be going. Most importantly is our devotion to “The Cycle of Goodness” that the brand has been committed to since day 1, and that is giving back. We are working on a project that we can’t reveal yet, but that will involve an organization that we always work with when it comes to children, and to which all of our profit will go. We will keep you updated!
Article Written by Gabrielle El Kosseifi