Lebanese fashion designer, Layal Makarem, has taken the world by storm with her newfound modernistic twist on jackets. Her focus remains on the traditional aspect, while giving it a simple yet contemporary feel, which is what put her and her brand under the fashion spotlight. Her designs are a true representation of luxurious materials and ultimate innovation.
Having been born into an artistic environment, can you tell us about the defining moment when you knew you wanted to be a fashion designer?
I've always had a passion for creating a brand that is unique and at the same time identifies with my culture and my own sense of style, and the right moment manifested when I was in Seville in 2014 with my husband and I decided to reinvent the Matador jacket the LAYAL MAKAREM way and develop a line that is unique and modern yet still persevering Andalusian aesthetics.
Could you tell us more about Layal Makarem, the brand?
Initially influenced by Andalusian aesthetics (traditional elite Spanish attire), LAYAL MAKAREM is a brand that combines between the traditional Matador inspired attire with Andalusian embroidery and inspirations from other countries or cultures combined.
What inspired you to start this innovative brand?
My inspiration came as a result of the uniqueness of the Matador jacket and how rare it is to find a perfectly tailored one, and how it can evolve to become a feminine yet empowering garment in its structural and embroidered aspects. I also fell in love with the history of the Andalusian aesthetics and how they relate to my culture as well.
How do you balance the traditional side with the modernistic aspects?
Even though I am preserving a traditional aspect of my brand through the embroidery and tailoring, yet I modernized it to suit the modern day woman through the versatility of the collection, the silhouettes and the materials used. I also try to portray a message through each collection every season. Last season The Chameleon Collection portrayed nature in its different colors and inspirations - the change of seasons and how a woman is reflected through them.
Which collection is your absolute favorite?
I would probably sound cliché if I said all of them, but that's the truth... However if I have been asked which is my favorite jacket? Well, it will always be the Seville since it marks the beginning of my journey that started in Seville.
Who inspires you the most in fashion? Anyone who stands out?
I'm inspired by the 'Masters' of fashion and Couture: by Cristóbal Balenciaga "the absolute Master and King of Haute Couture"; by Christian Dior who changed the way we perceive clothes on women; by Coco Chanel who defied all odds and left behind an empire of history and fashion. And from our current times, I am inspired by Elie Saab, the man who reinvented Haute Couture in the Western World according to his terms thereby succeeding to mix between our culture and that of the modern European woman through his designs. In this perfect combination of his, both women were comfortable in meeting at one point "the genius of a designer that Elie Saab is".
What pushed you to introduce the art of embroidery in your jackets?
Matador jackets are a canvas that is so unique and so delicate to create; such a canvas required the perfect art and the art of embroidery was thus introduced.
Who is the Layal Makarem brand woman? What does she stand for?
The LAYAL MAKAREM brand is for the woman who is unique; a woman who knows what she wants outs of her LAYAL MAKAREM outfit and decides to face life with the fierceness of a fighter yet her elegance maintained like the true lady that she is. The LAYAL MAKAREM woman stands for empowerment, for a woman who is there to stand out and never blend in.
How much time and effort do you invest in each piece you make?
Time and effort? Well, a lot! Sleepless nights filled with worry if we are going to finish on time or not, if a certain material would work on a certain piece, how the collection will look like... But time flies by fast when you are doing what you love, and effort is sweet when it is your passion and dream that you are pursuing.
Do you have any soon-to-be projects for the upcoming year?
We have just moved our atelier to Milan and now we are based there. The excitement is definitely overwhelming and the process of craftsmanship is phenomenal, led by a team of highly skilled artisans who ensure embroidery and design are of the highest caliber expected from LAYAL MAKAREM. A new collection is on the way and the theme it holds was inspired from a great culture that I have high respect for. So indeed a lot of exciting new steps that we are taking and showrooms displaying the LAYAL MAKAREM brand will be located in London, Milan, and New York!