We chat with the Dubai-based, Syrian-born couturier, who wowed the crowds in Paris at Haute Couture Week.
Rami Al Ali's latest collection is 'feminine with an edge'
Rami Al Ali just marked his fourth showing in the French capital. We caught up with him as the curtain fell on his latest collection
Describe the autumn/winter 2013/14 collection you've just shown.
It consists of 26 pieces, mostly made up of floor-length gowns with high necklines, cinched waists and A-line cuts.
I've explored quite a bold colour palette this season, incorporating deep, rich shades of blue and purple. These are broken up by more neutral tones such as brown, beige, black and grey, adding a metallic dimension to the line.
For this collection, there's a real mix of both heavy and lighter fabrics. I wanted to encapsulate femininity through flowing gowns while adding an edge with more dramatic, structured pieces. Textiles include chiffon, lace, tulle and organza with crystal, paillette and leather embellishments.
What was the main inspiration behind the pieces?
The inspiration behind this collection is the symbolist painter Gustav Klimt. I'm a huge fan of his work and, similarly to myself, his pieces embody the female form, which is something I always strive to incorporate into my designs. The artist also had a real eye for detail, which is a strong part of my own design aesthetic and can be seen throughout the collection with Klimt-inspired graphics.
What was the process of putting the collection together this time around?
My last collection was based on The Great Gatsby and I was adapting styles from the Roaring Twenties to bring them into the modern era. This time round, with Klimt as my inspiration, it was a lot more challenging converting his artwork into fashion.
After settling upon the theme, I began to compile mood boards. I then started sketching designs and thinking about the colour palette that I wanted to explore before sourcing fabric samples that I felt would work well.
A seasonal collection is always a very stressful process that involves long hours and sleepless nights, but I'm always really excited to work on these and I had particular fun with this theme.
Talk us through the big day.
The morning of my presentation I woke at 6am, grabbed a quick bite to eat and headed straight to the venue, Le Meurice hotel in Paris. There were still a lot of last-minute preparations to do before show time, so I headed straight to the models, who were having their hair, make-up and final dress fittings done.
The morning of the presentation is always a bit of a blur. I tend to run around a lot. It doesn't seem to matter how well-prepared I am - there is always a lot of last-minute stress. By 10am, the models were lined up and ready to hit the stage, while I was still making a few final adjustments to the gowns.
My presentation lasted four hours, with the models grouped by colour and style of the dresses so that the whole presentation flowed aesthetically. Once over, I spent time meeting and greeting the media, being introduced to new people and reconnecting with familiar faces.
It was then on to an evening soirée at Le Mathis, where I treated the team for all their hard work and thanked everyone for their amazing support. It's been another fantastic presentation in Paris and I'm delighted.
Which Paris shows will you be hoping to catch while you're in town?
Now that I've presented my collection, I'm planning to see a few of the shows, including the couturier Stéphane Rolland's. His design aesthetic is not too dissimilar to my own, with creations that celebrate the female form and embody intricate detailing.
What are your plans for the summer?
When I return from Paris, I'm heading straight to Lebanon for a few days with the team and then I'll be returning to Dubai in time for Ramadan. I'm looking forward to catching up with friends and attending a few suhoors and iftars. I'll also have client meetings and, of course, there's my ready-to-wear line that I'm planning to launch soon, so I'll be very busy working on that in the coming months.
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