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- Written by Roshi
- Category: Culture
Aslan Media: You were born and raised in Lebanon; what was life like growing up there and how has it impacted your life as an adult?
George Hobeika: Life was difficult. In Beirut it was challenging to achieve my goals, since the country was at war. I had to resort to sources outside the country- and away from my family- to succeed and to create opportunity.
AM: What influenced you as a child and drew you to work in Fashion? Did your parents encourage you to pursue fashion design?
GH: My mother was a seamstress, and she had her own small atelier. When I completed my university studies in civil engineering, my mother asked for my assistance in sketching designs for her clients. I began contributing my own ideas and discovered that not only did her clients like my creativity, but also that I was extremely inspired by my newfound hobby.
AM: Shortly after you chose to pursue fashion, you moved to Paris — what was that experience like?
GH: It was amazing, since I had the opportunity to experience the Parisian fashion industry and to intern in several prestigious fashion houses. It enabled me to build a strong and knowledgeable foundation for the George Hobeika brand.
AM: Obviously your training in Paris had an influence on you and your designs — to what extent do you feel your Lebanese culture and heritage has influenced your design aesthetic?
GH: I believe that the struggles we have experienced, as a culture, in combination with the fantastic beauty and complexity of our culture has been one of the major impetuses for the rich aesthetic people usually comment on in my work. It is the result of passion, true appreciation and suffering.
AM: Do you have a specific type of woman in mind when you sit down and sketch a garment? Lebanese or Parisian women?
GH: When I create a collection, I start with a theme, rather than designing for a specific woman. Within that theme, I design dresses that appeal to a range of feminine personalities.
AM: What is your impression of Middle Eastern fashion design today?
GH: My impression is that the tendencies are changing rapidly, which is such a motivating factor for me in that I can create one collection that appeals to both a Middle Eastern-specific and broader international market.
AM: Has the oeuvre of other designers influenced your-self as a designer?
GH: I truly enjoy seeing amazing work in fashion. Whether I personally like it or not, I use it as an inspiration to be more and more creative and courageous with my own work.
AM: What is your perception of how your work has been received by the fashion world and its global audience?
GH: The response to my work has been extremely appreciated by my entire team and me. It is wonderful to know that our efforts are being appreciated for what we hoped — their beautiful artistry and sheer creativity. All feedback I receive is positive for me, because it means that I have created a reaction, and I can always find a way to benefit from the knowledge I gain from that reaction.
AM: Does your family and your personal life ever factor into your designing? Do you ever discuss your artistic motivation with them?
GH: My two sons are extremely proud of my achievement as a designer, and I’m happy that this pride motivates them to approach their own career decisions seriously. In casual conversation, my artistic motivation may come up with them and my wife, but I try to keep a healthy separation between my work life and my home life.
AM: What has been your personal favorite garment that you have designed?
GH: I actually can’t pick a single, as I have many favorites which stand out in my mind because of very unique stylistic elements that make each one wonderful in its own right.
AM: In your newest collection, what are the main aesthetics you are using?
GH: I’m using aesthetics related to the sea from the color palette, as reflecting the shades of sea stones to the look of fossils etched into those stones and seashells. Also, the flowing nature of the dresses is reflective of this theme.
The narrative description of George Hobeika’s Spring/Summer 2011 collection Maiden of the Deep reads as:
In every woman’s soul swells a sea of emotion, culminating as priceless treasures on the shore of her innermost desires. Some live the legacies of history’s most iconic female figures; others are the quintessential expression of femininity in their time. Georges Hobeika’s Spring-Summer 2011 Couture collection is an ode to the depth of the female spirit and to the beauty of its mysterious nature.
Subtle embellishments of moulage (i.e. like a wave), pleats and brine (i.e. brine is a couture technique) are uniquely cast on luxurious chiffon, georgette, crepe and organza, like fossils etched timelessly into shell and stone. While shades of sea stone (refers to actual stones that are in the sea and on the shore, their colors are grey-based) in grey-based nuances of lilac, beige and white grace this season’s color palette. Creating stories without words, the collection features long and short dresses with a variety of flowing and geometrical silhouettes that float over shimmering sands.
The end result is a collection that speaks of grace, femininity, and fashion’s ability to be an expression of beauty in a world where peace is difficult to come by.By Erin Joyce, Aslan Media Art Editor
Photographs courtesy of George Hobeika
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