An extremely talented Arab fashion designer from Lebanon, whose work we value a lot! To share how much we like Dina JSR's designs, we wanted you to step into her world for a few minutes...
Your Spring/Summer 2013 line is very elegant, what were you most influenced by?
Different architects inspire me; I like their work, which has a lot of geometrical structure. I love implementing their work of art into my designs. The Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava inspires my Spring Summer 2013 collection. I found his work so fascinating; he’s an amazing and creative architect. He uses a lot of arches in his work so I decided to recreate these arches in my dresses. A lot of the inspiration came from the city of science ‘’L’embracle’’ ‘’ The Peace Bridge’’ and ‘’The Winery Building’’ for the plisse. It’s quite a colorful collection, the colors I used are bright turquoise, bright green, bright yellow, pale blue, pale grey, gold and of course white and black. They are summery colors that work really well with a tan. Fabrics that I used are shantung, crepe, lace, gazar, organza and satin.
What was the first piece you made? What inspired you to make it?
My first dress that I designed was a dress made out of curtain fabric. The fabric was just stunning and colorful, so I designed it into a dress. It was a topless cocktail dress with pleats. I remember the first time I wore it to a friend's wedding, it gave me a beautiful feeling, energy and confidence and that’s when I told myself this is exactly what I want to do. I want to try to make all women out there experience and feel what I felt with that dress. When I think about it, it’s the dress that started me off to become who I am today, it’s the dress that I look back to and tell myself keep doing what you’re doing.
How would you describe the general process you go through when you sketch or design?
You start working six months in advance, the first step that I do when I’m finishing my previous collection is choosing the colors that I will be using for the next collection, then the fabrics since it takes up to two months for the fabrics to arrive. Then, I research on what’s going to be my next inspiration and once I found my inspiration, I study well his or her work and see what is the strongest piece in their work and recreate it into fashion and that’s how I start designing my collection. First step, I draw sketches of the dresses and then I work on the toile which is a white fabric that you use to make the first sample of the dress, then you make the changes that you don’t like. At the end, I choose the fabric for the dress. Once I have finished the collection I take all the toile dresses with the fabrics to the factory in Paris and they start working on the patronage of the dresses. However sometimes when the dress is finished you realize that the fabric didn’t really work well for that certain design, so you either remove the dress from the collection or change it. After all the collection is done, I book for a photo-shoot for the look book and end up showing at a trade show in Paris during fashion week.
What is your favorite part of the design process?
Designing is one of my favorite part of my job, to start from 0 which is coming up with the inspiration to eventually end up with your finished dresses. However, travelling is definitely also one of my favorite parts of my job, first it helps you change scenery so it refreshes your mind and second you get to know different cultures which is fascinating.
Your favorite dress in your closet would be?
Well, that would be a dress from my first collection Spring Summer 2012, the dress is called Colonnade, it was a fuchsia triple organza and the volume of this dress and the work on it started what DINA JSR is all about.
Who would you say is your favorite designer?
My favourite designer now is Stephan Rolland, and what I find fascinating in his work is that he uses new creative techniques for every collection and his designs are just really impressive to another level. Also, I love the work of the Lebanese designer Rabih Kayrouz, I did my internship there and not only he’s an amazing designer but also an amazing person, so loving and helpful.
How would you describe your personal style? Do we see any of it in your collections?
I love the fifties and the sixties, the time of Audrey Hepburn and you can see that in my designs. I love dresses. I think for a wedding or a gala or a fancy dinner, if a woman wears a dress, it will make her feel beautiful, give her the confidence, and will show her elegance.
What fashion accessory would you never leave the house without?
My favourite accessories are bangles and big rings, I love them and I think they work well with everything you wear. I buy bangles and big rings from local designers and I would wear my rings on almost most of my fingers that to me has been my trend, to fill up my fingers with jewellery.
What would you never wear?
I stopped saying never to be honest. I remember saying that I would never wear this and a year later finding myself liking it. That's the beauty of fashion, you could always change your mind about it, but most importantly, it's the way you wear it, you make it nice in your own way. But now if I have to answer this question I would say I will never wear high waist pants, because I realized they don't suit me at all.
If you could offer one piece of fashion styling advice, what would it be?
I would say a mix of classic and trendy is what fashion should be about. You shouldn’t feel that you have to follow one trend, be creative and mix it your way. That to me is what makes fashion.
10 years from today, where do you see Dina JSR?
I hope I would walk into any place seeing women wearing DINA JSR dresses everywhere. I’d like to keep working and developing my upcoming collections but also to learn new fashion techniques and develop them. I would love to create my own fabrics, which is what I’m doing for my next collection and to expand the line of DINA JSR. And I am also hoping, not sure when the time is right yet, to also be able to create a jewelry line that goes with my dresses.