This year saw a new name in the fashion scene earn much attention with designs that draw inspiration from women's silhouettes and echo earthy colors in elegant hues.
Ahram Online talks with Christine Massarany, the woman behind the latest fashion name in Egypt:
Ahram Online: Tell us more about what drew you into the field of fashion design?
Christine Massarany: I have always been fascinated with fashion and I’ve had a passion for it since I was 18, but at that age, I was too young to translate this into a career path. I went on to study finance and worked after graduation in PR and advertising. Five years later, I got married and decided to quit my advertising career to look for fashion courses and slowly started my fashion journey from there.
It wasn’t until I had my second child that I could fully commit to working on a first collection. For that I took two courses in Egypt and one at the University of the Arts in London (UAL). I finally launched my debut collection in the fall of this year, 2017.
AO: What does it take to start your own label and make it as an independent designer?
CM: To start my own label I had to work hard and really long hours to get to this final result. It takes dedication, persistence and definitely attention to detail to make sure that every piece is a unique one and to persevere through the workload.
I was always passionate about fashion design and I was just waiting for the right time to start my project, but what I discovered was that the perfect time never came so I just decided to start taking courses.
I participated last year in La mode a Beyrout Cairo, and it was considered my final project and I was one of the 8 finalists. After the competition a lot of the images from the competition went viral on the social media and people started contacting me to ask about the collection.
At that point, I felt very encouraged to finally take the chance and launch my label. It’s from here that the serious and stressful part started.
I started looking for tailors, but it wasn’t easy finding a high-end tailor with an open mind who was willing to do something different and keep trying until we reached the best result.
Even in the tailoring process, sometimes I sketch a dress and we execute it and then I realize at the second fitting that I don’t like it anymore, so we have to go back to square one.
The thing with passion is that you never feel satisfied, you seek perfection and you can’t just let go of the small details.
I’m the type of person who loves to do everything herself, from choosing the fabric to doing the final finishing of the dresses and collection. So it gets very hectic. But it feels very fulfilling in the end when I see the end result
AO: Street fashion, ready-to-wear and haute couture, in what general area of design do you wish to work?
CM: My brand is considered a semi-couture brand. So I design pieces that can be considered as evening wear, like dresses and jumpsuits that are ready to buy and wear. It’s basically between RTW and Haute Couture.
AO: Some of the very famous names in fashion use software to produce design, how do you regard this approach?
CM: I personally prefer the traditional and the simple sketches using pencil and paper that you do with your hands, and you feel it very good, as I enjoy it more and love the details of doing the shadows with your finger -- it looks so real at the end.
AO: Tell us more about the concept of being inspired by the mushroom shape in your debut collection?
CM: I find the oyster mushroom really inspiring. I love the beige color mixed with the yellow tones having a touch of brown. I’m the kind of person who loves details and usually notices the very small things and fall in love with them so I was fascinated by the little details in the oyster mushroom. I loved the warmth of its earthy tones, and it reminded me of riches and regality.
AO: What drew you to the color palette of earthy tones that you chose for your current collection?
CM: The color palette was mainly inspired by the earthy tones of the oyster mushroom and the nature surrounding it. So I incorporated gold and silver tones with earthy tones of yellow, white (crème) and beige.
AO: Temraza, Okhtein, Norine Farah, to name just a few are some of the Egyptian names in the fashion industry that gained recognition internationally, what paves the way to such success in your opinion?
CM: Work that is different and of high quality definitely pays off in the end. This, coupled with good marketing and PR, plays a very important role in bringing the label and the designer's exposure in different markets and enables more people to view her or his work and appreciate it.
AO: What challenges face fashion designers at the time being?
CM: From my point of view, I think the challenges a designer faces most are manpower and quality control.