Not only did he design one of the most talked-about dresses of 2012 — the sheer nude number Kristen Stewart wore for the Los Angeles premiere of the latest “Twilight” movie — but last November, the Lebanese designer was designated a guest member of Paris Couture Week.
The honor marks a turning point for the 41-year-old, who has been showing couture in Paris on the sidelines of the official calendar since 2001. “It was a dream of mine, and now I feel like I am being recognized by my profession,” he told WWD in his spacious new salon, located on the floor above the showroom-store he opened in 2007 on the tony Rue François 1er. His global headquarters, meanwhile, occupy an 11-story building in the Gemmayzeh district of Beirut, home to a flagship boutique and 150 staff. RELATED STORY: Zuhair Murad Spring Couture 2013 >>
Murad, who is the sole owner of the brand, employs a dozen people in Paris, and plans to hire up to eight more in 2013 to keep pace with the label’s rapid expansion.
Known for his Grecian-inspired draping and opulent embroidery, the designer is a favorite of celebrities including Taylor Swift, Blake Lively and Jennifer Lopez, who had him whip up six looks for her last tour. “I love making stage costumes, because with celebrities, you have free rein,” he said. “I’m not a minimalist designer anyway. I love detail. I love meticulous, painstaking workmanship, and I adore lace and embellishment on dresses.”
For this couture collection, Murad sent out an array of gold-embroidered gowns that had red-carpet written all over them. On one, a richly embroidered bodice dissolved into sequined arabesques on a nude silk tulle train. Others were Grecian in spirit, with wafting panels of chalk-colored chiffon or silk tulle, set off with gold or platinum embroidered motifs.
Murad also produces ready-to-wear and recently upgraded his accessories line, with a collection of shoes, handbags and belts made in Italy. The rtw is carried in about 90 points of sale worldwide, including Saks Fifth Avenue and Bergdorf Goodman in New York; Neiman Marcus; Harrods in London, and Tsum in Moscow.
In the next six months, Murad plans to open standalone boutiques on Qatar’s man-made island, The Pearl, and in Kuwait, with others set to follow in Italy, Turkey, Russia and the U.S. over the following three years. “I hope to develop a full-blown lifestyle brand,” he said. “Design for me is not just about fashion, but also architecture, interior design, furniture, perfume and cosmetics.”
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion