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.”
Breaking: @cushnieetochs’ co-founders @carlycushnie and @ochsmichelle are parting ways. After a 10-year run, Ochs is leaving the brand. Get the full story on WWD.com – link in bio. #wwdnews #wwdfashion
@maybelline’s Kanako Takase had snow bunnies in mind when creating the beauty look for @philipppleininternational. Playing off of the bedazzled snowboards in the collection, Takase mixed two highlighters together for a luminous sheen. #wwdbeauty #nyfw (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
“There’s a huge gap between the old way of doing things and today. It takes the youth to help evolve that. You have to count on the kids today to help lead you into the future. A lot of these retailers are stuck in the past. Communication is the biggest thing,” said @ronniefieg of @kith on the youth’s role in retail. On Monday night, Jeff Staple moderated a keynote session with Fieg and @syresmith at Assembly - a series of workshops, talks and keynotes addressing topics or issues in the apparel industry. Head to WWD.com to read more advice from Fieg and what Smith thinks of his dad @willsmith’s Instagram account and sustainability (📷: @weston.wells)
@joansmalls closed the @michaelkors fall 2018 show in black sequined pants and a varsity T printed with 19 on the front and 81 on the back. 1981 – the year Kors went into business. #wwdfashion #nfyw (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
“You think your life is going to be a certain way, and nothing you thought would happen ends up happening. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d be designing clothes and working with Mickey Drexler, and building something I’m deeply proud of,” said Jenna Lyons. Nine months after leaving @jcrew, Lyons is exploring the meaning of happiness. Read the interview, where Lyons talks about reinvention and more on WWD.com – link in bio. #wwdfashion (📷: Farrell) #jennalyons #jcrew