Zaid Affas originally wanted to be an architect like his father, and his affinity for three-dimensional structures is apparent in his debut collection for fall.
Born in Kuwait to Iraqi parents and raised in London, Affas enrolled in Central Saint Martins as a fine arts major, where he began to collaborate with fellow students on fashion projects and eventually changed his major to men’s fashion design.
Upon graduating in 1998, he got a job at Ralph Lauren’s creative services department in London doing store interiors and window design, then moved to New York and began designing outerwear at BCBG. The job eventually extended to the brand’s runway collection, which brought him to Los Angeles eight years ago, after which he started his own consulting company, acting as design director for Ports 1961 among others.
A year ago, Affas, 37, started his own label (also under his consulting business umbrella, a private company with silent investors). He presented his first collection in a gallery during Paris Fashion Week in February. “I didn’t want to use any colors, print or novelty embellishment because I wanted it to be more about the form itself and the materials,” said Affas, who worked in black and white wool, wool-and-silk and wool-and-nylon blends for suits and dresses; mohair and cashmere for coats, and silk-lined Japanese triacetate for dresses. “I like juxtaposing the natural and the man-made; nature and architecture,” he said, adding that certain fabrics and shapes meant to recall rock formations, lava and coal, or building materials such as glass and steel.
Some retailers who saw looks from the 43-piece collection noted the meticulous tailoring of the suits and the sculptural forms of the outerwear, which Affas showed over minimal, drapy columns, tops and pants. One oversize coat features a double zipper that runs horizontally across the back, enabling it to be worn zipped up for a cocoonlike effect, or unzipped and longer. “Everything is made to perfection — the volume, the choice of fabrics, the detail of a pleat or a cut. Nowadays it is of real value to show how essential tailoring and construction are to a wardrobe,” said Nathalie Blanchet, buyer for Paris-based L’Eclaireur. “From this point of view, I understand the prices.” Susan Stone, owner of Santa Monica-based Savannah, had more of an eye toward the practical. “The talent is there and so is the training, but he may need to commercialize it a little more. It’s a nasty word, commercial, but things do have to sell.”
Coats and dresses wholesale between $1,265 and $1,850; dresses between $995 and $2,000; suiting jackets from $885 to $1,120, and tops and pants from $330 to $765. Everything is made in Los Angeles. “It’s a very luxury price point because of the fabrics and the hand finishing, so I think stores want to see consistency in the next season,” Affas said. So far, he has sold the line to private customers and connected with celebrity stylists such as Tanya Gill, who requested an ivory suit for a client headed to the Cannes Film Festival.
Moving forward, Affas said he plans to stick to the sculptural theme while exploring more conceptual yet easy-to-wear looks. For spring (as of now, he does not do pre-seasons), he will work in white and black treated cottons and linens. “I like the idea of slick and traditional, and I want my clothes to be different yet wearable,” Affas said. “To be really stylish and chic, a woman doesn’t need to shock people. It’s more about having a confident personality.”
London’s newly opened @designmuseum will look back on the life and work of Azzedine Alaïa in a show that the designer helped to curate before he died of heart failure last month. The retrospective, which Alaïa had worked on with Mark Wilson, chief curator of the @groningermuseum, will look at the impact of his work worldwide. The show, “Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier,” will run from May 10 to October 7. Read more about the exhibit on WWD.com #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @zefashioninsider)
@Pharrell and his wife Helen Lasichanh were among the stars that came out to celebrate @rimowa’s first pop-up concept shop. The space, which is located on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, draws inspiration from airport luggage carousels and lounge areas – and features the company’s luggage and accessories. If the pop-up is successful it could pave the way for addition temporary shops throughout the world. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA)
@carineroitfeld celebrated @crfashionbook’s first calendar last night with a dinner party at Spring Place in Manhattan. Photographed by @stevenkleinstudio, the calendar takes on a fitness theme and features @joansmalls, @gigihadid, @danielle_herrington_ – pictured here – and more. “[Carine Roitfeld] wanted me to feel sexy and she wanted me to be myself and feel it out on my own and do what I felt was right,” said Herrington, aka Miss October. #wwdeye
@saintrecords and @virgilabloh last night at @americanexpress’ “A Night With Success Makers” event. “I always bring it back to community because without that I wouldn’t have the courage,” said Knowles when asked how she has gotten where she is now. Read more highlights from their conversation on WWD.com. #wwdeye (📷: @lizdoupnik)
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@google released its report on the most popular search terms this year. For fashion brands, the list was led by @gucci, the luxury brand that stunned the market last October when it pledged to stop using fur. Runner ups were @supremenewyork and @fashionnova, along with more established brands like @louisvuitton, @chanelofficial and @ysl. #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
In yet another fashion show shuffle, @elleryland is moving its show in sync with the Paris couture calendar — though the brand is still keeping one foot on the city’s ready-to-wear schedule. Their runway show in January will coincide with the launch of a new strategy: designing two main collections each year instead of four, which will then be released in four drops. “As we all know, the system needs to change. We need to show sooner to give time back to artisans and designers to do what they do best — create,” said founder Kym Ellery. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @kukukuba)
@maxmara’s classic 101801 coat was the cornerstone of its pre-fall 2018 collection. The design team expanded the traditional double-breasted, kimono-sleeved style into a trapeze coat, lean belted styles and a peacoat and presented them in monochromatic looks – like the camel one pictured here. #wwdfashion #prefall18 (📷: George Chinsee)