PARIS — “A girl who is used to wearing streetwear during the day, who goes to work in sneakers and jeans, wouldn’t feel disguised in one of these dresses. They’re for cool, dynamic women who aren’t interested in resembling princesses on their big day,” said Rabih Kayrouz of his bridal line, La Mariée, launching today at L’Eclaireur.
“It’s not a masked ball, it’s her day, her wedding. She should be wearing the dress, and not the other way round,” he added.
Heba Menassa, Kayrouz’s head of studio, unveiled a look from the line — an A-shaped Mikado T-shirt dress with pockets, embroidered with special opals produced by Swarovski — at the civil ceremony for her wedding in Paris in May. (She opted for a custom-made gown by the designer for the big day in Beirut in August.)
Historically, Kayrouz has been designing wedding dresses since he launched his label 20 years ago. “It was a fun experience, and it also taught me a lot,” he said.
But for his ready-to-wear bridal line, marking the 10th anniversary of the Lebanese designer being based in Paris, he wanted to do something that “looked like couture, bespoke pieces in terms of quality,” but that were cooler in attitude — “light dresses for girls who want to dance and have fun on that day.
“Lots of women today are not in the mood to have to wait six months for a dress and do fittings. Most women have jobs, they don’t have the time,” he said.
In amongst the bridal line’s 15 silhouettes is a white silk “smoking” and embroidered silk T-shirt. The range of purist long gowns, meanwhile, includes a fluid muslin-and-lace style with a small bust and tiered skirt, and a dress that remains fitted down to the waist then erupts into a full skirt. The palette is based on shades of ivory; materials include muslin, guipure cotton, silk toile, gauze and lace.
L’Eclaireur’s rue Boissy d’Anglas store has the exclusive on the line for the first six months. The plan is to start with a focus on one collection per year, with prices ranging from 1,835 euros to 9,500 euros.
Kayrouz presents his main ready-to-wear line during couture week, and has “the couture line,” an exclusive, available by special order at his Paris atelier on Boulevard Raspail. The designer added jewelry last year, and in January will introduce a permanent line of 12 house classics.
The flurry of activity could be linked to new investors — “business angel friends based between London and Beirut” — coming on board around a year ago. The designer, who has other anonymous partners, remains the majority owner of his company, which counts a staff of around 30. He declined to share revenues.
The Maison Rabih Kayrouz label is carried by around 60 retailers internationally, including Bergdorf Goodman in New York, The Webster in Miami and Dover Street Market in London.