Breaking the Rule(s) of Time
Fashion design graduates put on an immersive interpretation of the eternal present.
Unlike utilitarian, socially agreed-upon time, the concept of Real Time, according to the Indian philosopher Osho, is experiencing life in the present moment – “an eternal now” – where one truly exists. Inspired by this concept, the graduating class of fashion design students explored, experimented and presented their own interpretations thereof at the seventh annual LAU graduate fashion show, this year themed Real Time.
The result was nothing short of extraordinary. Each of the ten young designers captivated the audience with collections that broke the norm, created a dichotomy, reflected internal conflicts, brought the past to life and inspired joy and playfulness.
The event took place on the rooftop of the Gezairi Building on the Beirut campus on June 12, and was attended by Honorary Chairman of the Fashion Design Program Elie Saab, LAU President Michel E. Mawad, Provost George E. Nasr, Dean of the School of Architecture and Design (SArD) Elie Haddad, vice presidents, deans, faculty, staff, students, parents and fashion enthusiasts. Alumna Roula Bahnam (BArch ’98) emceed the event.
In his welcome address, Dr. Mawad expounded on the university’s role in not only advancing professions, research and healthcare, but also in being at the forefront of creativity, originality, beauty, refinement and radiance.
“What got us to where we are now was not only dedication – of which we have plenty – but also alignment with the sectors that gave Lebanon its past glory, and which we need to recover,” he said, underscoring how events such as the graduate fashion show are “bound to have a multiplier effect and generate reverberations that go far and wide.”
Thanking Saab for being a friend of LAU, and a collaborator on a one-of-a-kind, leading program in Lebanon and the region, Dr. Mawad reaffirmed that the university “insists on being a pathbreaker in as many areas as possible, and thanks to the likes of you, Mr. Saab, we can be who we are much to the benefit of the country we love so much.”
In the same spirit, Saab applauded Lebanese talents, who not only propel the country through creative channels, but also through their unparalleled resolve to succeed. Imparting valuable advice to the graduates drawn from his 40-year illustrious career, he urged them to work every day with the same passion of the first day, to give it their all, and to embrace and take pride in their Lebanese identity.
“Everyone believes that success is measured by worldwide fame. The reality is that we live in a borderless world, and it is one’s adherence and acceptance of one’s own identity that sets one apart,” said Saab.
He also celebrated the many years of collaboration with LAU, during which “the flow of talent never stopped.”
For Dr. Haddad, the choice of theme reflected the graduates’ desire “to engage with a new reality and to grapple with the existential questions that we are all facing today.” Pointing to the difficult circumstances that came to define their journey, from the political turmoil and the economic crisis to the pandemic and the Port of Beirut explosion, he expressed his admiration of the students’ dedication, perseverance and creativity. Dean Haddad also expressed his thanks to the faculty who participated in building this program, to its director Silia Abou Arbid, and to the staff from across the university who worked hard to bring this show to reality.
Following the fashion show, three students were awarded for their work, and received prizes courtesy of one of the event sponsors, Nsouli Jewelry.
Lana Dakkour earned the Excellence in Craftsmanship Award, presented to her by Interim Program Director Silia Abou Arbid. For her collection, Least Common Denominator, she explored Muslim depictions of heaven and hell, as well as the purification phase that is believed to follow death. “The collection is very ethereal, and references ascetism – the removal of all earthly indulgences to reach the ultimate ‘self’,” explained Dakkour.
Fadia Darwish earned the Excellence in Concept Development Award, presented to her by Chairperson of Art and Design Hanibal Srouji. Her collection, Just Kidding, mocks the fancy and luxurious approach to fashion. “My collection mimics a child’s view of this world, in how they are free-spirited and oblivious to over-spending,” said Darwish.
Luna Karroum earned the Prix du Jury, presented to her by Mr. Elie Saab. Her collection, Untitled, explores the notions of refugee status, inspired by her own parents’ experiences. “I looked into silhouettes of nomads and tribal populations, as well as how they survive, and try to protect themselves,” she clarified. Determined to transmit a positive outlook to the future, Karroum adopted an approach of “hedonism for exploring the unknown,” which was reflected in her gown-like garments.