Beirut-based designer Sandra Mansour is producing a diffusion collection with Swedish high-street powerhouse H&M, making her the first Arab designer ever to do so.
In the past two decades, H&M have produced lines with Stella McCartney, Lanvin, Sonia Rykiel, Erdem, Versace, Alexander Wang and more. But it has never worked with one of the many prominent Arab designers that are regulars on international runways, until now.
Masour's range will be in selected stores from Thursday, August 6 (it will also be available at ae.hm.com).
The range traverses a strictly muted palette of mushroom greys, ivory and black. Expect dresses enhanced with ruffles and layers, blouses and skirts, as well as a tailored blazer and a printed T-shirt and hoodie.
Mansour named the collection Fleur du Soleil after she became fascinated with the way a sunflower follows the sun from day into night. That inspiration can be seen in dot, floral and sunflower motifs throughout the designs.
"Poetry and painters inspired the selection of fabric – the dark laces, jacquards, and embroidered organza," Mansour adds of her inspiration. "With the Fleur du Soleil collection, I want to talk to women around the world by sending a message of hope, something we really need right now."
A design from Sandra Mansour's main label (not the H&M collaboration):
Female artists such as Toyen, Dorothea Tanning, Lena Leclercq and Bibi Zogbé are said to have been of particular inspiration to her for the collection. Zogbé is a Lebanese artist known for her paintings of florals.
Mansour started her eponymous label in 2010 (having worked with Elie Saab in the past). And while the designs are available internationally from Farfetch to Harrods, every piece from her high-end collection is made in her atelier in Beirut.
She is incredibly inspired by painters (that was her original career goal), and is known for her hand and thread embroidery. This craftsmanship is particularly apparent in her bridal line, which produces both collections and custom pieces. Princess Ekaterina of Hanover wore one of her bespoke dresses at her wedding in 2017.
The gown took 10 months to create, and honed in on Ekaterina's Russian heritage: