Lebanese designer Rabih Kayrouz presents a single dress for haute couture week

Daring and audacious, the creation is showcased by Lebanese dancer Yousra Mohsen

The single dress designed by Maison Rabih Kayrouz for autumn / winter 2020 haute couture
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While every designer has been impacted by the ongoing pandemic, Lebanon's Rabih Kayrouz has perhaps felt it more keenly than others.

Caught in his Beirut home when worldwide travel restrictions began, he was unable to return to Paris to prepare for the all-important autumn / winter 2020 Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week.

With the fashion shows themselves upended and reconfigured as online presentations, Kayrouz decided to embrace the moment, and set about designing the collection in absentia from Beirut.

Realising that a normal collection was perhaps not best suited to the present environment, he instead took the bold step to pour his creativity and vision into one solitary dress for the season.

"We have been able to step back and look at what we are doing and to think in a positive way," Kayrouz told Vogue.

Proving the proverb that “necessity is the mother of invention”, Kayrouz designed the gown in his atelier in Beirut, before sending instructions to his atelier in Paris, where work began on crafting a single dress entirely out of burnt orange grosgrain ribbon and cord – more than 80 metres of ribbon and 320 metres of cord.

Simple, dramatic and filled with poignancy for everything else that is missing, the final gown, falling to mid-calf in rippling folds, is presented not by a model, but by Lebanese dancer Yousra Mohsen.

As Mohsen moves in the dress, the fluid lattice work becomes evident, as does the intricate and beautiful construction that needs no other fabric to hold it together.

While the creation of a single dress for the lucrative couture season will have the accountants nervously eyeing the balance sheet, it also stands as moment of pure, unadulterated creativity, and will help define the strange times we are currently living in.


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