Rani Zakhem, known for his beautiful and elaborate designs, was not always involved in the fashion industry. He first obtained his Bachelors of Science in Interior Design from the Lebanese American University and only after started to pursue a career in fashion at Parsons School of Design in New York. In 2009 Rani began to establish his label that carries three product lines: bridal, couture and ready to wear. He has always found inspiration in his surroundings – nature, fabric, people, history, artists, paintings, and jewellery, and each collection he produces holds a very different source of inspiration to the previous, yet always true to his brand image. Rani Zakhem creations combine feminine and modern silhouettes with luxurious fabrics that evoke a sense of glamour and elegance.
We had the opportunity of chatting to Rani Zakhem and asked him to tell us a bit about himself and his brand.
1)What inspired you to design for women instead of men?
I was attracted to the versatility of womenswear. There are so many different categories in women’s clothing. The design opportunities are endless and its creative liberty is something you don’t usually find in men’s clothing.
2)Can you guide us through your design process?
It starts off with over 500 sketches that are finally limited down to around 40 looks – the average number of looks in each of my collections. These sketches are of course based on the mood board of the collection, which takes around 6 months to complete, from gathering my inspiration to finalising the theme of the collection.
Meanwhile, as the colour palette is finalised, the fabric sourcing process begins. Once we’re done choosing the correct fabrics that fit the collection and cuts, we move on to the pattern making stage – the final stage before the completion of the looks.
Once we have the looks done on the preliminary fabrics and the story of the collection is cohesive, we move on to the final stage of sewing the actual fabric on the silhouettes and adding the embellishments of embroidery.
3)Where do you want to see your brand in the next ten years?
I am working on expanding my commercial points of sale for the RTW line across the globe. I would like to see my brand stocked in the top department stores in the world, such as Bergdorf Goodman and Harrods to name a few. Moreover, shifting to standalone stores and store-in-store are also other future plans in the pipeline!
4)Is there anyone you’d like to design for and why?
I would love to design for Charlize Theron. I admire her elegance and pure beauty.
5)How has your brand evolved since your first collection?
My brand has gone through major changes since the release of my first collection. We are now an acknowledged international brand with constant presence on the red carpet across all top tier media. We initially started a couture line and we now have three product lines: bridal, couture and ready to wear.
6)Do you follow fashion trends or do you work from your own inspiration?
I definitely work and create my designs based on my own inspirations. This is what makes the brand carry its own unique identity and aura.
7)Who are your style icons?
I do not have one style icon but I am very taken by the ancient dramatic style, especially when it exudes elegance and simplicity.
8)How do you want women to feel when they wear one of your dresses?
Confident with lots of enjoyment and elegance!
9)Are there any new design techniques you’ve introduced for the first time with your latest pieces?
Yes, I’ve introduced my in-house geometric print that has now become a brand staple and will be used in collaboration with a UK based shoe designer to launch an exclusive collection.
10)How would you describe your customer?
An elegant and confident woman who is also self-assured and relaxed with her own style.
11)Do you have any advice for young fashion designers out there?
My advice would be to follow your passion and never allow fear or failure to stop you!
Thank you Rani Zakhem for answering our questions and telling us more about the process behind your beautiful designs. We look forward to seeing your upcoming collections!