Interview

Women of style

By Janine Ayoub
May 14, 2019

Photos: Sayde Jabra

Creators of clothing, bags, jewelry ... tales dedicated;  six women entrepreneurs share with us their passion, their dreams and their vision of feminism.

CARLA BOSNOYAN

Founder of the label Fracshion*

#WomenEmpowerment

Equal chances in both private and public sectors. Equal chances that will allow qualified women to take part in strategic decisions.

How do you define your style?

Identical to my prêt-à-porter brand: decontracted and chic with affordable prices.

What’s new?

I'm working on my line of swimsuits and beachwear that should be launched this summer. In terms of social responsibility, we support many disadvantaged mothers and daughters by offering them clothing from previous collections.

Do you have an upcoming project or a dream?

My dream is to see Fracshion grow around the world, and I'm working hard to make this dream a reality soon. Another project is fully integrated production for a 100% control of quality and deadlines.

The piece to wear this season?

 A colorful bodysuit under wide-legged high-waisted trousers or flared asymmetric dress. @Fracshion 

CYNTHIA WARDE

Founder of the platform In Action Events*

#WomenEmpowerment

Women do not need empowerment, it is rather the recognition that women seek and a real place in society while being treated so fair and just.

How do you define your style?  

Between classic and eccentric, rock and baroque. My style is full of contradictions, I like change and I think we have to adapt to every situation and opportunity. The style keeps on evolving while reflecting the individual identity.

What’s new?

Our activities are many. In March, the Mother's Day brunch for the NGO "Brave Heart" and in collaboration with Special Madame Figaro. As the motto of In Action Event is to put our services to the benefit of society, we always try to support a cause while encouraging local talent in design and art. See you again this year: Family In Action in April, the Bashkir exhibition in May, Summer In Action in June, Flashback in July, Kids in Action in September...

Do you have an upcoming project or a dream?

My dream is to see my company become the reference for events of all kinds. This year my project is to create my own designer accelerator with the support of philanthropists and local authorities. I am very proud of the Lebanese design and the creativity and quality of Lebanese production.  

The piece to wear this season?  

Always and again the blazer in all its forms and textures. This piece can enhance the style of any look. @in.action.events

ALISSA ZAKARIAN

Creator of the jewelry brand Alissa Zakarian Jewelry*  

#WomenEmpowerment

Womeshould be free and equal to men in a society dominated by men. It also addresses gender-based discrimination in employment opportunities and social status.  

How do you define your style?  

Simple but elegant, versatile but very personal. I try to illustrate this duality, the main source of inspiration, in my jewelry collections.  

What’s new?

am working on the codes and the image of my brand: simplicity, elegance, and creations for every day of the woman's life. I speak to the woman who works and who offers herself pieces that reflect her strength and confidence.

Do you have an upcoming project or a dream?

My dream is that my jewelry gives women who wear it the feeling that they can do it all.  In the short term, my project is to make my brand an independent online label, and on the long run, my ambition is international expansion.  

The piece to wear this season?  

The mono earring which still is in this season.  But beyond trends, choosing a piece of jewelry should be a reflection of your personality and style. The trends are ephemeral and what matters is to say "I feel beautiful" by choosing a piece.  @ Alissazakarianjewelry

STEFFY GEMAYEL

Creator of the label Steffy*

#WomenEmpowerment

An ambitious and independent woman with the power to assert herself.  As a designer and entrepreneur, I express myself through my creations and I want my pieces to give women a sense of self-confidence.  

How do you define your style?  

It is in perpetual evolution but with recurring characteristics: overlays, "mix and match" in colors, textures or brands, and especially many accessories.  

What’s new?  

I am a jewelry designer and gemologist for the Gemayel family business since 2014. At the same time, in 2017 I launched my own line of Steffy clothing and accessories. The days are long and the nights are short, but living with passion is priceless.

Do you have an upcoming project or a dream?

Since my early childhood, I have been fascinated by New York, its dynamism and its mix of cultures and styles. It would be a real accomplishment for me to open my own Steffy boutique in the heart of this city. Currently, my project is to multiply the points of sale of my brand, especially in department stores.  

The piece to wear this season?  

My black "Steffy" jacket.  It gives an artistic touch to any outfit and accompanies the woman both at work and in the evening. The ideal piece to wear this spring.@Steffy_gemayel 

NADA TALHAME

Designer of the ready-to-wear brand Nada Talhame*

#WomenEmpowerment

I like to see this term from the following angle: behind every remarkable woman lies a group of women who support her. It is precisely this beautiful feminine solidarity that will ensure that one day we will not have to talk about "Women's Empowerment" anymore. This will become, I hope, an obviousness.

How do you define your style?  

I think that in 2019, it would be more interesting to talk about "mood" rather than style ... Each season, a different atmosphere attracts me ... What is certain is that I always dedicate my collections to a confident and unique woman. Structured cutting and searching for ideal materials are two essential steps in my creative process. Is it a style? Maybe...

What's new?  

At this moment, I am particularly interested in social media. I really like getting closer to my "Instagram family" by introducing them to the woman behind the brand while giving them the opportunity to buy online. I saw that it creates trust and awareness, which are very precious to me.

Do you have an upcoming project or a dream?

Complete my brand with a range of cosmetics. Fashion and beauty have, for me, become inseparable ... This association is the DNA of my current concept.  A "beauty room" is already at the heart of my shop, where my line of ready-to-wear and a very sharp selection of makeup products coexist in harmony.  

The piece to wear this season?  

The 80's inspiration jacket with exaggerated shoulders will be in my opinion the "must-have" of summer 2019.  @nadatalhame 

JOUMANA DAGHER

Creator of the bags brand Joumana Dagher*

#WomenEmpowerment

Empowerment is a process through which every woman becomes an agent of change. More simply, we start from "I can not" to "I can". Currently, women are rewriting their fate. And as Barack Obama says, "When women succeed, nations are safer and more prosperous. ".

How do you define your style?  

It is infinite and indefinite. My style is my inspiration, my days, my life ... and continues to evolve over time. Five years ago, my bags corresponded to a more exotic lifestyle; today, they are rather minimalist, more elegant and serene. I opt for the "less is more" more often.

What’s new?  

I work constantly on the development of the distribution network, whether local or international. We now have several sales outlets in Lebanon, including one at the Duty Free of Beirut airport. Abroad, you can find my bags in Dubai, Abidjan, and Port of Spain. I will soon launch the spring-summer 2019 collection, a nice surprise!  

Do you have an upcoming project or a dream?

My work is a continuous project; like high-level athletes, to continue in the race you have to work on yourself all the time. My dream is not necessarily to be recognized but that my brand leaves a mark in the world of fashion.

The piece to wear this season?  

Bag-belt, tote bag, mini or maxi pocket, backpack, round-shaped beach bag ... Whatever your choice, do not forget that your bag must be chic but not too much, practical but unique, and it must especially be reflecting you!  One thing is certain: 2019 promises to be colorful.@ Joumana_dagher