Interview: Nathalie Trad

Nathalie Trad doesn’t need much of an introduction. She designs absolutely stunning clutches and is a well known name in every fashionable household in the Middle East region and abroad. Her clutches are a definite must have for every fashionista’s wardrobe.

 

Charney Magri - Nathalie Trad  -1212

 

Tell us a bit about yourself, Nathalie.

I was born in Lebanon and grew up in Dubai. I developed a strong penchant for asymmetric designs, which today forms the basis my line of clutches, whilst earning a BA from Paris’ ESMOD International. It was then, in 2007, that I discovered my personal design ethos: to take classic shapes – ubiquitous in our natural environment – and radically transform them, deconstructing and always trying to redefine the boundaries of fashion aesthetics.

In 2008, I relocated to New York to further pursue this vision. There, I studied Design and Management at Parsons The New School for Design and worked under the mentorship of an industry-leading accessories designer at Proenza Schouler. There, I gained experience of working in a growing fashion business and focused on gaining hands on experience designing accessories.

My time spent in two fashion capitals – Paris and New York – coupled with the expertise gained through my degrees and my quest to re-examine the foundations of traditional accessory design, helped me forge a unique signature style laying the foundation for my brand.

 

When was the brand founded and what is the inspiration behind the brand?

I was browsing through various books at my favorite bookstore in New York (“Strand”) I came across Albertus Seba’s book of illustrations, Cabinet of Natural Curiosities.
Considered one of the 18th century’s greatest natural history achievements, the book features images of a variety of insects drawn by illustrators. Believe it or not, seeing the kaleidoscope of colors on these insects’ carcasses immediately triggered in me a creative outpouring. I vividly remember being completely mesmerized by the complex forms, shapes and patterns captured in the book. Then while on an impromptu trip around South East Asia, my fascination with nature only grew stronger, I was completely taken aback by their natural wealth.
I started to go by the motto “smell with your eyes, hear with your nose, see with your ears and taste with your hands.” In doing so, I saw it all from a different perspective, which allowed me to reinterpret what I saw and led to the creation of my 2013 inaugural collection.

 

NT-Ferris-Mother of Pearl x Black Resin

What was the source of inspiration for your latest collection?

Drawing inspiration from cubism and futurism, I took a moment to look at the world from different viewpoints, as a series of fractured perspectives and lines. A universe assembled from smaller shapes, overlapping geometric planes that crystallize into a gestalt, a unified whole.

The leitmotif of my Fall 2014 collection is filtering the world through a prism, deconstructing two dimensional shapes and morphing them into three dimensional bold, exotic sculptures. Marked by elegant decadence, opulent colors and eclectic patterns.

 

NT-Stella-Cinnamon Natural Wood x Black Resin

 

What were some of the challenges you faced when you started your brand?

Until now, the most challenging part is being the creative driver of the business while at the same time running it on a day to day basis. The best part for me is being able to decide on the creative direction of the season and shaping the business in line with my vision. Nevertheless being a small business owner also means that I need to play several roles sometimes all in the span of a day. I can go from being a graphic designer, logistics, marketing, retail, finance manager, and now that I am finally starting to hire a proper team, an HR manager. Being a small business owner requires being hands on every possible front which is not an easy task.

 

NT-Tilden-Paua Blue x Black Resin

 

What do you love most about Dubai?

Dubai is a vibrant, thriving city and a gateway between the East and West. This perfectly mirrors the essence of my line of handbags and accessories: each and every one of my pieces draws on both Eastern and Western aesthetics, from my design background and creative process, to my contemporary influences, cultural heritage, and the different natural materials that I have used. Dubai represents a city that will never cease to evolve, recreate and outdo itself  and thus serves as the perfect example for me. It pushes me to expand the realm of possibilities with my designs and create truly innovative pieces.

 

Any exciting news about the brand you would like to share with us?

We have some very exciting collaborations in the pipeline!

 

– Neha Prasad

Fashion Forward Season 3: Day 1

Fashion Forward season 3 came to a close yesterday. And it ended with a bang with Amato’s show. Here’s a recap of the runways From day 1!

 

Starch

Starch foundation showcased two collections by designers Timi Hayek and Jo Baaklini.

Jo’s collection consisted of strong colours and graphic prints on clean, classic cuts with an attention to detail. He draws inspiration from the climate of the Levant and Gulf.

 

Starch - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 Starch - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 Starch - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 Starch - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

 

Timi’s collection consisted of stripes, pleats and prints in monochrome, ivory and navy blues, with raw edges and hints of sheer fabric.

 

Starch - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 Starch - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 Starch - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 Starch - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

 

Kage

The collection, inspired by the 1980’s party scene, stays true to the brand aesthetics and the KAGE girl. She loves freedom and thinks for herself. The elements from the inspiration is worked into the collection to make it more timeless.

 

Kage - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 Kage - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 Kage - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 Kage - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

 

The Emperor 1688

The Emperor 1688 was by far, one of the best shows of the night. Previously a ready to wear menswear brand, this collection showcased the expansion of the brand into womenswear and I am loving it! Inspired by the Scottish royalty, Queen Victoria and Prince Albert during their time at Balmoral Castle, the collection consists of tailored pieces in wools, tweeds and tartan.

 

The Emperor 1688 - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 The Emperor 1688 - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 The Emperor 1688 - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 The Emperor 1688 - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 The Emperor 1688 - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 The Emperor 1688 - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 The Emperor 1688 - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

 

JLS – Jean Louis Sabaji

The collection draws inspiration from nature. The collection consists of varied colours and techniques. The colours are bright and gradation is used widely throughout the collection. One thing Jean exceeds in is his technique of using 3D embellishments.

 

Jean Louis Sabaji - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 Jean Louis Sabaji - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 Jean Louis Sabaji - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 Jean Louis Sabaji - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

 

Asudari

A newcomer to this season of Fashion Forward. The collection features masculine tailoring, with sporty feminine silhouettes and sharp suiting. The collection consists of Asudari’s signature emblem and geometrical digital prints.

 

Asudari - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 Asudari - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 Asudari - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 Asudari - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

 

Ezra

A well known and loved brand here in the Middle East, Ezra Santos amazed the audience with his dreamy and extravagant couture collection. The best part? The show had snow falling while the models walked down the runway!

 

Ezra - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 Ezra - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 Ezra - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014 Ezra - Runway - Fashion Forward Dubai April 2014

(All images courtesy of Getty Images)

– Neha Prasad

Fashion Forward Is Here!

fashion-forward-april-2014-season-3

 

The most happening event on the Dubai fashion calendar is here and its better than ever! In it’s third season, Fashion Forward continues to create a platform for regional fashion and accessory designers. This season’s line up of fashion shows and fashion talks are not to be missed!

We’re looking forward to see Zayan The Label, Bashar Assaf, Kage and the regions biggest names, Ezra, Essa and Amato!

Here’s a couple of highlights from last season!

 

 

Regional Accessory Designers We Love

Accessories can make an outfit and is an expression of one’s personal style. Here are 5 regional designers whose accessory collections we just love.

 Bilarabi

Bil Arabi

Created by Nadine Kanso, this fine jewellery brand is a cut above the rest. Bil Arabi means in arabic.The designs incorporate arabic calligraphy in gold along with intricate stone settings.

NathalieTrad

Nathalie Trad

Nathalie Trad gets inspiration from nature. She uses deconstruction to change the classic shapes found in nature into something more geometrical and radical.

Madiso

Madiso

Created by Madiha Muzaffar, Madiso is known for it’s statement necklaces. Madiso’s aesthetic is extravagance and detailing.

Vanina

Vanina

Vanina isn’t your average accessory brand, it’s funky, fun and capricious. Vanina has accessories to suit each and every mood. Feeling a bit lovey dovey? Try the Amour necklace!

L'afshar

L’afshar

Acrylic box clutches are all the rage right now. L’afshar is a bespoke accessory line created by the ESMOD graduate, Lillian Afshar. L’afshar was recently launched and everyone is lining up to buy these covetable beauties.

– Neha Prasad