Fadwa Baalbaki recently unveiled her first women’s ready-to-wear collection. The Spring-Summer 2023 collection, unlike its couture collections, is made of colors, retro silhouettes and unparalleled jewels that would make a woman weak at the knees.
If you know Baalbaki’s story, she and her family had to flee Lebanon during its tumultuous civil war that lasted from 1975 to 1990. Spending her youth in Paris, she developed a love for fashion and all of its sensibilities. Back in Lebanon in 1994, she wanted to give back in some way. Jewelry design was an instant passion and Baalbaki found that by opening a concept store, Little Black Dress was a way to create a creative hub, encourage talent, give back and create jewelry. In 2014, she launched her first couture collection. Now in 2022, with couture know how and organic growth, Baalbaki launches its ready-to-wear collection.
“This collection is about dressing women for their everyday lives, I want the women who will wear my pieces to feel comfortable and powerful. I was inspired by the sun and used elements of surrealism in many ways to express this. The sun motif can be seen on many pieces, even in jewelry,” says Baalbaki.
For the designer, she wanted to create pieces that transform the sun into a feminine element. Creating a new kind of collection is fun, but it’s bound to be challenging. “I’ve always wanted to create ready-to-wear pieces; however, overproduction is something I avoid because I believe in giving each piece created a great amount of care and attention. Every piece in this collection has been and will be made in-house in our workshop by our artisans to eliminate overproduction while maintaining the high standard of craftsmanship.
“The collection was a challenge as it is my first ready-to-wear collection, I wanted to incorporate a lot of things I have collected over the years, cuts, fabrics and colors while maintaining the essence sewing. Once the creative process was set, it took me around 2-3 months to complete the collection,” shares Baalbaki.
One of the most fascinating parts of the collection is Baalbaki’s use of bold colors. Hot pinks, jade, lime, strong purple, black, orange, white and periwinkle. The shapes are trapeze, voluminous with a pleated or feathered belly top, tight-fitting, puffy with lime green trousers and a matching trench coat, and flowing over a skirt. The textiles chosen are those that are easy to wear, not heavy and that can showcase the craftsmanship of Maison Baalbaki. “Silk charmeuse as well as silk crepe are the most important fabrics in this collection, due to their lightweight characteristics,” explains Baalbaki.
The styles are retro with hints of the 70s and 90s. “The 70s and 90s were very creatively constructive in my life, at that time I spent my time in Paris and most of the pieces from this collection carry cues from that era. From bell bottoms in the 70s to maxi coats in the 90s, I wanted to include a few components from different eras and tried to modernize them in my own way,” says Baalbaki.
It’s usually a no-no in fashion to compare designers, but there’s something Elsa Schiaparelli about the jewelry Baalbaki has designed and Daniel Rosenberry has gone on to promote. “Thinking back to Elsa Schiaparelli’s first creations, I was fascinated by her surrealist vision of accessories, I wanted to create my own vision of surrealism.”
Accent jewelry that is part of looks is dramatic, bold, and in your face. The teardrop crystal earrings or the oversized silver crystal earring that covers most of the ear is a work of craftsmanship and high craftsmanship. But, what is most remarkable is that Baalbaki created these pieces by hand herself. As she envisioned the collection, she began to play with various pieces, bending and bending earrings and necklaces into place. Those in his workshop would ask him, ‘what are you doing, what is it?’ while she was working. Jewelry design was her starting platform in the industry when she established her entrepreneurial activities. “I wanted to create these pieces by hand to make sure no two pieces were the same, this makes each piece unique. Gold and gemstones have been used in this collection to symbolize the sun and its rays.
Calling this the first of many ready-to-wear collections to come, Baalbaki notes that future ones will be unveiled during the official Paris Fashion Week schedule. Baalbaki notes that this new SS23 collection has caught the attention of people outside of Lebanon. “Due to the high demand we are facing on our coins from different countries, we have been looking for ways to create a more accessible way to purchase our coins, which is why we are launching our first online store which will house our ready-to-wear collections soon.
Discover the world of Fadwa Baalbaki here.