Just back from London Fashion Week, Lebanese fashion designer Nadine Mneimneh tells us about her first experience on an international catwalk as well as shares more details on her new SS 2014 collection “Blue Moon”… and more!
When did you realize that you wanted to become a designer? Where did you study?
I have been in fashion since 2004, starting with night classes at ESMOD in pattern-making while being an AUB business student. After as short course at Istituto Marangoni in Milan, I knew fashion was my true calling. I started with jobs mixing business with fashion, and the more I grew the more I shifted to the creative side. I enrolled at ESMOD Beirut in 2006 for a 3-year program while continuing working. In 2010, I felt the need to fly on my own, so I applied to the Starch Foundation and started my ready-to-wear line.
Do you normally follow a theme while designing a new collection?
The starting point is usually an emotion, it could be something I feel at a certain point, or emotions I want to convey through my collection. The story is built like a patchwork; I could bring in elements with no direct link to the initial idea, and add up on it; I like to design with no constraint, I find it very stimulating.
Tell us about your new collection…
The name of this collection is “Blue Moon”, like the song interpreted by Billie Holliday. It has a romantic feel to it, and yet some depth and simplicity. I have added dresses to my line, as well as more colors, as opposed to my previous collection which only included black, navy and grey.
What was the first item you designed?
The first piece I ever sewed was the skirt I wore for my AUB graduation, a simple pencil skirt in raw silk, champagne color to go with my black “cap and gown”. This skirt mattered to me more than my actual graduation!
Tell us about your experience in London Fashion Week, please take us through the experience…
I got approached by a non-profit platform called Ecoluxe London. Based in the UK, this platform selects designers twice a year for events revolving around sustainable fashion. For this season, they have organized a fashion show at Kingsway Hall hotel in Covent Garden. I got to present four outfits of my collection along with other designers from all over the world. It was an amazing experience, my first catwalk during a fashion week.
Where is your collection sold today?
My collections have been sold in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Paris. My latest collection is available right now at my atelier-showroom in Beirut; new destinations are to be added soon.
If you want to give advice to young and talented people out there, what three things would you tell them?
1- Work from the heart, passion gives all the energy you need.
2- Surround yourself with people who believe in you and avoid negative energy
3- Never settle for what you know, challenge yourself all the time
Describe the woman who wears your collection?
My collections are appealing to women who want something more than garments produced in mass quantity and in suspicious conditions. These women travel, they are interested in design, they don’t have a consumerist behavior, they look for quality and most importantly they believe it’s important to encourage emerging designers.
Which star would you see wearing your designs?
Maybe Charlotte Gainsbourg, she’s gracious, fresh and natural; I like her music too.
What trends are you into this season?
I don’t really follow trends but lately I find myself buying a lot of green pieces
If I open your bag now, what will we find?
I don’t like clutter in a handbag, you’ll find only the essential: a mobile phone, a wallet, keys, a planner, business cards, a comb, hand cream and a red lipstick, nothing really crazy!