Georges Chakra Shares His Thoughts On The Future Of Fashion In The Post COVID-19 Era

BY Khulood Ahmed / Jul 20 2020 / 09:00 AM

One of Lebanon's leading designers talks challenges, growth and thriving in what is now known as the "new normal"

Georges Chakra Shares His Thoughts On The Future Of Fashion In The Post COVID-19 Era

Harper's Bazaar Arabia (HBA): What is the inspiration behind your new collection and what makes it special?

Georges Chakra (GC): The new Couture FW 20-21’s collection is inspired by the legacy of the matriarchs and ancestors, the heirloom of pride, courage and strength, and a heritage which is perpetuated and carried on by the contemporary woman.  La Belle Epoque revisited in the 21st century. It’s a story of belief in the traditions, a renewed determination, and a strong resilience facing difficulties and challenges.

HBA: Can you tell us more about the process of creating the collection?

GC: We focused on sustainably created with resources from the house’s archives, without sacrificing the opulence and grandeur that couture is known for. This collection is a nostalgic comeback to the glorious years, an era of prosperity and artistic expression. A sort of reassurance, reflecting a magical newbeginning.

HBA: How was this process of creating the collection affected the coronavirus pandemic?

GC: The pandemic changed everything: no travels, no fittings, no shows, no press or support.  The collection was developed quietly, shot discreetly, and exceptionally launched out of our headquarters in Beirut, as opposed to our usual fashion show at Paris Couture Fashion Week. It matured at its own pace while savoring the process of creation. 

HBA: What is your favorite piece within this collection?

GC: I can’t pick, honestly, but if I did I would say that I loved the black and white pieces. Because of the simplicity in the colors, the cuts pop more. It’s a play on chiaroscuro, the absence of color and all the colors at once. The extreme, the raw, and the pure, it nods to the designers who inspired me at the beginning of my career.

HBA: Can you tell us more about this season's trends in gowns and party dresses?

GC: This season, in the absence of large events, the trend we're seeing the most is that of a demure gowns that hug the body. A serious exhibit of artisanal flair, the new volume narrative is most definitely about the woman beneath. I see a return to the handmade craftsmanship, upscale shoulders proportions, protective pleated layers, and balloon sleeves.

HBA: What are the steps that you took to cope with the current times in Lebanon?

GC: Lebanon has been going through some major events for close to a year now. The revolution revitalized the people and enlisted change in their hearts. Then, the global pandemic hit and what we took for granted became the most important priority. Our first and major concern was the safety of our team and we naturally had to close down for a while.  We had to redefine our priorities, focus on our team and their families, and rethink our actions for the future.

HBA: As one of the leading designers in Lebanon, what do you think is your role in helping your country during these tough times?

GC: Our atelier has always produced our collections ethically and sustainably in our headquarters in Beirut. We are now trying to redirect our efforts to more methods that will benefit the Lebanese economy. We have to reassure our employees and several Lebanese businesses, who depend on the constant work flow chain in order to sustain themselves.  

The world is constantly changing, it sometimes might seem stagnant but it is not. We now need to focus beyond the circle that directly affects us, and realize that our actions snowball to other people, businesses, countries and cultures.  Adaptation has always flowed in the blood of the Lebanese people and today is no different.

HBA: What is your message to your country in this hard times?

GC: In these exceptional circumstances, I renew my promise and my commitment to enrich the world heritage, and to be an inspiration in the world of art.  Armed with belief, determination and purpose I continue to look at design with confidence and hope for the future.

Lead image supplied.