These Egyptian Sisters Are Bringing Middle Eastern Designers To Switzerland

BY Delara Zand / May 13 2019 / 01:39 AM

Tasoni boutiques stock some of our all-time favourite regional brands

These Egyptian Sisters Are Bringing Middle Eastern Designers To Switzerland
Courtesy of Tasoni

‘Tasoni’ means ‘my sister’ in the Coptic Egyptian language. With its origins in ancient times, the term is still used today as a marker of respect, trust and affection. It seemed fitting, therefore, that Egyptian sister duo Taya and Tary Sawiris give their Swiss boutique a name that encapsulates everything they stand for: family, community and heritage.

The Sawiris sisters founded the boutique in 2014, in response to what they viewed as a gap in the market: the lack of an à la mode yet understated luxury retailer. In retrospect, it appears they’ve also filled another void in the market, even if it wasn't their original intention: to provide a physical outlet that brings Middle East-based labels to the West. Whilst they stock big European names like Valentino, Loewe and JW Anderson, the enterprising sisters have stayed true to their roots and introduced some of the region’s most beloved and game-changing designers to their European audience.

Tasoni has teamed up with Okhtein, the Cairo-based luxury handbag label, to stock three exclusive bags with Swarovski accents. The brand has been endorsed by almost every star imaginable: Beyonce, Gigi Hadid, Emma Watson and Kris Jenner, for starters. The name ‘Okhtein’ also translates as ‘sisters’, but from Arabic, and was also founded by an Egyptian sister duo, Aya and Mounaz Abdelraouf. It’s known for its philanthropic work with NGOs, contributions to the community and promotion of local artisans, marrying Egyptian culture and heritage with avant-garde modernity through its innovative leather designs.

Another label found in Tasoni boutiques is Maison Rabih Kayrouz. The luxury fashion house, founded by Lebanese designer Rabih Kayrouz, gained increasing attention for the compatibility of its haute couture-style tailoring with an urban lifestyle in its ready-to-wear collections - achieving international renown particularly since becoming a member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture and being invited to join the official calendar of Paris Couture Week. It boasts names like Celine Dion, Jada Pinkett Smith and Jessica Kahawaty amongst its A-list fans.

Bags by Nathalie Trad, the Lebanese designer of unique, luxury handbags crafted from materials like shell and stone, can also be found in Tasoni - a firm favourite of fashionista Olivia Palermo. Sandra Mansour is another force bridging Switzerland and the Middle East - of Lebanese origin but born and raised in Switzerland, her ethereal, flowing ready-to-wear pieces embody the notion of understated glamour. The fifth brand is By Walid, one of the first brands Tasoni worked with when they opened their Andermatt boutique in 2014. The British-Iraqi, Swiss-born designer uses high-quality textiles pulled from vintage and antique garments to conceive his eclectic, hand-sewn pieces that range from patchwork bomber jackets to elaborate trainers employing fabrics dating from several centuries ago.