“Each human being is unique and some people translate this uniqueness in the way they dress; they have their own fashion finger print,” opines Lebanese/ Canadian fashion designer Souraya Chalhoub. The 29-year-old developed a taste for fashion at 13 when she designed her first pair of jeans. Fast forward to now, and she’s just on the cusp of launching her own namesake luxury eveningwear brand, “It has a couture look but is very accessible, “ she tells Bazaar. She describes wearing one of her creations at the recent round of couture shows in Paris as one of her most fulfilling fashion moments to date. “It was the result of hard work and dedication,” she says, “I give a little bit of myself in every design I create.”
Subscribing to Jean Cocteau’s belief that “Style is a simple way of saying complicated things,” Souraya’s style is bold and playful, and it’s not surprising to learn that her sartorial pin-up is Cher. “I think her style was universal, it was something both men and women were sensitive to. She was able to shift into different eras of fashion without being a follower, instead being an influencer of what was coming next.”
Cher isn’t the only fashion icon that’s been encouraging her to turn back time. “I have recently started to watch the TV show The Assassination of Gianni Versace and it has really put me in the mood for some ’90s Miami Beach vibes,” she laughs, “especially Versace’s latest iconic show that was dedicated to Gianni.”
Souraya’s designers of choice represent that same rebellious statement-making attitude, crediting Raisa & Vanessa and Balmain as best describing how she “feels most of the time.” When it comes to shopping, Luisa Via Roma scores high for “luxury products” and “sexier and edgier pieces,” while ASOS serves her need for a fast fashion fix. She also considers Alexander McQueen, John Galliano and Azzedine Alaïa as the true greats of her generation.
Vintage earrings are Souraya’s weakness and her collection is so vast, she jokes she’ll have enough to open a store one day. “It started when I was a girl playing dress up in my mother’s closet. It was full of vintage Moschino, Chanel and Versace earrings from the eighties and nineties.” Her signature piece of jewellery, however, is a Dior skull pendant. “It was a gift from my father for my 14th birthday, he told me I’m giving you a skull because you’re a pirate, and pirates are independent, rebellious and live by their own rules.”
Souraya Chalhoub Wears Souraya Dress And Shirt, Ananya Jewellery And Aquazzura Shoes, All Souraya’s Own.
Photography: Phill Taylor. Styling: Jordan Grant. Words: Elaine Lloyd-Jones. Make-Up: James Butterfield. With thanks to Hotel Café Royal, London.