Nada Debs unrolls her latest, “colour-graded” collection of Inaash embroidered cushions on white silk. This stunning new design sits alongside Debs’ earlier Inaash collaboration – white on white with colour – and her signature plexi stools with classic Inaash embroidered cushions. Raised in Japan with a Levantine spirit, Debs lived in different parts of the world before returning to Lebanon and taking up residence in Beirut after a 40-year absence. Fusing a Far Eastern aesthetic for minimalism with a Middle Eastern appreciation of fine decorative craftsmanship, Debs created her East & East concept which caught the imagination of the design world and secured her place on the world design atlas.
Debs strives to push the boundaries of design while remaining true to its culture, heritage and identity. For Cushionania she created two collections: “Spectrum of Light” an interplay of shadow and color that reveals and conceals the intricate cross-stitching; and “Where Land meets the Sea” inspired by the natural gradients found at the point where the land and sea converge.
Nafissa began her career with a degree from the American University of Beirut in business management and worked for some years in Kuwait in this capacity before turning to her passion, needles, threads and textiles. Since then Nafissa has created a style of clothing which is very much her own and is hugely popular with her devoted clientele. Nafissa’s clothes are characterized by their bright colours and free flowing forms which perfectly capture the spirit and taste of the East. Nafissa has cooperated with Inaash on a number of occasions with jackets and dresses that combine all the facets of her own style cleverly offset by Inaash embroidery.
May Daouk is a Lebanese interior designer who studied in New York City and worked a good portion of her professional life in the United States. Here she became interested in incorporating aspects of her heritage into her work. May’s signature pieces for Inaash combine beautiful fabrics such as soft linen or cashmere in subtle shades, with traditional Palestinian motifs in colours that blend harmoniously with the fabrics. The result is a winning combination of old and new that harks back to an earlier era and is at the same time thoroughly contemporary in feel.
Creative Space Beirut
Creative Space Beirut/Second Street form a socially conscious clothing initiative started by Sarah Hermez and Tracy Moussi, Lebanese graduates from the famed NYC Parsons School of Design. Disillusioned with the fiercely consumer-driven nature of the fashion world, they set out to create an alternative path through which the production of urban and dynamic clothing could help foster the talent of budding designers. Sarah and Tracy devised a plan to support free creative education in a partnership with Creative Space Beirut, a nonprofit school for fashion design. Their first collaboration with Inaash comprises a loose fitting, one-size fits all denim jacket and a crisp white summer shirt, both featuring distinctive Inaash embroidery. Their new summer Inaash capsule collection was launched with a stunning arrangements of pants, shirts, and caftans.
Mira Hayek is a Beirut based, contemporary ready to wear designer. She studied Fashion Design at Instituto Marangoni and obtained her masters in Fashion and Textile Design at Istituo Europea di Design. Her internships were with Elie Saab, Beirut and Erdem, London and her first ready to wear collection was selected by the STARCH Foundation in Beirut. Mira’s love of geometric shapes and motifs and unusual fabrics, allow for a perfect collaboration with Inaash. Her free-flowing winter and summer long gilets complemented with equally free flowing Inaash embroidery patterns represent a winning combination.
Dina Kamal is the creative force behind DK01 a design practice focusing on precious objects that convey an emotional impact. Restrained, pared down to their essence and reduced to their most potent form, her signature PNKYRNG collection is emblematic of her style described as: function and reason, coherence and magic. Inaash is privileged to work with Dina on a unique cushion collection, “Filastine”, which combines the purity of Bauhaus with minimalist calligraphy, in a stunning combination of complementary and contrasting colours.
The inspiration behind Kamal’s Cushionania collection stems from the word Palestine and all that it represents for her: conflict, contradiction, and the abstraction of space/land. She says, “I wanted to focus on the Arabic word for Palestine as an abstract form representing the country – to reassert its presence, and as a tool to communicate the current state of Palestine.”
Co-designer with Tatyana Antoun, the design inspiration stems from old tiles, redundant technology, and the DNA helix – references that generally inform his practice. Speaking of the Cushionania collection Steel says, “The viewer can decide on the messages. Tatyana Antoun and I had our own very clear ideas but perhaps now is the time to let the messages and meanings filter out of their own accord.”
OmarJoseph Nasser-Khoury – Omarvis
Omar Joseph Nasser-Khoury is a fashion designer from Palestine [Jerusalem/ Birzeit]. His work is centred around historic textiles and dressmaking techniques from Palestine. He has worked intermittently with INAASH since 2009, initially as a college intern when he was studying at London College of Fashion. His first design for INAASH was the crinkled (shambar-style) silk shawl. Omar Joseph’s first encounter with an INAASH embroidered najaf shawl in 2005 was one of the main reasons why he decided to study fashion and pursue a career researching embroidery and textiles from Palestine. A jacket embroidered by INAASH from his first collection was acquired by the British Museum in London in 2011; it was supposedly one of the first fashion items the museum ever acquired.
Omarvis’ Magick Forest collection for Cushionania elaborates on the different ‘Saru’ (cypress tree) motifs embroidered on traditional rural dresses throughout Palestine. He says that despite the deep-seated misconception that embroidery motifs are inspired by nature and surroundings in Palestine, it is often the case that the motifs are more like magic symbols. His ‘Forest’ arrangement explores the metaphysical and talismanic aspects of traditional embroidery motifs.
Photo by: Malcolm Crowthers