We met up with Jennifer Selmanović from Des & Jen on the last day of this July’s Haute Couture Week to get her view on couture week, Arab fashion and her guilty pleasures.
How was haute couture week for you?
Jen: It was fantastic. I really love couture week. It is my favorite fashion week.
The creativity and craftsmanship that is showcased is incredible and I love seeing the designers bringing dreams to life.
What was your favorite show?
Jen: That is really difficult to say, there were so many beautiful fashion shows. It is hard to pick one favorite. I definitely loved Schiaparelli’s reference to the creator of the fashion house and Elie Saab’s reinterpretation of the middle ages. Tony Ward was really fantastic and I loved Alexandre Vauthier’s 80’s disco collection. I also entered the backstage areas before the shows. One of my favorite moment was when Elie Saab put the final touches on the models before the show started.
I am fascinated about middle eastern designers, they have great visions and a very feminine and fragile approach to haute couture which I personally really like.
A lot of people say haute couture is outdated and not relevant anymore. Whats your opinion on that?
Jen: Completely different. I think Haute Couture is more important than ever. To me, haute couture is showing the very best of what a designer can imagine and is more than fashion. Every piece on the runway is art. The best example is probably Iris van Herpen who also experiments with innovative technology by printing her collection in 3D. We can also see a change in the approach of Haute Couture with the rise of streetwear fashion, as a lot of designers are including more “wearable” pieces into their couture collections like Schiaparelli did with its mini dress embellished with Swarovski crystals.
How do you keep up with the stress during fashion week?
Jen: I plan and organise the fashion week ahead in order not to be stressed out.
I have to admit; French pastry is my guilty pleasure. Near Place Vendôme in rue Month-Thabor is a little restaurant called “da Rosa” with the best chocolate fondant and strawberry cheesecake. In between shows, chances are high you can find me there. In the evening I try to relax, take care of my skin with different face masques (from Sephora) and creams and reflect on the day.
To me, it is very important to keep a balanced life with lots of meditation and taking care of myself and my body.
You already said, you remembered a lot of middle eastern brands from Couture Week. How do you see Middle Eastern designers in today’s fashion world?
Jen: I think they are getting more and more important because they are breaking boundaries. There is definitely a big potential in the Middle East as there are many upcoming talents who transform their cultural designs into global brands. For example, within the last year, Lebanese designer Sandra Mansour has gained a lot of international attention. During Haute Couture I was wearing “Maram”, a unique brand that I recently discovered. Maram is based in Canada but comes originally from Egypt. Her pieces are always very wearable and suitable for everyday occasions yet they are very luxurious and individual with a high focus on details and craftsmanship. I really enjoyed wearing her pieces. I am looking forward to wearing more upcoming designers from the Middle East, so far I have seen incredible talents and beautiful fashion from there.