Tuesday 11 February 2020

The Sardinian Dream of Georges Hobeika

An opalescent jumpsuit covered in tropical flowers and worn with a wide, fringed hat was one of the highlights of the new Maison Georges Hobeika haute couture collection shown in Paris. Cover picture and all photographs by Elli Ioannou
The shimmering gowns and sequined pantsuits at Maison Georges Hobeika's Spring/Summer 2020 couture show in Paris were inspired by the lush flowers, glimmering seas and sandy beaches of Italy's most glamorous summer destination, the island of Sardinia, writes Grania Connors. Photography by Elli Ioannou

 Sequins and glistening fabrics created
a glamourous SS20 collection
SARDINIA was the inspiration for Georges Hobeika's latest haute couture collection shown in Paris. The designer said the Italian island represents the beauty of nature and a sense of freedom and fun.

One of Italy's favourite summer holiday destinations, Sardinia's coast has a turquoise Mediterranean sea and golden sand. Georges Hobeika used these hues as the basis for the palette of the collection. Although the sweeping gowns and feathered hats are more suited to a ball or a contemporary take on an Edwardian garden party rather than the beach.

The couturier described the collection as an "ode to joy and liberty," designed with ruffled fabrics, embroidered flower petals and a voluptuous sense of scale. The multi-coloured stripes and fringes on the broad hats are designed to evoke the umbrellas that line the beaches in summer in Italy. Hobeika mixed sequins and laser-cut patterns to add to the sense of summery evenings spent sipping an aperitivo in an Italian piazza.

The couture show was presented at the Palais de Chaillot in Paris on top of the hill in the Trocadéro district of the city. Highlights of the collection included a black dress embellished with a twilight-coloured range of flowers, like the sky under a setting sun. There were form-fitting crocheted dresses in oranges and yellows and long, sequinned gowns with pleated skirts depicting tropical flowers in pinks and blues.

Lustrous beading and laser-cutting made the gowns
both romantic yet contemporary
The elaborate beading, fringing, and feathers, all in a brilliant range of colours, only added to the evening glamour.

In contrast to the rich fabrics and decorative detail of the clothes, the hair and make-up were more minimal with a single dark, upswept line of black eyeliner and smooth, high ponytails. The standout accessories were the wide hats with fringes and long, dangling earrings in the shape of sparkling bows.

Georges Hobeika started life a long way from the urban confines of Paris and was born in Baskinta, a village in the mountains of Lebanon, one of eight children. It was his mother Marie who worked as a seamstress, along with looking after her large family, who encouraged Georges to work with her at her boutique atelier.

The future couturier fell in love with fashion but saw it initially as a hobby rather than a career. He went on to study civil engineering at university and architectural design. But the Lebanese Civil War forced him to leave the country and find a better future for his family. The young designer first travelled to Paris, working as an intern for Parisian fashion houses, including Chanel.

The broad, fringed hats were inspired by the striped
umbrellas on Italian beaches in summer
He eventually returned to Lebanon and opened his first atelier in Beirut in 1995. His mother decided to close her own boutique and work with her son to create a new fashion label. Six years later, Hobeika had his first show in Paris and has shown his couture collections in every Paris Couture Fashion Week since.

The designer also opened a showroom in Paris on the Rue Royale in Paris maintaining the atelier headquarters in Beirut. Hobeika has established several different lines of his fashion label, from ready-to-wear to bridal and evening gowns. Maison Georges Hobeika is officially recognized by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture and the couturier owns and manages the fashion house. Today, he has an international clientele from high-profile American and European actors to members of royal families in the Middle East.
Highlights from the Maison Georges Hobeika SS20 Haute Couture Show in Paris
The blooming hibiscus flowers and lush leaves embellishing this formal evening gown gave it a contrasting buoyant, tropical look.

The long cape falling from the shoulders shimmered with brilliant colours under the lights of the catwalk at Paris' Palais de Chaillot.
Turquoise blue captured the shimmering seas surrounding Sardinian coasts. 

Giant flowers and laser-cutting added a sophisticated yet fun take on evening beachwear, perfect for sipping an Aperol Spritz in an Italian piazza on a summer evening.

The shimmering tropical designs were also used on a men's suit with silver, beaded lapels.
Smooth ponytails and minimal make-up made an effective contrast to the exuberant gowns. 

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