Fadwa Baalbaki’s SS23 Women’s Ready To Wear Collection Is Easy To Wear Yet Bold With Color

Fadwa Baalbaki recently unveiled her first women’s ready-to-wear collection. The spring-summer 2023 collection, unlike her couture collections, is one of color, retro silhouettes, and unrivaled jewelry pieces that would make woman weak at the knees.

If you know Baalbaki’s story, she and her family had to flee Lebanon during its tumultuous civil war that went from 1975-1990. Spending her youth in Paris, she developed a love for fashion and all its sensibilities. Returning to Lebanon in 1994, she wanted to give back in some way. Designing jewelry was an instant passion and Baalbaki found that by opening a concept store, Little Black Dress was a way to start a creative hub, foster talent, give back, and create jewelry. By 2014 she launched her first couture collection. Now in 2022, with couture savoir faire and organic growth, Baalbaki has launched her ready-to-wear collection.

“This collection is about dressing women for their everyday life, I want the women that will wear my pieces to feel comfortable and powerful. I was inspired by the sun and used elements of surrealism in many ways to express that. The sun motif can be seen on many pieces, even in the jewelry,” states Baalbaki.

For the designer, she wanted to create pieces that turn the sun into a feminine element. Creating a new collection type is fun but bound to have challenges. “I have always wanted to create ready-to-wear pieces; however, overproduction is something that I avoid because I believe in giving each piece created a high amount of care and attention. Every piece from this collection was made and will be made inhouse in our atelier by our craftsmen and women in order to eliminate overproduction while maintaining the high level of artisanal craftsmanship.”

“The collection was challenging because it’s my first ready-to-wear collection, I wanted to incorporate a lot of things that I have gathered throughout the years, from cuts, fabrics and colors all while maintaining the essence of couture. Once the creative process was set, it took me around 2 to 3 months to finish the collection,” shares Baalbaki.

One of the most fascinating parts of the collection is Baalbaki’s use of bold colors. Hot pinks, jade, lime, strong violet, black, orange, white, and periwinkle. The shapes are A-line, voluminous with a midriff tops with folding or feathers, form fitting, baggy with a lime green pants and a matching trench, and rushing on a skirt. The textiles chosen are ones that are easy to wear, not heavy and that can highlight the House’s craftsmanship shares Baalbaki. “Silk charmeuse as well as silk crepe are the most prominent fabrics in this collection, due to their lightweight characteristics,” says Baalbaki.

Styles are retro with hints of the 70s and 90s. “The 70s and 90s were very constructive creatively in my life, in this period, I spent my time in Paris and most the pieces in this collection carry hints from this era. From the bell bottom pants in the 70s to the maxi coats in the 90s, I wanted to include a few components from different periods and tried to modernize them in my own way,” says Baalbaki.

It’s typically a no-no in fashion to compare designers but there’s something Elsa Schiaparelli about the jewelry pieces that Baalbaki has created and that Daniel Rosenberry has continued to foster. “Looking back at the early designs of Elsa Schiaparelli, I was fascinated by her surrealist take on accessories, I wanted to create my own take on surrealism.”

The accent jewelry pieces that are a part of the looks are dramatic, bold, and in your face. The teardrop crystal earrings or the oversized silver crystal earing that cover most of the ear is a work of know-how and high craftsmanship. But, what’s most noteworthy is that Baalbaki created these pieces by hand herself. When envisioning the collection, she began playing with various pieces, folding and bending earrings and necklaces into place. Those in her atelier would question her, ‘what are you doing, what is this?’ as she worked. Jewelry design was her starting platform in the industry when she created her entrepreneurial pursuits. “I wanted to create these pieces by hand to make sure that no two pieces are the same, this makes every piece unique. Gold and precious stones were used in this collection to symbolize the sun and its rays.”

Calling this the first of many ready-to-wear collections to come, Baalbaki notes that future ones will be unveiled during the official Paris Fashion Week calendar. Baalbaki notes that this new SS23 collection has caught the attention of people outside of Lebanon. “Due to a high demand that we are facing on our pieces from different countries, we have been searching for ways to create a more accessible way to purchase our pieces, that is why we are launching our first online boutique that will house our ready-to-wear collections soon.”

Discover the world of Fadwa Baalbaki here.

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