Feminine. Flowing. Elegant. Sculptural. Whimsical and playful. These are the kinds of epithets one hears or reads when Ms Razan Alazzouni’s designs are being discussed. Worn by celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Emma Roberts, Ashley Tisdale, Giuliana Rancic, Anna Sophia Robb and Kelly Osbourne, a Razan original is already a coveted label. And, that she hails from Saudi Arabia is not surprising, as the kingdom has recently been making quite a mark for itself on the world of fashion and design.
An interview with Razan revealed a little about the mind and heart of this successful designer.
We understand that you wanted to be a fashion designer from the age of 11, what ignited that passion?
I think my mother ignited my passion for fashion. She is the most stylish woman I know. As a child, watching her dress up for events was the most fascinating thing ever!
Were there any barriers to following your passion? How did you overcome these?
No matter what you do you will always face barriers. I was able to overcome them with research and of course the support of my family and loved ones that gave me a drive to be persistent.
What was the first outfit or dress that you designed? When was that? Who wore it?
The first dress I designed for a customer was a lace and floral silk cocktail dress for Natalya Rovner. She wore it to the 2008 Vanity Fair new years’ party in Miami.
How did you feel when the person received compliments on it?
It was the most amazing feeling in the world knowing that people liked my work.
Are there any fashion designers that have inspired you? If so who are they and why?
Riccardo Tisci. He is a true artist. His designs are dramatic artistic and conventional. A very difficult combination to achieve.
Do you draw artistic inspiration from your locale, background or culture – i.e. Saudi Arabia? If so what are these? And how do you apply them to your designs?
Yes of course I do. My environment and culture affect the way I see the world around me and therefore it becomes a part of my work . I think it is mostly seen in my embroidery and beading.
You learnt sculpture, screen-printing and paper making, how do these affect your designs? Or what aspects of these arts affect your designs?
I think of my clothing as sculptures. When I design, the things I love playing with most are light and layering, beading and embroidery. I love the way they create reflections and give dimension to the clothing; it’s this play with light and depth that turn them into sculptural pieces that tell a story.
You primarily like to use chiffon, silk and velvet in your designs, why is that?
I love using silk in all its forms. The smooth feel of the fabric and beauty of its surface always gives silk clothing the aura of elegance and refinement.
Is there any other fabric that could create a similar softness? If yes, which fabrics in particular, if not why not?
Yes there are other fabrics that would create a similar softness. Lace in my opinion can create the same softness as silks.
Is there any garment that you have a special passion for designing? Why is that?
Skirts ! I love designing skirts! It’s my favourite garment because it can be either evening or extremely casual depending on the cut, fabric and embellishment.
Your first big break was in March of 2011 when Anna Sophia Robb “wore a short white dress with delicate beading” designed by you to the Independent Spirit Awards. Can you tell us a little about it – how did she choose your design, where, how did she learn about you? Did you know her personally…?
I don’t know her personally . Her stylist contacted one of our PR representatives and asked to lend the dress for one of her events. We had no Idea it would be for a red carpet premier!
We understand that celebrities such as Paris Hilton, Emma Roberts, Ashley Tisdale, Giuliana Rancic, Anna Sophia Robb and Kelly Osbourne have all worn your creations, which celebrity that hasn’t done so yet – would you like to see wear a Razan original?
Diane Kruger ! I love love love her style ! She is someone I would like to see in one of my outfits.
What do you see as your signature style?
I think my signature style would be whimsical and classical with a twist .
Where can one see/ buy a Razan original in Bahrain, the Middle East and elsewhere?
We are currently stocked in Symphony Boutique , Dubai . Edge Boutique , Kuwait . Boutique N , Kuwait . Impression Boutique, Qatar. You can also order through our email@example.com email.
We understand that the broad price tag range for a Razan outfit is between $300 and $2,600 – what is the most expensive design you have created and why did it cost as much as it did?
The most expensive gown I’ve designed is a $18,000 wedding gown . It was 82 meters of fabric and took around 2000 hours of hand beading. Mind you it isn’t a very large dress, but it was made with very thin fabric that we layered multiple times .
Do you have a message for young designers today – especially here in the region?
RAZAN: Find your personal style. That is what will separate you from other designers. Never imitate, but always look to other designer to learn how to improve yourself and your craft.
You are very much a growing force, but at this point in time what would you like to be remembered for?
I would like to be remembered for the style of my brand and the quality of my product.
Saudi-born designer Razan Alazzouni is an up-and-coming sensation in the fashion world and on the red carpet. Born in Alkhobar Saudi Arabia, Razan exhibited a strong passion for all things related to art from an early age. Determined to pursue her passion formally and develop as an artist, Razan graduated from The School of Museum of Fine Arts and TUFTS University in Boston, Massachusetts. While there, she concentrated on sculpture, screen-printing, and papermaking. Running parallel to her passion for art all these years was Razan’s love of fashion. Since graduating, Razan has dedicated herself exclusively to this field, and developed her own clothing line. Her designs exude the femininity, delicacy and grace of the female form. She uses soft luxurious textures that allow for movement in the clothes and combines chiffon and silk. Her unique hand beaded pieces reflect the meticulousness, layers, and detail that have gone into creating each of Razan’s signature flowers. All her pieces maintain sculptural and artistic integrity, transporting the wearer into the realms of glamour and sophistication.
WORDS: ROHINI SUNDERAM
ILLUSTRATIONS: CLAIRE THOMPSON