Sometimes we get our glam on and indulge in the finer things in life - other days we toss on a pair of jeans and run out the door. We recently got dolled up and headed over to Ramses Hilton's classy catwalk as The Nabil Hayari International Fashion Show made its way to Cairo earlier this week. We were there as all the elegance and glamour of Hayari's Parisian haute couture filled the Ramses Ballroom. Before the show, we got the chance to sit down to chat with the half French, half Algerian Nabil Hayari at the Ramses Hilton and get a sneak peek at the life of this talented designer.
Welcome to Egypt! How are you enjoying your stay so far?
It's my first time in Cairo, actually, and I'm enjoying it. Today we discovered the Egyptian museum; this is my first visit and I really wanted to go to the museum to see the history.
Tell us about your journey into the fashion world. How did all of this come about?
Well it began when I was a child - about the age of seven, actually - that I first started drawing. In school, most of my friends only drew trucks and vans and cars; me, I started to draw gowns and models. When I grew up, my family was very supportive of me pursuing a career in the world of fashion, especially my grandmother - she really wanted me to go into this field because I was good at drawing gowns and models, and she really encouraged me to go this route. I entered the Sup De Mode Fashion School in Paris and graduated as one of the best students. After graduating, I worked for six years in Paris with luxury haute couture groups; then I decided to create Hayari Couture in 2009 with my friend, Hugo. It's nice because I created a new concept in Paris; all my customers come into my showroom in Champs-Elysées and I have my own collection, of course, but I draw and create unique special designs for special customers for specific events, which they like very much.
What challenges did you have in starting your own line after graduating?
Of course, there are some obstacles along the way. We are in Paris, the fashion capital of the world. Paris has designers from all across the world creating there. If we are not part of a big design group, it's hard to make it. I work alone; I do my work because I like it, because I like fashion and creation and I like to design. It's a challenge because I'm alone; I only work with my friend, Hugo, and I managed to achieve success alone without a company. It's a big challenge to me to face all these other large design groups as one person.
Tell us a little about about the highlights of your career - what are some of your big defining moments?
The highlight of my career is seeing my gowns make it to the red carpet - The Golden Globes, The Oscars, The Cannes Film Festival. This is the highlight because I feel very proud that celebrities choose my gowns to wear on the red carpet for the whole world to see. Of course to me, all my customers are celebrities, but I really enjoy seeing my work on the red carpet and in fashion shows in Paris, Moscow, New York, and now in Cairo.
What are some of the big names who have worn your designs?
Well, there are many. Sharon Stone, Penelope Cruz, Beyonce, Kim Kardashian.
What is the aesthetic of your brand?
Haute couture. The brand's style is also very feminine; it's glamorous and sexy, but elegant. It is Parisian-inspired because my life is very Parisian - my mother is Parisian. There's also the influence of my oriental culture; this helps me create a style that has a very modern look.
Where do you draw your inspiration?
Today I went to the Egyptian Museum and saw many details that can inspire me to create a new collection. I travel all over the world and, of course, I read a lot because I like history. I can make links between histories, cultures, and traditions - all of this can help me. My life and my childhood inspire me - my father is from Algeria, my mother is French, and my grandmother is Lebanese - this mixture helps with creativity. It helps me have a style that's different and very rich. Of course, everything can help me to create; a small detail can help me create a great collection.
Who inspires you?
My first thought is my grandmother and, of course, my family, because they pushed me to go into this. Also, my friend Hugo, because we started together and have worked together for many years, and he encourages me a lot to create haute couture.
Tell me a bit about your future plans - where can we expect to see you in the future?
Well let's start with tomorrow! There will be the big defile here at the Rames Hilton. The Golden Globe Awards in Los Angeles - I have a show there and am designing gowns for celebrities to wear down the red carpet. I also have haute couture shows in Paris, Moscow, and New York. There's a lot of stuff going on, really. I create a line of haute couture perfume all across the world, so there will be a big ceremony to celebrate launch of that perfume - Hayari Perfume - in London for the first time.
In his closing remarks, Nabil Hayari tells us that he is happy to be here in Cairo for the first time, and to share the femininity and elegance of Paris here.
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