November 20 2012
It is perhaps not too surprising that a Middle East-born designer should feel an affinity with kaftans and other airy designs, but an interest in vintage fabrics is more unexpected. However, Lama el Moatassem (who has a Qatari and Palestinian background and studied at Central St Martins College in London before working for Matthew Williamson and then Chloé in Paris) has absorbed the British love of quirky fashion, alongside rigorous training that prepared her to set up her own brand in 2009, at the age of 24.
Toujouri, which translates from Arabic as “treasure chest”, focuses on flattering shapes, ornately beautiful fabrics – often specially printed and dyed – and fine, handworked beading and embroidery finessed by workshops in India. Evening and cocktail wear, some made to order, is sold through her new Peter Marino-designed store in Doha, as well as in Harrods. Now el Moatassem, who divides her time between London and Qatar, has created a gorgeous, colourful resort collection that’s ideal for both luxurious winter holidays and emulating a retro lifestyle in Marrakech. Inspired by bolts of 1960s and 1970s silks sourced in Britain, the limited-edition capsule collection (from £325 to £850) is available as a preview sale on vintage website Atelier Mayer from Tuesday November 20 before it is stocked in Harrods from January.
Highlights include a Japanese-inspired, navy-based, snowdrop tassel print that becomes a soft, kimono-style jacket; a short, asymmetric dress with a rippling side panel; simple, long, sleeveless or slip dresses (third picture); or easy harem trousers. A saffron and yellow paisley design (first and second pictures) and a psychedelic floral and geometric print are transformed into fluid drawstring tunics and kaftans, beautifully embellished with clear, jewelled and neon crystals, to be worn over floaty palazzo pants or harem trousers. In essence, they’re elegant pops of colour to perk up a wardrobe.