Rani Zakhem is one of our country's most successful couture designers having established reach across the Middle East in countries including Kuwait and the UAE all the way to dressing celebrities in the magical land of Hollywood.
Rani is also a good ol' friend so we figured it was about time to do our beloved 7 questions feature with him. We visited his space with total pleasure and spent a few hours discussing work and life, taking a couple of photos, and (quite shamelessly) trying on some of his gorgeous designs. Uhum, like this one below.
Chatting with Rani Zakhem
Rani's atelier is situated in a magnificent tower right behind the Beirut Symposium, which is right behind Habtoor Hotel. His space is vast, comfortable and filled with jaw-dropping mouth-watering sparkly couture.
We sat back on the couches in his reception room and discussed quite a few things, starting with the fact that the Middle East is his best market. Press and word of mouth in the region are pretty strong and customers who like Rani's designs will come specifically to see him (and not just because they know he designs couture). Even when customers live outside of Lebanon, they will fly just for that appointment.
Hollywood is another story. When you see celebrities wearing Rani's dresses (or any other designer for that matter), he tells us that there many reasons why it came to be. In other words, the selection process is not always as simple or as glamorous as we'd like to imagine. We'd like to imagine that Sophia Vergara stands in front of a rack of dresses, looks at them and says 'no, no, no' and stops at Rani's dress and says 'yes'. Well it might work that way sometimes but most of the time there's a lot of influence thrown by the celebrity's PR manager and stylist to select a dress that presents a certain image on the carpet.
Of course despite how the dresses do get selected at the end, Rani's designs have not fallen short of appearances on the red carpet and we say hell yeah, hell yeah. If he was to dress one celebrity of his choice however, a lady who'd be somewhat of a muse, he says it would be the gorgeous Charlize Theron. We hear ya.
If you'd like an idea of his designs this season, here they are in the gallery below. Have a look and if you see something you like make sure to book an appointment at his atelier.
Here's a peek into Rani Zakhem's atelier and private workspace.
7 Questions With Rani Zakhem
Get to know another side of Rani Zakhem.
1. Biggest design inspiration?
I am an architect by training; I see women’s curves as nature’s most beautiful gift. It is always creatively exciting to find new sensual fabrics to enhance and adorn their sublime beauty.
2. Person whose closet you’d most like to raid?
Most definitely Daphne Guinness, since she embodies bold eccentricity, coolness and passion respectively, a modern day Grace Kelly with a twist.
3. Biggest fashion regret?
I look up to many Haute Couture icons from Worth to Alexander McQueen, however my only regret is to not have met the Grand Yves Saint Laurent in person, his legendary pieces live forever.
4. Theme song to your life?
Very tricky question :D, music is another passion of mine, I choose the tracks for my shows and work closely with international DJ's to create the perfect mood. My heart balances between Grace Jones’ over-the-top take on "La Vie En Rose" and Dalida's take, which is a more pailettes vedettes atmosphere.
5. Dream dinner guest, living or not?
Ideally, I would whisk away Anna Wintour to Buenos Aires for a great Argentinean Parilla by the Plata River, drinking Malbec wine while picking her intricate prophetic mind; she could be the twin of Diana Vreeland.
6. Worst vice?
I would be tempted to say food as I utterly enjoy it. I tend to discover special places all over the world from street to gourmet. Nonetheless, according to my entourage, my vice is my biggest quality, due to being extremely picky when it comes to detail, I must admit I have a hawk-like eye and can spot millimeter differences at work in the atelier that drives my tailors nuts.
7. Secret talent?
With all due modesty, I am a good story teller and as I mentioned I have a keen eye on details. I am mostly able to portray any given situation, allowing the person to envision and sense as if they were with me, who knows, I might write a book someday....
Follow Rani Zakhem
Book an Appointment at the Atelier
Address: Zakhem Plaza, 7th fl., Kalaa St. Sin-El-Fil, Beirut | Tel: +961 1 511 110 | Email: firstname.lastname@example.org