In a world where history makes repeated circles around our present and shapes our inspirations, there is always a need for individuals who are able to reshape the scenery from time to time. Araz Fazaeli has always been one to challenge clichés with a creative approach as a way of presenting new ideas. He seeks to show the viewer a divergent interpretation of fashion either by breaking the stereotype of women’s clothing in Islamic countries through his blog – The Tehran Times –or through his thought-provoking collections.
For his Spring Summer collection, Fazaeli set out on an imaginative voyage into the world of the enigmatic women of the Qajar dynasty: their passions, their desires and their aspirations within a life in a harem and the tensions that came with their obligations, subdued to the powerful men of the court. The palette is composed of grey, white and black, a stark contrast to the vivid colors and loud patterns usually seen in designs inspired by the Qajar era.
Maison Araz Fazaeli presented its first collection in October at Art District Gallery inside The Royal Monceau Hotel in Paris. The walls were painted black, with Fazaeli’s instagram moodboard projected on the floor, emulating the mood and character of the collection.
An interesting feature that drew ones attention were the flowers, used as a replacement for the head of the Mannequins. This arouses the curiosity of whether this is a witty statement which Fazaeli has chosen to turn the headless couture mannequins into his advantage. The flowers however, point to a traditional Persian painting method referred to as the Golo Morgh (Flower & Bird), where the flower symbolizes the beloved and the bird stands for the lover. This way of painting was popular during the Seljuk as well as the Qajar era, but ultimately reached its peak during the Safavid period.
The form and structure of the collection evokes the fashion and interiors of the Qajar. The elongated Lachack collar on the Raffia suggests the shape of the headscarves worn by women at the time. The crystal embroideries throughout the entire collection refer to the traditional Persian mirror works that adorned the many palace rooms.
Lachak collar and Dorr dress
One aspect of the Princesses daily lives was that they had many young children that required breast-feeding. In consequence their blouses were left open in front, enabling them in the act. The Ata-back chemisier is a reminder of this, breathing an air of mystery and lightness, its back floats elegantly like a cape, cut short in front at the chest with open seems- but protecting chest with two fabrics layered on top of one and other. The looks are accessorized with intricate silver handcrafted Ayeneh earrings and brooches, exclusively designed by jewelry designer Solmaz Panahi. Catching the eye, are the contemporary Ayeneh clutches of the collection, designed by Daniel Mizrapour, breathing a timeless modernity.
The collection and its materials are chosen by the mind and eyes of a connoisseur, seeking to unveil the world of the Qajar women who lived under a rigid life of the harem. Isolated from public life, of which the heavy voluminous collars and cuffs are a symbolic hint, yet simultaneously instilling appreciation for the secrets and sensualities kept within them.
Elmira Mahboubi is a seventeen year old pupil currently completing her junior year the Scuola Italiana di Tehran, Pietro della Valle whom her ardour for writing has led her to TTT.