Maison Rabih Kayrouz Broadens Ready-to-Wear Thrust

PARIS — With his purified, minimalist approach to haute couture, Rabih Kayrouz has long operated in a space that straddles ready-to-wear, employing craftsmanship to make wearable pieces. But now, he is taking the plunge, focusing house efforts on a full wardrobe for every day.

“I don’t love fashion — I love clothing. There are women that I love and I want to dress them,” the designer said in an interview with WWD.

“This is what I’d like to affirm, more and more in my work,” added the designer, who divides his time between Paris and Beirut. After some reflection, the house is focusing on its initials, MRK, for Maison Rabih Kayrouz, shifting prices downward some 20 to 30 percent, and proposing a wardrobe of every day must-haves, running the gamut from dresses and skirts to shirts, trousers and coats. The house plans two presentations a year, in January and July, delivering each collection in three drops.

The label’s first effort in this direction debuts on the Paris Fashion Week calendar Saturday.

“I don’t want to cast aside an item of clothing at the end of a season because it’s supposedly no longer fashionable. I take time, I respect the time it takes to work, and to develop things, so I’d like to respect time for the clothing to live,” Kayrouz said.

He also wants to free up his client.

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“I want her to be more and more free, to cross town, or go wherever she wants in a free manner — she is free in her movements, and free with her choices. She chooses the piece she wants to wear with whatever she’d like — here she can play around with the clothing, have fun and be free,” he said.

“An item of clothing has to be worn, it has to be comfortable — it’s the comfort that gives elegance, nothing else,” Kayrouz added.

Drawing on signature house styles — which play with volumes — the designer is focusing on working classics in various luxury materials.

“I love fabrics that are crisp, that are sensual, I love fabrics that spin, that fall a certain way — but I don’t like materials that have nothing to say, because I can’t work with them,” Kayrouz said. “It’s the fabric that will bring a suit jacket alive — even it it has a great cut.”

The designer has a loyal following, as seen by the enthusiastic crowds at his fashion shows and presentations at the brand’s Boulevard Raspail headquarters in Paris. Initial reactions to the rtw focus were positive, he was happy to report, noting he had offered some a peek of the look book for the next collection. He was cheered by the reaction, which gave cause for optimism.

“I want everyone to be wearing Maison Rabih Kayrouz all day long — I’d like to see my clothing worn everywhere when I walk on the streets,” he said brightly.

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