KUWAITI BORN FARAH AL MESBAH’S FASCINATION WITH HISTORY PARTICULARLY THE REGENCY AND VICTORIAN ERAS HAS PRODUCED A GORGEOUS BLEND OF PAST AND PRESENT, BOTH RENDERED SUMPTUOUSLY
BY TIA KIM
Originally from Kuwait, Farah Al Mesbah studied at the London College of Fashion, and it’s fair to say that some of Britain’s sweeping royal history and the stateliness of its courtly processions have rubbed o on the young designer. Her most recent line, fall/winter of 2019/2020, was an adventure in Regency and Victorian Era dramatic finery its high collars, Flowing skirts, hand embroidered tulle, lovely brocade, and demure, Floor sweeping hemlines, all set against sumptuously silky fabrics and oversized buttons. Another collection celebrated the overthrown (and often worse outcome’d) royals in the wake of the 1789 French Revolution.
There’s a fascinating combination of not just those late 18th and 19th century reigns in the line, but also, and seemingly counterintuitively, a dose of the 1960s.
“I was inspired by Audrey Hepburn and her fashion, but merged it with the Regency,” she explained to LLM magazine in a 2019 interview. “The 1960s actually has lots of Regency fashion references.”
A fan of history generally, Al Mesbah is quick to add that she isn’t stuck in courtly aesthetics, even if we streamers of e Crown and Victoria seem to be. For last summer’s line, for example, she jumped back just a few decades and embraced the 1980s as a muse more specifically the style of her older sister. After borrowing some of the pieces her sibling wore as a teen at the time, she assembled a joyous, fascinating expanse of the hard shoulders, vibrant hues, and angularity of the decade, spiced and o set by the work of period designers like YSL and Gianfranco Ferre’s work for Dior. e result of this accumulated wit, along with an insistence upon maintaining involvement (not only is she designer of the collections, but does the pattern cutting herself ), has been fast growing recognition in lofty circles, including a July, 2019 show at Paris Fashion Week at Place Vendôme. Also the interior designer of her Kuwait salon and atelier (she also has a storefront in Los Angeles), Al Mesbah reports that she’s set upon not just interweaving historical influences in novel ways, but in a manner “unaffected by trends,” as she explained to Naluda magazine.
Future lines will include more gowns and expanding the brand into accessories and footwear. When we asked about immediate plans, she explained that, in the last few days of January, “We’re showing the new collection of Haute Couture Spring Summer 2020 in Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week [aka Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode] in a private suite by appointment. We’re thrilled.”
Farah Al Mesbah