Rayan Al Sulaimani is the female entrepreneur behind the growing couture fashion house Atelier Zuhra. Since its launch in 2015, Atelier Zuhra has had a growing presence on Hollywood’s red carpet. Following the launch of her latest collection at London Fashion Week, Emma Marnell speaks to the designer about fairytale dresses, timeless couture and her cultural heritage
1. The brand is named after your grandmother – has she always been a style inspiration for you?
My grandmother Zuhra is a strong Omani woman with a great passion for living life to the fullest. Yes indeed, she has always been a style inspiration, but eventually through the years I have also developed my own unique sense of style.
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2. What led you to focus on evening wear and specifically, show-stopping dresses?
From a young age, it has always been my dream to dress celebrities for big red-carpet events in a fairytale like Cinderella gown or to dress a bride at her wedding and help her dreams come true. Hence, from the very beginning we have always focused on creating show-stopping dresses.
3. Can you talk us through the inspiration behind your LFW collection?
The collection is called “The Immaculate Flight of the Phoenix”.
In mythology the phoenix is a powerful bird which cyclically regenerates and is continually reborn over and over again in human legend and imagination. In the same way, this symbolises the beauty of ethereal everlasting couture as this immaculate bird represents the idea that the end is only ever the beginning.
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The LFW collection entwines beautiful tailoring with modern innovation and couture. The collection is brilliantly coloured in black and grey to represent the ashes of the phoenix. Contrastingly, its eyes are blue and shine like sapphires. Whereas the lilac and other ethereal playful colours are associated with the rising sun and fire, illuminating in the sky. Everything we have created in this collection is emphatically elegant and impeccably designed so that it looks like it would feel delightful to wear and to walk in.
4. How are your designs influenced by your cultural heritage?
Middle Eastern culture has definitely been a source of inspiration for all of our creations. Being born and brought up here [in Oman], I have grown up as a part of this beautiful culture, and knowingly or unknowingly it is somehow reflected in my designs. I would say the Middle Eastern influences are most recognisable in the silhouettes that we work with.
5. When you’re dressing down, what’s your go to outfit?
My personal style is very classic and chic.
6. Who would be your dream to dress for the red carpet?
Angelina Jolie, Blake Lively, the Kardashians and Scarlett Johansson.
Discover the collections: atelier-zuhra.com