There isn’t a self-respecting celeb or fashionista out there who in 2015 wasn’t sporting a pair of the cat-eye sunnies from the famous collaboration with Linda Farrow. This was one of the iconic fashion moments of the era and Fahad Al Marzouq can be given much of the credit for this.
The 4-lens glasses were everywhere, and have gone down in sunglasses design history with houses like Dior following suit. “What we want is to be a reference” says Shouq and these memorable moments are what the design duo Fahad and Shouq create with their brand Marzook. This season, Bloomingdale’s showcases Marzook for the first time in Kuwait, and bazaar sat down with the siblings to chat about the collection and what we can expect this season from the unique luxury brand.
Marzook has already gone global with the bags selling in very different luxury markets such as those in China and in California. The trunk show for Moda Operandi was a landmark moment for Marzook, another being the Nacre bag being seen on the arms of Amal Clooney in Italy. To cross geo-fashion divides, this is truly an achievement for a niche brand in its relative infancy. What makes the bags so cross culturally successful?
After an intake of breath to consider the question Fahad answers, “I think it’s because it’s super unique and super different. When it first got picked up it was picked up by the Asian market.” Shouq finishes off, “Yes, for two seasons they were the first and then came Europe and now America.”
It makes sense to hear that Asia first embraced Marzook. The circle is one of the most revered shapes in Chinese culture, symbolizing perfection. Add to that the luxury finish of Marzook and you have the perfect combination of reverence and frivolity, ancient and modern references.
There is something about recognizing famous artworks that makes one feel slightly superior, like being given access to an exclusive intellectual club, and you get this feeling when you first experience the SS18 Life Imitating Art campaign images. There’s an understood sophistication in being able to say, “Ah yes, Botticelli’s Venus”. The campaign references Vermeer, Leonardo da Vinci, Botticelli, Magritte and Frida Kahlo, masterpieces from the 16th to 20th centuries—a broad expanse of influential art history periods.
“Our parents and traveling has really exposed us to art” explains Fahad, “but we’re also very interested in pop culture. It’s very important and we try to make pop culture relevant to the brand.” Shouq adds, “So when it comes to our ad campaigns, they are not so stiff as an art history piece. We make it light by making it pop culture.”
In last season’s campaign the female model is bedecked in full 18th century costume, but the photographer has caught her in a private moment reading Kim Kardashian’s book Selfish, also in the act of taking a selfie, and then eating a hotdog. It’s this very juxtaposition that makes Marzook relevant. At once both luxurious and modern, both respectful and playful in design. A duality which runs through Marzook, the two siblings, the double O, the Yin and Yang of it all; Fahad who wants Marzook to run and Shouq who sagaciously and successfully makes Marzook walk.
With a pairing of two such distinctively stylish and creative siblings, there must occasionally be disagreements and the answer that comes is surprising after asking if there is a piece that the one had to convince the other to produce. The very bag that started it all, the spherical, transparent Lucid was a product that Shouq had to be convinced by Fahad to make.
“I’d just never seen anything like it before!” she laughs adding, “I trust Fahad’s creativity and his ability to spot trends before they happen”. This may be an ability to “set” trends, bazaar suggests, a compliment to which the designer humbly says, “Thank you”.
It must be fun at times to know each other so well, and to have grown sartorially together. Back in 2012 when this bazaarite first came across Shouq and Fahad, they expressed themselves through their own clothes and accessories, performance art lived day to day and seen previously only on global stage performers like Lady Gaga who was taking the world by storm at that point. The siblings wore the creative outlet they sought to find. “The live art show!” Fahad jokes.
It is a cheeky question but we ask them to divulge which has been the other’s worst ever outfit of the day. Wonderfully neither sibling chooses to throw the other under the bus, but I can see Shouq is running images through her head. Fahad answers diplomatically but is grinning, “She thinks I’m too much and I think she’s too little!”
This season, the collection considers what is seen and unseen. There is a campaign image homage to Henri Magritte’s Son of Man, the bowler hatted man with the large apple partially obscuring and floating in front of his face, that visually sums up the entire SS18 collection. The Belgian artist said of this particular painting,
“Everything we see hides another thing, we always want to see what is hidden by what we see. There is an interest in that which is hidden and which the visible does not show us.” This is carefully underlined in the creativity behind the imagery produced for this season’s Marzook campaign. In one representation, instead of a naked Venus the model is covered and clothed in virginal white holding Lucid Ornament in gold. This seems less of an acquiescence to modesty, and more a nuanced reiteration of the theme’s consideration as the bag decoration itself symbolizes bejeweled face veils.
And what is next for Marzook? Showing how incredibly tuned in to significant art that is impactful and happening now, the duo have collaborated with artist Signe Pierce. Most famous for her shocking visual arts piece American Reflexxx, Signe can be seen in the FW18 campaign for Marzook. The collection features holographic leather and futuristic detailing, crystals and feathers. Follow #PinkNoise online for more on this.
Utility is also coming into play, with Marzook introducing Capsule. Three-in-one you can wear this bag as a cross body, clutch or fanny pack, a term which hardly does this glorious accessory justice. Such a variety of uses can make a Capsule purchase more justifiable, but let’s be honest, Marzook is an investment piece for most fashion lovers.
Addressing this point Fahad mentions, “For Fall Winter 18 we’ve expanded when it comes to leather bags, it’s not just evening wear.” Shouq agrees, “[With the leather bag] we’ve tried to create a bag for that’s for everybody, so we also have stuff that is classic that you can wear every day. Everybody can be a Marzook girl!” “And I really want it to be everybody!” smiles Fahad.
Marzook SS18 Collection can be found in Bloomingdale’s Kuwait, 360 MALL, off the sixth ring road. Follow @bloomingdalesme and @Marzook_Official on Instagram and go to www.marzook.co for more information and collection images.
Featured image: Marzook’s “Crystal Ball” bag (left) and Johannes Vermeer’s “Girl with a Pearl Earring”. Images courtesy of Marzook and Wiki Art