Some people invest their dinars into buying Monets, Matisses and Modigilianis, and others are more interested in flipping through the pages of Vogue to select and store vintage Oscar de La Renta and Vera Wang gowns for safekeeping. These priceless items are valued as precious pieces of culture that are globally renowned, but tend to be mutually exclusive. However, as up and coming Dubai-born Syrian designer Zena Presley clears the blurred lines of culture and fashion, the combined image of the two creates literal wearable art.
Zena Presley is a new young designer whose ethos stems from the encouragement of diversity within today’s multicultural world of religion and races. Debuting her first stunning collection for Fall/Winter 2015, the designer combines her love for art-inspired prints with her exquisite style philosophy; to embody the freedom of self-expression through fashion.
With a true appreciation for the African culture and heritage, Zena’s first collection stems from the rich emotions and compelling stories of the colorful and vibrant continent. Her love of visual art that conveys everyday situations inspired the designer to take a more creative road in designing her first collection. The collection creates a beautiful fusion between art and fashion by collaborating with a miscellaneous range of artists from numerous nationalities, who have used her textiles as their canvases to marry haute couture with gallery-worthy prints, thus resulting in classic cuts of ready-to-wear pieces with an edge.
October’s fashionality describes her style as experimental, and loves trying new things and coming up with new creative ways in wearing pieces that she already owns; “Although I love trying unconventional combinations, I always make sure to keep it classy and feminine – this is a very important element of my style. I am really into the effortless look in clothing and always incorporate that into my style.”
Like the age-old question about the chicken and the egg, we have to wonder if fashion ‘makes’ the person, or does the person ‘make’ fashion? According to Zena, fashion is a way of self-expression; “A person’s style completely relies on their mood, and on how well they can express that mood through fashion.”
But this fashionality is never at a loss for innovation, despite what her mood might be. “The smallest detail can trigger a whole series of inspiration for me, and that is why I always look at my surroundings and try to find the unusual in things that might seem ordinary” she gushes. This is truly evident in her brand new collection for the season, and we at bazaar can hardly wait to hit Nass boutique at The Avenues to grab her pieces and rock them while they’re hot! Get ready for Zena’s wearable art to take the Kuwait’s Fall/Winter 2015 season by a storm of color, culture, and class!
What does it take to become a style innovator?
All it needs is courage. Courage to go out of one’s comfort zone and to experiment with things that at first seem unusual, but might result in beautiful combinations. It is also about finding what style suits you and what style you are comfortable with, it is very important to be comfortable with your style, as that is the first thing to come across to people. Once a person has defined their style, it is time to start making bold statements and combinations within that style.
What’s exciting right now in fashion?
There is an increase in emerging designers from all around the world, which I find exciting because a new innovative brand that has something unique to offer to the industry seems to pop up every couple of days. So just when we thought we have seen it all, we discover that the fashion industry has so much more to offer!
Who or what has been your greatest fashion influence?
In terms of style, I really look to Miroslava Duma for style inspiration- I have learned a lot from her.. Her style embodies a unique mix of avant-garde, ladylike and sophisticated vibes. In my opinion, she has managed to achieve the perfect mix between being bold and making a statement while maintaining her elegance and femininity. In terms of fashion design, I am really inspired by Delpozo’s designer Josep Font, I really view his pieces as works of art and I am a huge fan of his vision and the way he brings this vision to life.
Who from the fashion world would you love to collaborate with?
There are so many people I would love to work with, and would love to have the chance to learn from. I would definitely want to work with Delpozo. I believe that being able to incorporate print into his beautiful structured pieces would result in beautiful combinations,
What makes, bags per se, an essential part of any wardrobe?
Bags are getting smaller and smaller every day! They are no longer used to exclusively carry around everyday needs. With constant innovative designs, the bag has turned into the cherry on top of the perfect outfit. We have become so accustomed to this accessory that we can’t function without it and see it as an essential for reasons that aren’t necessarily practical. But the ever-growing creativity that has been put into crafting bags makes them too tempting to resist.
What is the one bag that every fashion lover should own? Why?
This has a way of changing every couple of months. Recently, I have moved away from the traditional luxury brands and more into the newer brands. Right now, I believe the must have bag is a Suvimol. I purchased mine a few months ago, and it is still a star player in my collection.
Who are your favorite emerging designers, and what is it that you love about them?
My favorite relatively new designers are Mary Katranzou and Rosie Assoulin, I love how well they express themselves through colors and fabrics, and how they continuously “wow” us with their creativity.
What is the highlight of your ‘style’ career so far?
As a newcomer to the fashion industry, I really feel like my growth in the past few months was a huge achievement, and I am really excited about the public’s reaction towards my clothing line. I would say one of the highlights was being selected by Harvey Nichols Dubai as part of a summer pop-up amongst some of the most popular designers of the region. It was also great to have Harvey Nichols as my first stockist- I feel this is a step in the right direction.
Every fashioniality has as a style obsession, what’s yours?
These obsessions change from season to season and trend to trend. Right now, I am obsessed with layering. I’m always mixing and matching my wardrobe items to come up with new outfit ideas. A major part of this momentary obsession is statement-oversized pieces- they make really interesting outfits when layered.
Do you follow any fashion influencers (Instagram/Blogs etc)? If so, who are they and which would you recommend?
Yes, of course, fashion is my life and I follow fashion news and updates from around the world. In terms of influencers, I am a huge fan of Miroslava Duma, Margaret Zhang and Olivia Palermo.
What item of clothing or accessory (if any) do you wish that people wore more often?
A classic statement skirt. This is one of my favorite items and is always the star of the outfit; I love a statement skirt due to its versatility and ease to wear. It could be worn in so many different ways and for so many occasions, and always stands out!
To be stylish is to be fashionable. True or False and why?
To me, being stylish is about finding one’s own personal style, and being creative within that style. This is what gives a person an identity in fashion and makes them stand out. It doesn’t necessarily mean following what’s trendy, though we are always tempted by the trends around us, however the secret is to not follow all of them but to integrate those trends with our personal tastes to make them our own.