Whenever a gorgeous actress struts on the red carpet draped in an elegant Elie Saab or Zuhair Murad gown, we feel a collective rush of pride seeing Lebanon positively, and stylishly, represented.

As of recent, Lebanon has welcomed yet another designer with a bright future who we're certan will do us proud: Timi Hayek. At age 26, this young designer has won the Liberty Art Fabrics Award, launched her own label under the Starch Foundation, showcased collections at Fashion Forward, worked for Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton and for Jean-Charles de Castelbajac, Alexander McQueen and Mary Katrantzou.

Adding to this long lists of accomplishments, she's recently opened her own boutique in Achrafieh.

Hayek maintains a humility and down-to-earth attitude evident in her well-worn Timberlands. “It feels like I’m [headed] in the direction [I'm meant to] be going in,” she says. “Working for a company would have its benefits and I’m sure I would learn a lot, but I'd feel like it wasn’t where I was meant to be.”

(Image via timihayek.com)

Her boutique, nestled on the top of Monot Street in Achrafieh, is white, polished, and lined with elegant clothes from Hayek’s latest collection. Upstairs, however, is a mesh of sewing materials, fabrics, a mannequin, an ironing-board, knick-knacks and stacks of business-cards.

The designer calls it a "little workspace where I can draw, organize and be inspired while running the store.” And if the phrase “you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their room,” may have been doubted, it certainly applies here: much like her boutique, Hayek is simultaneously poised, collected, and a wild flurry of ideas.

Her latest collection is made up of intricate, subtle textures and layering, and consists of “flowy, practical, easy-to-wear outfits” such as summer jackets, wavy dresses, light scarves, “a lot of pleats, transparencies, and linen” that are perfect for wearing out on sunny days.

The collection is also representative of her personality: while the fabrics she uses are rough and sturdy, they maintain an air of femininity and subtlety, “which is reflective of me because I’m not very in-your-face.”

Though she often created what she termed “crazy” clothes during her university days, meant to be worn in theater or dance performances, her decade-long friend Cynthia Merhej describes her current designs as a compromise “between the everyday and art.”

(Image by Cynthia Merhej)

Hayek initially worked at Bokja designing prints before she realized that she wanted to draw, clothe and embellish people instead. The human body is a primary and ongoing source of inspiration for her, as are art-forms such as sketches, dance performances and drama. She claims that her eclectic upbringing and her exposure to different cultures also serve as a source of “renewal and inspiration,” having lived in Lebanon, Canada, London and Paris.

What is admirable about Hayek is not only her talent but her determination to make it in a market where individuality is often sacrificed for the sake of conformity. She noted that while she has discipline, she prefers being given a foundation where she is free to create rather than follow the rules, and has chosen to ditch the glitz and glamour for a more delicate, practical style.

“She definitely offers something unique to the market,” says Merhej. “Her outlook doesn’t just follow trends, and she has an uncompromising vision which is very rare in a world where branding and hype rule supreme.”

Hayek’s boutique is open from Monday to Thursday from 11 AM to 7 PM and on Friday and Saturday by appointment. Check out Hayek’s website, Facebook page and Instagram account to learn more about the boutique and stay updated on her latest designs and inspirations.

(Image by Cynthia Merhej)

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