Lebanese designer Rabih Kayrouz has been described by Suzy Menkes in the International Herald Tribune as “an architect in a world of decorators.” The designer’s structural flare and gravitation towards simple yet powerful points of impact garnered him respect within the industry from a very early stage. He has flown somewhat under the radar but, following his ready-to-wear debut in Autumn/Winter 2013, a collaboration with La Redoute and his nomination as an ANDAM finalist, Kayrouz was set to breakout into wide renown.
Kayrouz fled to Paris following his country’s civil war. As a result, at just 16 years old he began studying at L’École de La Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Pairsienne. Following his graduation from the school, Kayrouz completed stints at both Chanel and Christian Dior Couture, before returning to his native country, which was then at peace. Once home, he began crafting couture like wedding dresses for friends. His designs soon led to him being called upon to create for Beirut's high society and Middle Eastern royalty.
In 2009, the designer established Maison Rabih Kayrouz and was invited by the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture Parisienne to become a correspondent member. Speaking at the time of his selection to the Chambre Syndicale de la Couture, Kayrouz told The National, "A young Lebanese designer wanting to do something international, because my idea is not only to show a couture collection, it is to show a collection that has different techniques. For me, this is the future of couture. Usually, you differentiate between couture and ready-to-wear. But here, with me, it's not that. This is a collection that has different techniques. And I think this concept was quite exciting for them.”
Three years later he would launch his ready-to-wear line. “I believe in couture as a means of expression,” the designer told Fashionista. “It’s free, it’s about emotion, about dreaming. When I make ready-to-wear, I keep the emotion and dreamy aspect of couture. I’ve always wanted to create for the pleasure of women, I love that clothes can be either protective or seducing, when women play different roles.”
Kayrouz said to The National, “You have haute couture, which is very dreamy and beautiful, and you can go to the shows and dream for nights after that. Or you have ready-to-wear, which is OK, it's about brands and they do what they exhibit and they sell. But now, we have a new generation of people who are interested in keeping the handicraft and the savoir faire of couture, but who are also interested in making them more accessible.”
His beliefs expressed in 2009 have been proven by the onset of more and more wearable couture, and increasing amounts of demi-couture being produced each year. Kayrouz continues to beat his own path, and sees fashion follow. In July 2019, Maison Rabih Kayrouz celebrated its 20th anniversary with a show at Paris Couture Week.