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Assaad Awad

Fashion as groundbreaking art

“In a world of copy/paste, we need to go back to the handcrafted”. This is among the key ideas of Lebanese designer Assaad Awad, who will partake in a conversation with Signy Fardal, editor-in-chief at Elle Magazine. He declares a rebellion against mass production, convinced that clothes, jewelry and other garments born on the assembly line are lacking an essential value – one we cannot really put our finger on.

This unique perspective is precisely what people like Madonna, Lady Gaga, Thierry Mugler and Rossy de Palma (who is also attending the festival) find so appealing about his works. Gaga’s remarkable «wooden dress» in particular points towards Awad’s fetishism. Understood in its original meaning as man-made objects with almost supernatural powers, Awad regards his clothing as «magical totems» with liberating qualities.

Fetishes contributes to the female body’s liberation from the patriarchal chains of marriage, where you can only be either a virgin or a mother. In other words: For Awad fashion is an art form with the ability to reflect and alter socio-cultural phenomena, a viewpoint he acquired as he left the advertising industry after 14 years to set up his own studio in Madrid. He is thus as much a vanguardist as an artesian.

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