Inside Lebanese Couturier, Georges Chakra’s Avenue du Président Wilson showroom, the designer is contemplating the black and grey colors of several of this Fall 2013 Couture collection’s evening gowns. Tilting his head in thought, he tells Style.com/Arabia, “The woman who wears these dresses—she has seen many things. She is of a certain age—not that she is old, but her children are already grown. She has a heavy heart and is melancholic towards the economic state of the world.” Indeed, since the global financial crisis, as well as the Arab Spring and its series of sweeping political revolutions, economies have slowed. Even the Couturier’s wedding dress and veil are designed in a monochromatic black and white, representative of the hopes and dreams of an innocent bride and a gloomy mourning for the world of yesteryear.
Then, pointing to another series of gowns dripping in brilliant, yellow gold, Chakra continues, “Here, these gowns represent an optimism that will never die. These dresses symbolize hope for a new, golden era.”
Regardless of the oppressive economic climate, Georges Chakra, a designer since 1985, preserves a loyal clientele including red-carpet celebrities such as Mariah Carey, Beyoncé, and Blake Lively. Originally an interior designer, Chakra’s collections often showcase graphic elements. Indeed, 1950s silhouettes with A-line, to-the-knee tulle skirts displayed wide, V-shaped bars. When patterns were not linear, gold embroideries swirled and whirled across bodices and down pencil skirt dresses. Arabesque brocade, running up the lining of a narrow, figure-hugging, off-the-shoulder grape-colored cape, created a contemporary regal effect when attached to a modest, floor-length evening gown.
Sometimes working off a rather straightforward design, as was the case for a two-toned silver and bronze dress with bishop sleeves and a skirt reminding of Roman gladiator armor, Chakra added extra flourish in the form of a monochromatic sweep of fabric at the shoulders—upping the ante on an already ornate look.
Closer inspection of the collection revealed excellent execution and handiwork representing several hundred hours of work per garment. Georges Chakra maintains an architect’s eye for detail and a certain precision and no-holds-barred approach to glamour. Even when evocative of mourning, his designs are resplendent. Economic crisis or not, if a woman is to dress in black, then at the least, he will offer her an abundance of sequins, beading, silk, and tulle.