Rad Hourani Haute Couture
Interview & Editorial for Nasty Magazine, Vol II.
Radical attitudes expressed in clothing: no absolutes, no fixed ideas, no dress codes and gender-blind. Almost architectural minimalism, stark designs, razor sharp cuts and layered silhouettes. It’s there where we meet Rad Hourani. His truth is rarely undeliberate and always future-oriented. A manifesto against maximal expression, a you-should-not-recreate-you-should-only-be-yourself type of disposition. Having no reference to any vintage feelings, he doesn’t believe in the power of the past, instead he is guided by the power of today and that of tomorrow. Jordanian born, he leaves Canada for Paris to pursue his career as a self-taught fashion designer after a previous work experience as stylist for a few years. He has defined his mark of singularity by creating a Unisex design canvas, studied on male and female forms, in which he has eliminated the traditional dress codes that give us gender references. This brought him the official membership of the ‘Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture’ and the opportunity to show his Unisex Couture line in Paris starting this year. The inspiration for his fashion utopia is his own individual aesthetic, striving to design modern garments that he himself would like to wear. Rad Hourani is his world, he shouts and in a language of his own.
What do you consider as being “Sacred” nowadays?
What is done out of necessity and with a meaning is sacred for me. I do not feel like belonging to this fast moving and consumerist society in which we find ourselves living these days that often requires things from us.
One of your key approaches to life is the “no restrictions” one. In what terms do you apply this rule, to be more specific, which are the topics on which you impose yourself limits and which are those in which you allow others to do it?
I do not intend to tell anyone what to do or how to live his life, I can only believe in my own vision and follow it thoroughly, hoping that people can get inspired by it. But all in all it is one’s personal choice to take what makes sense for them from the things others do. I think restriction should be applied only for serious negative acts like murder. Personally, I am against all limits in life, as these are the things that stop us from evolving and prevent us from moving forward. Everyone should feel free and have a positive energy and this is something that you get by doing what you like, not by living through the eyes of others.
“Beauty is everywhere, yet perfection is nowhere” you once stated. Name one thing/concept/idea that embody the concept of perfection for you.
Perfection is something that can be attained in any field, be it designing, cooking, studying etc. For me is the illusion of attending something at its best. This implies that one should be flawless; It’s like making no mistakes at all, but it’s impossible. If you want to constantly grow and learn things in life, the concept of perfection would reject this state of evolution. What is perfect for one can be equally imperfect for another.
You have listed Michelangelo Antonioni’s “La Notte” among your favorite movies, can you explain why? How do those cinematic concepts of interrupted journeys, dysfunctional relationships and a seemingly unattainable search for sincere passion echo in your life?
I really enjoyed how the story was told in such a simple and poetic/modern way. Everything was seemingly perfect but it’s like lying to yourself by having everything set to an illusion of comfort or finding love. It’s a very good example of monogamous relationship. I’m in love right now but I can’t tell where everything is heading to, so I don’t want to impose limits to my relation, I’d rather enjoy every moment, without considering the negative aspects that might come up.
You always mention how much you want your designs to be anchored in contemporaneity and you try to avoid as much as possible a vintage approach. Do you think that there is present without past?
There is definitely a present without a past. One should live the present moment purely without looking too much into the past or into the future. And a similar situation can be applied to clothing as well: one should be striving to create new forms that symbolize the present state of things, without fitting in any category of the past. It is a very challenging thing to do because it might be easy to design trends, to be the coolest one day and yet have nothing in the next one…I just want to be true to my vision and to the people that see themselves in it, there is no room for compromises, as far as I see it.
The geometric shapes like rectangles constitute a strong base for all your collections. Do patterns or geometry have any particular meaning to you in terms of sacred shapes, or else, where does this aesthetic come from?
Rectangles and symmetrical shapes in general constitute the base for all my designs as they help me get closer to that “Unisex” aesthetic that I am striving to build in the past 6 years. More than that, I think that geometry are thoroughly modern traits able to redesign the silhouette, construct a new, taller, shape of the body. I might be unconsciously attracted by architecture as I think that it’s the source and the inspiration of so many things surrounding us.
The concepts of timeless and genderless are your main distinctive elements. Did they come up just from the idea of doing something different, opposite to the current state of fashion or is it something more personal? Do you see yourself as belonging to only one gender or category?
I believe in a different aesthetic with not based on trends, rules or dress codes. I actually have no interest in fashion itself, rather in human beings and in the way we choose to live. I do not feel I could belong 100% to any category or gender as my message is all about not limiting yourself to any of those.
Unisex refers to things that are suitable and shared by both genders. Is it just a somehow utopian approach that you reflect artistically in your work or would you actually see the world constituted on these premises?
I would like to see this world build completely on freedom and open mindedness; with more people spending their time observing and creating rather than just following others. Religion has always existed as we need a guide in our lives but I’m not interested in being a guru for anyone. The hope is not in myself but in all of us. Unisex is a different approach that can be easily applied by anyone, anywhere at anytime.
“Fashion is an illusion” you said. Therefore you see yourself, and the other fashion designers, as the magicians of our century?
I always say “Everything is an illusion” and that include fashion, art, design and myself. Fashion designers are making collections just to sell and to please the press. There’s nothing magical about that. Very few of them create things differently in a way that can inspire people to think forward and dream. There’s magic in everything in life but you have to look deep for it, as most of the times it is not evidently laying on the surface of things. But in the end of the day I am thankful to know that it still exists.
photography / Marco Giuliano & Jessica de Maio
words and styling / Anca Macavei