Beautiful, ambitious, and generous, we usually see her gorgeous designs on the red carpet. Her name shone in Hollywood and Europe as the first Arab fashion designer to conquer the world. Reem Acra is an internationally known Lebanese fashion designer who has dazzled the world with her designs.
Acra recently mentored promising young Arab designers on the reality TV show Fashion Star Arabic, aired weekly on Dubai One since last month. Budding designers compete to win their own fashion line on this reality show.
Have you always been passionate about fashion?
Fashion has always been a part of my life. Growing up in Lebanon, my mother took me to the souks frequently to hand pick fabrics. Fashion and tailoring were embedded in my DNA at a very early age and is very much a part of who I am.
Do you have a special passion for bridal wear?
I love brides and seeing how happy they are when they put my designs on – they get transformed and that to me is very special.
To whom would you dedicate your success?
To my family who exposed me to a world of knowledge and culture.
Who was the first celebrity you dressed for the red carpet? Tell us the story.
I will never forget the first time a celebrity wore one of my designs on the red carpet. It was Halley Berry for the Golden Globes. She had selected a beautiful white mermaid gown, but wanted it dyed a light blue. We had to recolor the dress in a few hours for her to wear the next day! When she walked the red carpet, she looked absolutely stunning. I think it is very important to have a connection between the celebrity and the brand.
Who is the “Reem Acra woman”?
The Reem Acra woman is feminine, sensual, confident and elegant.
Please describe the Reem Acra brand in a few words.
Glamorous and sophisticated, modern and sensuous.
What is your main source of inspiration? Where do your ideas come from?
I am inspired by many things. My Middle Eastern heritage gave me my sense of color and skill for embellishment. The city of Paris, which is dear to my heart, helped develop my sense of fashion. And of course, New York City, with its evolving culture and positive energy, helped develop my style.
What does it take to be a fashion powerhouse in such a competitive industry?
Success is not easy. It takes drive, determination, passion and focus.
Do you think being a global fashion designer of Arabian descent puts a huge responsibility on you?
Yes, I think it’s important to be a role model for the next generation and inspire them to achieve their goals by working hard and understanding their craft. I also think it’s important to use my global influence to guide the Middle Eastern fashion industry forward and develop it as the next fashion frontier.
In your opinion, what does the Reem Acra fashion house bring to the international fashion industry?
Style, elegance and sophistication.
What do you aspire for after the tremendous success you have achieved? Where will we find Reem Acra 10 years from now?
I look forward to continuing the label’s incredible success and designing beautiful clothes for the strong and modern woman
What is a typical day in your life like?
What are your thoughts on women and beauty?
I design for women who are strong, independent, sensual, and want to express themselves through fashion. My designs are meant to celebrate and encourage these attributes.
What is your style philosophy?
Wear what makes you feel confident and beautiful.
What are your impressions about Middle Eastern women, especially Kuwaiti women?
Middle Eastern women are like women across the globe. They are strong and intelligent and can achieve anything through hard work and dedication. In regards to Kuwaiti women, I love them. I have many as dear friends and love their work ethic, drive, and sophistication.
Tell us about your collaboration and relationship with Al Ostoura.
We have a mutual respect and admiration for each other’s work and it comes across in the stories and projects we work on together.
You are the head judge and mentor on the new fashion reality show Fashion Star Arabia. How would you describe your experience on the show so far?
I love my role as head judge. It’s very nurturing and it allows for my real personality to come through and show who I truly am.
Do you see great potential among Arab youth in the field of fashion?
Absolutely. From Fashion Star Arabic alone I see up and coming talent draw from their Middle Eastern heritage and combine it with modern trends to create inspiring designs.
What is the number one advice you would give to young and upcoming designers?
Success is a hard and lengthy road that does not come easily. In this industry, one needs to be talented in many different areas. Remember to believe in yourself.
Complete the Sentences:
I am happy
I am closest to my family
Love is everything
My favorite city New York
If not a designer, I would have been a product or interior designer
When I wake up in the morning I crave Arabic coffee
A secret I have never told anyone is one I will never tell!
I have passion