Just in the past year, Oscar Kraye showcased his collection at Dubai Fashion Week and got to dress TV personality Asallah Kamel for Cannes Film Festival 2023. The Dubai-based Lebanese designer launched his eponymous brand two years ago and has already created a name for himself in the haute couture and ready-to-wear fashion industry.
١ What did you have for breakfast today?
I had oat milk and four boiled eggs.
٢ Why four boiled eggs?
I’m on a diet because I gym now. So I should have more protein. Usually, I don’t do breakfast, but now I’m forced to.
٣ How’s your day been so far?
Pretty good, running around, but it’s a good day.
٤ Do you have any daily affirmations?
Yes, of course. I’m going to tell you the top one: I’m grateful. I’m thankful for everything that I have. I’m successful. I deserve what I have. I deserve to be loved.
٥ What do you do on a day off?
Self-care day, pampering myself.
٦ Share a fashion-related superstition or ritual you have.
Whenever I want to design a new piece, I have these glasses at home, and I have to wear them…they’re like my lucky designing glasses. I don’t know why, but I always do it.
٧ Are you a chaotic or organized creative?
٨ Describe your personal style in three words.
Edgy, diverse, and bold.
٩ Less is more, or more is more?
Less is more.
١. What’s the enemy of fashion?
Lack of confidence.
١١ What’s the first thing you notice about a person’s outfit?
١٢ What was the last thing you changed your mind about?
١٣ Have you ever tried a fashion trend that you hated?
١٤ Share a fashion faux pas that you’ve committed in the past.
I can’t think of one.
١٥ Fashion is quite nostalgic these days. Are you nostalgic for any trend?
The 80s and 90s. Those eras actually inspire my next collection.
١٦ What’s your earliest memory of fashion?
My aunties were seamstresses. They weren’t interested in fashion, but they worked in fashion. Seeing them all sitting on machines, finishing a piece, then starting the next one was so satisfying.
١٧ Who is your ultimate fashion icon?
Fran Drescher. She’s a fashion icon. Every brand dressed her up.
١٨ What’s your favourite fashion-related movie or documentary?
There are so many. The 2018 McQueen documentary. All the Coco Chanel films. The 2014 Yves Saint Laurent. I watch them all, actually; they’re all so inspiring.
١٩ What’s the most memorable compliment you’ve received about your designs?
I always receive that what I’m doing in the Middle East is outrageous and that they respect that. And how I’m bold in breaking barriers and fashion norms as well.
٢٠ What was your first job?
You know the kids’ area, where the parents drop their kids in an area, and the parents go out – that’s where I worked, in a daycare.
٢١ When did you know that you wanted to be a designer?
So it’s actually recently. I studied graphic design for three years because my parents wanted me to, but I didn’t want to work in that domain. So I started embracing my own style, and people kept asking me, “Where did you get this from? I love your style.” And I kept receiving compliments about what I was wearing, and I always saw my style as a brand. So I started planning it three years ago, and it’s been two years since I launched.
٢٢ What would you do if you could do anything else with your life?
٢٣ What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Have faith in yourself, and you’re not alone.
٢٤ What’s the worst advice you’ve ever received?
I can’t remember because I don’t let it get to me. I just drop it.
٢٥ Do you have any regrets?
Never; just lessons.
٢٦ What’s the biggest misconception people have about fashion designers?
It’s not about just creating clothes. Especially if you’re a beginner and you don’t have a full team. For example, I’m handling my marketing, my Instagram, and my PR. I handled the shoots and everything else. It’s not only about me designing; it’s about what I’m building as a whole. I always receive so many good comments about handling my PR, packaging, layout, and shoots…I take this as a compliment because they don’t know who’s behind this. I’m not just doing fashion design; I’m doing everything.
It’s not like I’m simply sketching and asking people to bring it to life for me. For example, to reach my perfect sample, I would need to repeat it 10-15 times.
٢٧ What would you advise aspiring fashion designers?
Always be open to advice. Be a good listener. Don’t be in denial, but at the same time, have confidence in your brand. Be passionate about it and have some faith in yourself. You will do wonders
٢٨ Who would it be if you could design an outfit for anyone – dead or alive?
٢٩ Describe the outfit for us.
It’s definitely going to be a long dress with black sequins, with long gloves. A dramatic hat. The dress would have a long bow from behind with a tail.
٣٠ If you could collaborate with any musician for a fashion line, who would it be?
I don’t see myself collaborating with a musician. I don’t have anyone in mind.
٣١ Describe the perfect runway show.
I always wanted to do a fashion show on a broken plane that crashed, and people are walking out of it. I don’t know how to describe it, but in a way, it crashed, but it wasn’t destroyed.
٣٢ What’s the most surprising source of inspiration for one of your collections?
My first collection was inspired by an oyster/Black Swan. I kept staring at the oyster and turned the form into couture dresses. And for the black swan inspiration, the fabric material was a black crepe.
٣٣ What scents match your designs?
Tobacco, vanilla, and leather.
٣٤ What’s your favourite type of garment to work with and why?
Leather; I have something for leather. It’s not my favourite to work with because it’s not easy. But I would love to be known as the guy who works with leather.
٣٥ What’s the most underrated accessory?
٣٦ Who’s your dream celebrity to dress for a red carpet event?
I would love to see my designs at the Met Gala. I would love to dress Beyoncé, Lady Gaga, Rhianna, and Iman.
٣٧ Which creatives have had the biggest impact on you?
I entered fashion and my inspiration came from three designers: Thierry Mugler, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Schiaparelli. Each one of them inspires me with something. For example, Schiaparelli inspires the form. With Thierry Mugler, it’s the metallic bodices and the overall edginess and drama. With Jean Paul Gaultier, it’s embracing the body form and how he embraces it for both genders.
٣٨ What feels like a true luxury for you?
٣٩ What’s the most expensive purchase you’ve ever made?
Booking a ticket and moving to Dubai. I borrowed money from my mom and dad to reach my target of building something in Dubai. It was the perfect investment that I’ve ever made in my life.
٤٠ If you could steal one piece from a celebrity’s wardrobe, whose would it be?
Sarah Jessica Parker. Half of the pieces that she wore in Sex and The City, she owns them – like John Galliano’s newspaper collection. I’m so into vintage, I would steal her full closet.
٤١ Where is your happy place?
I really don’t know where my happy place is. I have yet to find it.
٤٢ What’re your top three music tracks?
You’re going to laugh at this. It’s Get Low by Lil Jon, Let The Drummer Kick by Citizen Cope, and Hey Mickey! by Baby Tate.
٤٣ What do you miss most from childhood?
We used to go to the South of Lebanon three times a month, and near our house, there was a field that had fruits and strawberries, and we would pick them. So picking up fruits with my brothers and parents. It was like a ritual.
٤٤ What is your most treasured possession?
I love all my stuff and take care of them well, but I don’t have any attachments. They’re just materials.
٤٥ What’s the last thing that made you laugh?
When I was in Georgia with a few friends, one of my friends was interacting with the bartender, and she asked me to stand somewhere so that she could come to me…and as she was walking, she tripped and fell. But as she was falling, she held on to someone, and he fell with her. It was so embarrassing; I laughed so hard that I started tearing up.
٤٦ What’s the most overrated thing in the world?
People are too serious about their life. I’m not trying to be dramatic, but we’re all going to die someday. You should be serious about your job, your work and you need to have your life together, but don’t forget to be happy, make memories and live your age at the same time.
٤٧ What’s a tip that you swear by?
Travelling is therapy. It doesn’t matter where you are going. Being in a different time zone in a different country is like being in another dimension, and it’s the best feeling in the world.
٤٨ Do you have any plans for the rest of the day?
I have an appointment. I’m still thinking if I should cut my hair or not.
٤٩ Did you enjoy this interview?
I had so much fun. I usually do my interviews via phone or email, but this is my first official face-to-face interview.
٥٠ Any last words?
Oscar Kraye Atelier.