Beirut is home to a surprisingly large pool of creative talent, and just as anywhere else they need a place to shine. This is where established fashion designer Rabih Kayrouz, creative consultant Tala Hajjar and Solidere – a corporation that rebuilt huge chunks of the city’s downtown area – stepped in. Seven years ago they set up Starch, a foundation that helps launch emerging Lebanese designers. And Starch does so with an annual program and a rotation of debut collections where four to six young designers are selected each year. These lucky few are guided through the process of developing their collections, as well as promoting their collections. And to make that last bit happen, the starch boutique was opened in one of the Lebanese capital’s most prestigious stretches of real estate.
As if to Mimick fashion’s volatile trajectory, the store interior changes at a synchronized pace, and for each metamorphosis the foundation picks a new architect from that talent pool. For this new season young architect Elie Metni was enlisted to create a matching retail setting, and he came up with a concept that’s based on the interaction of shoppers and the 70 identical modules he created. As the sole fixture in an austere whitewashed space it’s the store’s focal point, and simultaneously serves as a display for the designers’ creations. Interestingly, not only the garments can be snapped up, the same counts for each of these multi-configuration modules. The Starch boutique is currently stocked with garments and accessories by this year’s fashion designers Joe Arida, Nour Najem, Sako Dersahagian and Yasmine Jaber.