PhotoStory in collaboration with Kamsyn – https://kamsyn.com/2016/12/15/dress-up-lebanon-first-story/ - Published in December 2016
Cozied up in Le Telegraphe de Belle-Vue’s finely decorated Hotel or enjoying the blossoming rose garden while sipping a glass of red wine, we reminisced on the days when Bhamdoun was a prized summer destination. First a village reliant on the cultivation of vineyards, from the 1940s until the civil war Bhamdoun bustled as a summer escape for Beiruti vacationers and tourists from the Gulf. They mingled in the village cafés over a game of tawlé or cards, biked in the streets or gathered for ‘thé dansant’ at one of the hotels’ ballrooms.
As we set out on a journey to highlight Lebanon’s beauty, we decided to pair this historic location with the work of talented local designers: Second Street’s cool and creative shirts, Urban Sense’s casual and minimalist clothes and Timi Hayek’s elegant ensembles in hues of gold and silver fit beautifully within the charming surroundings. Models Timi, Marie-Sophie and Joelle roamed through the picturesque setting stylishly appropriating the designers’ outfits.
The Location: Le Telegraphe de Bellevue
Nestled among the vineyards of Bhamdoun stands a beautiful mansion that served as the telegraph station of Mount Lebanon before becoming the summer residence of the French Ambassador to Iraq and Jordan.
After years living in the United States and London, Naji and Jill Boutros (financier and teacher, by trade) chose to settle in the village with their young family. In 2000 they started planting organic vineyards, and began producing their own fine wine, Chateau Belle-Vue. Four years ago, the project expanded as they opened a restaurant and boutique hotel, Le Telegraphe, adding colour, energy and optimism to the area while placing Bhamdoun back on the map of coveted getaways for Beirutis and tourists.
Urban Sense was born from a difficult situation turned around with brio by the dynamic founder. After studying law and working as a Communication consultant, Cynthia Chamat started managing a couple of fashion boutiques. In Spring 2014, the merchandise ordered did not arrive and Cynthia thus created her own collection to display in store, which became a success. She continues to revisit classics, gilets that can be worn as tops, reversible coats and transformable dresses, catering to all shapes and sizes. Her space Boutique Hub. in Sodeco is now a collaboration hub where a selection of Lebanese designers pieces complement each other.
Two young ladies, Tracy Moussi and Sarah Hermez met on Second Street in Alphabet City, New York, while pursuing their studies at the Parsons School of Design. They discovered a mutual passion and desire to use fashion as a gateway to encourage talents and initiatives. At the end of 2014, Second Street was born, a brand characterized by a fresh, innovative take on the classic shirt, an emphasis on quality and fabric exploration and a socially conscious approach. Part of the proceeds is donated to The Creative Space a design school, founded by Sarah in 2011 and boosted by Tracy’s public relations know-how, offering the opportunity for free quality education to talents from underprivileged backgrounds.
A multi-faceted designer, Timi Hayek studied Fashion Print at Central Saint Martin and interned with renowned houses Louis Vuitton, Alexander McQueen and Jean-Charles de Castelbajac. She was selected as part of the Starch Foundation 2014 promotion, and displayed her collection for a year at their concept store in Saifi. She then established her brand and boutique in Monnot where she handcrafts her garments in the upstairs atelier. Her style is airy, whimsical and elegant. The designer uses fine fabrics such as linen, velvet or silk that she embellishes with delicate embroideries or her unique illustrations.