Never comfortable with comfort, always searching for new challenges, Rad Hourani, at 31, is already one of the most beloved couturiers and is firmly associated with the birth of unisex fashion in modern Haut Couture circles. Monochromatic, androgynous collections present a well articulated, somewhat haunting statement of their creator. Although "unisex" is the word most commonly used to describe Hourani's style, it would be better qualified as androgynous.
His collections can not only be worn by both men and women, but they neglect sex altogether as a basis for fashion design. Hourani creates a world that bears no trace of sex, religion, or time. He uses materials of the best quality and each of his piece is meticulously implemented. As Hourani states on his website:
"I started imagining clothes the same way I started creating images: with a sense of curiosity and innocence driven by my no-background background. No school. No teachers. No telly. No boundaries. No formatting. I like the idea of a world that we could live and shape by ourselves, only by observing. Each our own. My visuals have erupted from this world of mine. They are asexual, aseasonal, they come from no place, no time, no tradition, yet they could be home anywhere, anytime. They exude the essence of timeless style, drawn on a monochromatic and graphical canvas. Palette of blacks and shades of timeless colors. Sophisticated unisex modern classics for anti-conformist individuals."
The collections of a young couturier can send our imagination to Plato's androgynous people and the concepts of yin and yang in ancient Chinese philosophy, which is used to describe how forces otherwise considered to be opposites are indeed complementary. His self-made-man image doubles him a powerful role model for many young artists across the world.
Here are five selected pieces from his show in Paris, unveiled during the Spring-Summer 2014 edition of haute-couture fashion week launched between January 19th to 24th. After combining gray, black and white colors, shades of blue and green in previous haut couture show seasons, this collection is carried out all in black.
Although compared to his last shows, this one is more sensual, the combination of straight lines, simple geometric shapes and unrestrained look of the garments is still there to define the couturier's signature. As Rad Hourani stated in an interview with Fashion TV, this all black collection looks simple, but it is extremely complex. In another interview he explains his preference for black is because “it's eternal, it's seasonless, it looks chick... everybody looks better in black.” His two favorite fabrics, crêpe de soie (silk crep) and leather, are often used in the couturier's garments.
5 Look # 5
This black ensemble comprises an overlap leather cut out vest with a wide leather belt, zip panel pants and a maxi coat. All these pieces are transformable, they can be worn separately, for different occasions, and combined with other garments.
Good to know: Born in Jordan, Hourani moved to Montreal with his family at the age of 16, in 1998. He started working as a stylist after graduating from high school. After 5 years of styling experience in Montreal, he moved to Paris in 2005, to face new challenges. His fashion career officially began in 2007 with his debut Unisex fashion show. The show was such a success that he continued to present his RAD Unisex line in Paris and in New York, featuring over 20 collections including ready to wear clothing, as well as limited edition and exclusive pieces.
4 Look # 8
Unrestrained maxi coat is enveloping the figure, underneath we see a plain elegant top and an overlap skort. This unisex ensemble is perfect for creating a mysterious, extravagant and a little reserved image.
Good to know: Presently, over 130 stores in 30 countries are lucky to offer his designs to the "anti-conformist individuals" ready to taste the new trends of Haut Couture. Recently, in January 2013, Hourani became the first officially invited member of La Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture in Paris, In France, the term “haute couture” is protected by law, and La Chambre Syndicale is responsible for regulating the field of fashion and determines which fashion brands can be considered true haute couture houses.
3 Look # 10
One of the couturier's most used clothing elements: unisex zip panel pants implemented in leather topped by a two-layered cut out vest. One of the most remarkable features of this austere style ensemble is it's combination of strict geometric lines and quiet sensuality of the silhouette.
Good to know: The young couturier knows his market. His customers are mainly from the US, Canada and Middle East. And he values the feedback from his customers, saying his garments make them feel luxurious, powerful, timeless and free. The price for exclusive pieces can start from $10,000 and go up to $25,000 or more. However, on the RAD line unisex official page, it is possible to find more affordable ready-to-wear clothing and even limited edition designs. Prices listed on the website vary from $200 to $4000 for one item.
2 Look # 12
In this combination, the unrestrained black dress with cut out top is cinched by the narrow leather belt. The belt adds a slightly capricious mood to the overall placid sensuality of the garment.
1 Look # 13
A flap maxi coat almost reaching model's ankles - another masterpiece of timeless, unisex elegance. The top-notch quality of the fabric, as in all other pieces, makes it pleasant not only visually but on a tactile level as well.
Hourani intends this collection for those who want to have a piece that they can keep in their wardrobe for a lifetime, resistant to the changes of fashion. All the presented pieces are transformable, giving a lot of options to their owner.
Time will show if Hourani's signature will resist future fashion trends and enter the realm of classics. What is certain for now is that his austere and enchanting world of androgynic design is something we can see, touch, smell and enjoy. Whether one is a supporter of gender-neutral fashion or not, the ascetic elegance specific to his signature will leave only few of us indifferent.