Why Rami Al Ali's bringing couture to the high street

What do you give the couturier who has everything? His own high-street diffusion line, it would seem…
Why Rami Al Ali's bringing couture to the high street

From dressing Jennifer Lopez, to staging opulent runway shows at Paris Couture Week, there’s not much Rami Al Ali has left to achieve. However, he’s taken us all by surprise this season with the launch of a collaboration with high-street stalwart Charles & Keith.

The result is five designs – two bags and three pairs of shoes – replete with the embroidery and embellishment that captures the refinement and elegance of Rami Al Ali’s signature aesthetic. Over a candle-lit banquet at Jumeirah Zabeel Saray, Editor in Chief Alison Tay – wearing Rami Al Ali ready-to-wear, of course – meets the man of the hour to find out more…

How did the collab with Charles & Keith come about?

I received a call from Charles & Keith, who floated the idea of this collaboration to me. I have always wanted to explore the concept of creating a range that is both beautiful and accessible. It’s an exciting partnership that seamlessly merges couture elements with the fashion-forward designs loved by high-street shoppers.

Is this a response to a demand for accessories from your couture clients?

It was less about creating items for my existing customers and more about expanding my reach to a new audience. I was thrilled to work with Charles & Keith and inject my design aesthetic to this project. We were able to create a unique hybrid of styles that seamlessly combines both our brand DNA.

How did you ensure it retained the Rami Al Ali DNA?

I have incorporated embroidery and embellishments, such as pearls and crystals, to give the couture element evident in my Rami Al Ali designs. I have also utilised our signature bow that symbolises femininity to bring a ladylike charm to the pieces. I would describe my aesthetic as being timeless and glamorous, and is something that I wanted to channel in this collaboration. The aim was to offer a piece of the couture world and make it more wearable.

Which qualities does Rami Al Ali share with Charles & Keith? And where do your brands differ?

We both love and respect the fashion world. While we might come from different ends of the spectrum, we both value quality, and style innovation.

What does the Rami Al Ali woman have in common with the Charles & Keith woman?

The Rami Al Ali woman is someone with confidence, someone who is bold and someone who appreciates artisanal craftsmanship. The same can be said of the Charles & Keith woman too.

Why is now the right time for Rami Al Ali to enter the mass market?

This type of collaboration is becoming more and more popular and is something that I have always wanted to explore. Middle Eastern designers are starting to make their mark on the industry, and the opportunity for me to be able to collaborate with an international brand was really appealing.

What kind of reaction have you had to collab so far?

I’m so touched by the support we’ve been shown. This partnership is particularly special to me, being the first regional designer to collaborate with Charlies & Keith. So I felt particularly drawn to this partnership as it targets the women of this region. I’m really pleased with the results and look forward to seeing these designs embraced by a new kind of Rami Al Ali woman.

Photos: Supplied