Bouchra Jarrar has hit the ground running with her eponymous label that launched three years ago. None of which should come as a surprise, given her extensive background in fashion design, which reveals an exquisite awareness of detail. Starting at Jean-Paul Gaultier in 1994, she then spent 10 years at Balenciaga (where she departed as studio director) before working as head of design at Lacroix couture. Now, four years after leaving Lacroix, she has shoehorned this wealth of knowledge into her own line, showing her take on contemporary elegance to a growing audience each season.
“I design for the universal woman,” she likes to say. “I can’t design with one idea in mind. My inspiration comes from my daily life, my environment and the observation of women I see and the way they live today.”
Jarrar has chosen to show her prêt-a-porter on the couture calendar, where there is more room for professional assessment and feedback. The collection falls neatly in between both categories – an indication that the Paris old guard is occasionally prepared to soften the distinctions between couture and RTW. More importantly, the clothes recognise that modern women want both.
“I wanted this summer collection to be light and fresh, meaning extremely fluid dresses with flattering colours,” she says. “The luminous greens were at the centre of my thoughts. I completed this wardrobe with familiar pieces such as the trench coat or the boyfriend shirt... masculine codes that inspire me a lot; leading me throughout my knowledge of clothing towards femininity. Femininity expressed in the study of the bustier – a centerpiece to this collection – and designed in men’s fabrics.”
There is a quiet resilience to Jarrar, who isn’t motivated by sales charts or even standard mood boards. “Instead, she drapes fabric on herself as a starting point and feels her way by instinct, resulting in beautiful silhouettes involving rich and luxurious fabrics that all women will desire. The strength here is that Jarrar marches to the beat of her own drum.”