Sun Catcher

An heir to a fashion dynasty goes her own way. by Laurel Pinson
jasminedimilo_openerWondering which spring 2008 collections you might soon be obsessing over, might inspire a glance back to the spring offerings from a year earlier. While there were several stand-outs, the show that set many editor's tongues wagging was staged in the unlikely milieu of a villa in the Bois de Bologne by a 25-year-old designer named Jasmine Al Fayed. While her collection of flirty, 1940s glamour-inspired cocktail-wear was well-received, Jasmine, the daughter of Mohammed Al Fayed (Egyptian billionaire and owner of Harrods), has been fielding compliments along with skepticism since she was a mere 22-year-old selling clothes out of her own boutique in her father's store. The designer shrugged off accusations of nepotism in a 2005 interview with The Guardian, saying, "At the end of the day, it's a family business, and it's always been a part of my dream to put a piece of me in it."
Maybe as a result of the designer's sudden exposure, her fall 2007 collection, entitled "Alchemy," shows a certain edge: glossy black mini-dresses, skintight pants, and slick metallics are a nod to London glam rock, while short, architectural dresses later in the collection seem to be a send-up of Parisian couturiers. Jasmine's hard-earned sense of where to put a seam was evident in a Christian Dior-meets-Zac Posen black-and-nude dress, as well as a bursting yellow concoction whose endless folded edges played with the image of a lovely, giant fan.
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The dedication to seam and line also evident in her fall collection has been a continuous thread of her career, from choosing a name that merged hers with a symbol of everything sacred and feminine (Venus di Milo) to her decision to leave the London College of Fashion and DALI Central St. Martins in favor of the hands-on experience of apprenticing herself in the workrooms at Harrods. Sagely speaking as someone who's more than likely seen her fair share of fate's tricky hands and the short shelf-life of "cool," Jasmine's inspiration is "to achieve a feeling of timeless harmony in all our [work] and the belief that innovative design should be about more than just the pursuit of style."
Jasmine de Milo is available at Harrods online, www.harrods.com, in Los Angeles at Maxfield, 8825 Melrose Avenue, and in Paris at Montaigne Market, 57, Avenue Montaigne.
An heir to a fashion dynasty goes her own way.
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