An heir to a fashion dynasty goes her own way. by Laurel Pinson
Wondering 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.
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."
An heir to a fashion dynasty goes her own way.