Rami Al Ali, celebrated Syrian designer, divulges his secrets on inspiration, luxury, his philosophies on design and the guiltiest of pleasures
What is your definition of luxury?
It’s hard to define how luxury is represented in my life. Couture is of course a luxury and when it comes to my work, I always source quality fabrics. From a personal point of view, luxury isn’t always about possessions; for me it is time spent with family and friends, though I do occasionally invest in pieces of art for my Dubai apartment.
What inspires you?
My inspiration can come from absolutely anywhere. From a piece of art, to a new city, or even a period of time. Take, for example, my SS2014 collection, which was inspired by John Everett Millais’ painting of Ophelia, Shakespeare’s tragic heroine. I also have a passion for travelling, and the places I’ve visited over the years have often sparked inspiration for a new collection.
Describe the woman that wears your collections?
It’s difficult to describe the woman that wears Rami Al Ali because I design for a number of different clients. I have the older, more conservative ladies that I design for and I also cater to the younger, edgier, new generation. Both women are looking to achieve a completely different result but I honestly can’t say that I take more interest in one over the other, or that I do better with either one. Similarly, sometimes I do the classic look within my collections and sometimes I design pieces that make a statement and that are edgier. Again, both have their place within the collection and both are always well received. Ultimately, I design something beautiful and when it’s beautiful, you don’t question it and it appeals to everyone.
What is your guilty pleasure?
My guilty pleasure is travelling. I have always loved to travel, and not just for the chance to take a break, but also because I cherish the opportunity to explore new cities and soak up new cultures. It continues to be a great source of inspiration to me, not just as a designer but also as an individual.
When creating a one-off gown, what aspect of the woman inspires you, or what aspect do you include while designing?
My design philosophy has always been to create one-of-a-kind pieces that enhance the female silhouette. This is my signature and is something that my designs always remain true to. I believe that women should embrace their feminine side, so whether my designs are long or short, structured or flowing, I always make sure that they embody the female form. Of course, not every body shape suits the same style dress, so it’s also important to factor this in when creating a one-off gown for a client and whilst I try to create something that the client has requested, it’s also my duty as a designer to advise them on what will and won’t work.