Rad Hourani: "My Clothes Are From Nowhere and Everywhere"

Michel Serruya

Rad Hourani's eponymous line, which he started showing five seasons ago, is known for its unisex, seasonless appeal, and features perfectly geometric, slick and sharp silhouettes. The non-conformist French-Canadian designer presented his Spring/Summer 2010 addition at Milk Studios yesterday. There were exposed zippers, dangling chains and the usual cut-out slits, skinny pants and black square-toe boots. It was all very dark, minimal and appealing. We caught up with him right after the show.

The show just ended! How are you feeling?
I feel great! Everything went really smoothly and well, and looked the best possible. I am really happy

The models in your shows are always unconventional. What do you look for in the casting?
I look for something that is not trendy or that is not trying to impress people because it’s a big name. I don't want that to make anyone to say, “Oh my god! The show is amazing!” I rather focus on the clothes I’m making. I want the models to relate to the collection, to be timeless, genderless, seasonless. I want something different and new. I think it kills it when I see the same line-up at every show. It becomes repetitive and too recognizable. I want to people to like my shows, not the models.

Unisex clothing is intended to be worn by both sexes but is generally more masculine. Are you trying to break away from that idea?
I’ve always been attracted to womenswear and that’s the difference. Usually designers take it from the men’s [clothing]. Women can wear anything they want but not men. It doesn’t make sense to me why a woman will wear a dress or high heels and not a man. When I say unisex, it’s really in looking at the lines. They are straight, there are no curves: they don’t have a feminine or masculine. It is completely genderless. I also try to find the right balance of something that’s not too gothic, funky or rock 'n' roll.

You design your collections in Paris but you show here in New York. How do you think New York relates to Rad Hourani?
I think it’s great to show in a place that’s so modern, always clean and safe. One of the reasons why I show in New York is that I was invited for the second season to show here and it was a great experience so we kept coming. But from the beginning I had this concept that my clothes are from nowhere and everywhere.

Your clothes are aseasonal, in fact you speak of your pieces as being timeless. Is it hard to break away from this idea of fast fashion?
I am completely anti-trend and allergic to some of the things that people follow. I like quality or shapes that have no reference. People like to point things of the '60s, '70s for example, and classify them. I like to have no seasons, or references and that’s how my pieces will stay timeless.

How has your line progressed from when you first showed in Paris?
I don’t need to feel like I’m evolving or doing something new every season. I just wear what I feel like wearing, I don’t think I need to do clothes to make a statement or to be the designer of the moment. I design what I enjoy to wear myself. I keep constantly asking myself “Will I wear it? Will I wear it?” I think the most important thing is to be true to myself and trust what I believe in and stick to it. I don't think it's a bad thing. What would make me happy is someone on the streets today, tomorrow or in 10 years wearing a jacket of my collection and people knowing it’s Rad without having to look at the label. And that is the most important thing for me; to have a signature.

Rihanna recently wore one of your pieces. How did you feel?
It’s great! If people that are in the music industry like and buy my clothes, it’s a compliment. It’s a good way of showing that not just androgynous people of a certain age or look wear my clothes. It could be anyone. Rihanna is a sexy, beautiful girl and she wears it very well! One of my best friends is a 65-year-old curvy woman and each time she wear my clothes she tells me “I feel so good, you have no idea! It makes me feel long, modern, sensual and elegant.” There is no better compliment. It shows that different types of people can wear it.

Photos courtesy of Confessions of a Fashion Addict

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