Atelierg By Grace Rihan

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Grace Rihan, designer, artist and owner of label atelierG always had passion for beautiful things – be it clothes, objects or buildings. Grace first studied architecture and subsequently landed a few projects restoring historic monuments in her native Lebanon. Artistic vision is Grace’s driving force in her creative career, which so far includes exhibitions and shows such as last year’s AW2010/11 collection presentation in Paris; costume design for contemporary dance act Rech Mayya; and the Body Revolution workshop and exhibition held in 2009 at La Cambre, Brussels, in collaboration with " Arts of Fashion Foundation" which Grace considers the turning point for her fashion designer career. Three years ago Grace finally opened her own showroom and studio atelierG in Beirut at Abdel Wahab El-Inglizi, to move later on to Sassine - Asrafieh into a bigger space, now an established destination for international clients from the Middle East (and increasingly Europe and the United States) placing private orders or looking for design objects to buy. Opening the space seemed natural to Grace, who passionately combines elements of craft manufacturing, traditional Lebanese clothing making and multicultural influences to create surprisingly minimalistic, functional pieces with a touch of the Orient, especially highlighted by the choice of fabrics (silk, wool and velvet) and colors (yellow, blue, orange and lilac). Her architectural background helps to create conceptual, structured and well-tailored dresses, caftans and coats, each fold calculated to form silhouettes measured and designed so precisely that even a millimeter makes a difference. “Architecture is what I love, and creating designs and playing with fabrics has always been a childhood passion. 2008 marked my official transition professionally from my work as an architect to establishing atelierG. However, I am still involved in architecture as I give two architecture courses at the Lebanese University and take on selected projects when time allows. Since starting, I’ve received huge support from family, friends, and, foremost, the press, and have managed to exhibit my work at several local, regional, and international showcases which were instrumental in attracting like-minded people that later became my regular clientele." The concept of atelierG is one of evolution; garments continually evolve into new structures that define a novel concept in clothing. The experience she garnered as an architect and restorer of historical sites and monuments for the past twenty years has been a great inspiration to her. “Architecture has been a subliminal element in the creation of atelierG designs. As an architect, I think that people should live freely and comfortably in their spaces, and the same thing applies to the clothes we carry on wearing. We should be able to move comfortably in our own space; the space formed between the garments and our body’s movements. Flexible, practical, sober, and minimal are at the core of the atelierG foundation.”