Monday, October 26, 2009

A Little Conversation With Designer Rita Saardi

Rita Saardi is a friend of mine...An adorably talented friend!! I sent her some questions last week and here is her answers together with, fresh to the world, images from her Waiting to be Kissed collection.

1 Can you please let us know about the sort of environments you grew up in Rita?

Wow, this is the first time I get asked this question in a fashion blog :) you will have to forgive me, answering it won't be short...well, I grew up in many environments! I was born in Lebanon. Growing up in the eighties in Beirut, was not easy at all, as most of you know the civil war was really rough during the eighties and early nineties... so I grew up not knowing when the school bus would pick us up, or at what moment we would have to stop class to run to the school church to hide ( I went to a catholic Italian nun school we had an outfit and everything :); we even had to stay indoors for weeks sometimes.... But it's so much more then that.....I remember that we were happy when the school bus didn't drive by or when we had to stay indoors because that meant that we could play all day long, hide in places that were not that sheltered. Now that I think about it..... it created a certain intimacy, a certain feeling of family between neighbors and friends... ! Lebanese like me who grow up during that period are full of life and energy, ( if the war didn't kill you or damage you ) there is no way I can describe my childhood, so rich in emotions, we lived in fear, but we had hope, we lived in shelters but we grew strong, we lived in chaos but we all know who we were. Lebanon is really a piece of my heart, every-time I return there I feel joy, sadness, regrets, passion, fear, happiness a lot of things, it's a country with 17 religious minorities, it's a country where you can hear church bells and the mosque prayers at the same time... Lebanese are very creative....I guess we had to, in order to live normally we had to be creative and dream away, so in music, or theatre or literature or fashion or whatever we have something different to say... I'm proud of that... but it's really difficult to explain....!

I recognize myself in some of those movies, I linked some pages to each one of them so that you can take a look...Chadi Zenedine "Falling From Earth" Nadine Labaki "Caramel , Philip Aractingi: Under the Bombs, & the Bosta Josef Fares Zozo .The last one ZOZO by the swedish Josef Fares (Lebanese born with Assyriac roots grew up in Stockholm like me ) is the one closest to my experience and my childhood, like me the boy in the movie moved to sweden when he was around 10... So this is how i grew up!

2 How do you think that this has inspired to your aesthetic?

I am lebanese by nationality and in my heart, by that I mean I was born there, my grand parents were born in Turkey and very early in their lives they were refugees in Syria and later in Lebanon because of the big massacre in Turkey against religious minorities in the beginning of this decade... so you see I have strong roots. I have strong bounds to my culture but I have no real country.... I was born in lebanon but I grew up in Sweden and the last ten years I've been bouncing between Stockholm & Paris, my husband is French...! So I'm guessing my children will have real problems answering this kind of questions... ha ha .. so it has affected me in many ways; I'm like a nomad, I move around, I'm the modern face of today, someone with no real passport identity, a citizen of earth.... I'm from everywhere...My friends are from all over the globe... so I guess my work is a bit like that can feel the oriental roots like in the handmade details, feminine and sensual looks......the scandinavian simplicity sometimes in the choice of colors or simply the scandinavian voice inside my oriental brain that says stop; enough of the bling......... the french love of details and couture since I studied fashion here in Paris......the Mediterranean beauty of women...... I mean I could go on forever! I'm realizing while answering your question how rich my background is and how difficult it is to describe it.... but I guess that's what makes my style stand out without me making any efforts... ! Journalists often ask me " what is your style, who is the woman you're creating for?" and they expect me to give them a quick answer and it is impossible... but one thing is true that I can today after many years of creating small collections recognize a personal style that is growing stronger, and I'm working on it.... the oriental woman in me is getting comfortable and I'm more aware of the european side of my personality.

3 What enchants you?

Oh dear lindha, so many things...... simple things, like nature, the sky, the air, music, my husband ha ha ha, love from friends and family, a beautiful fashion show on TV, photography, all kind of photography, I love taking pictures also and I would like to learn how to do that, fabrics, beautiful ones like silks and light cottons or tulle & lace movies I love good movies but especially movies with beautiful images ( like Marie Antoinette by Sophia Coppola where everything is perfect, image sound story....or In the mood for love, the frame and the music are just amazing.... or Indochine with Catherine Deneuve ..... so many movies dear to my heart, perfumes, smells, kissing my husband :) children playing, French pastry, my mums cuisine, words, beautiful words, being with my family in Stockholm, having a cup of latte in the old city in stockholm, snow or rain, walking by the Seine at any time of the year or the day in any kind of weather, the beach in a beautiful place like Lebanon, a cup of coffee in a nice café in Achrafieh neighborhood in Beirut, dancing to an oriental beat and the next second switching to madonna, ha ha ha there are so many things.... !

4 What first sparked your interest in becoming a fashion designer?

It wasn't planed that's for sure, in 98 I left Stockholm and came to Paris for the first time, i discovered, culture, art, museums, magazines, photo, fashion.... everything.... i was here to learn frensh, to add a language on my CV cause i wanted to become a journalist. I realized that I had a passion for beautiful things in life and I discovered that I like doing things with my was to late to make it to a school of art or to attend music school so fashion was a perfect option for me who at that time loved playing with it.... so before i knew it i was studying fashion.... and I liked it.... i hated french fashion teachers though and the school itself...but I loved being a fashion student in a city like Paris! I often say: I spent a lot of money on a fashion school for nothing but i learned a lot from the city of Paris for free.

5 What was your inspiration for your Fall 2009 Collection?

I dont' like it when people reefer to my collections as S/S or F/W ..... You're asking about my " All Wrapped in Black" collection right?

it's a collection that took me 30 days from creation to the last piece of accessory. I made it in a period when I wasn't in a light mood...I was feeling low and I couldn't see colors or fabrics in my head.... it affected my work in the beginning, it was as if I was wrapping my ideas in black to sign a "malaise" but little by little I felt as if the fabrics and the pieces where revolting against my will and creating a feeling of joie de vivre anyway... which usually is closer to my state of mind, so in the end the " All wrapped in Black" wasn't at all that moody, it's as if it's throwing a party by itself as if it was saying to me " is it really that bad to have fun???" so the result is quiet chic & sexy. I'm happy it rebelled against my will :) it's like a big gift to myself and people who like my work because honestly in the beginning I didn't think I'll deliver it at all...;

6 I know you are working in the showroom of Nina Ricci, do you think you get influenced by that for your personal work? if so, how?

Well I don't work that much at Nina Ricci, I am at the showroom when the products are already finished, so it's like watching any show on really.... I am not involved with it's difficult to get influenced since I discover it at the same time as the rest of the world. But it opens up my eyes for new things, things I can't use today, like corset dresses, or leather jackets.... Olivier Theyskens used to make beautiful leather jackets. Or prints for example.... I can't afford having prints in my collections now but I learned how important it can be in a collection! But working in a showroom has certainly helped me in various ways, for ex. by knowing what the client is locking for, how difficult it is to sell a fashion show highlight and how important it is to have basic lines for the buyers and the boutiques.... I also love looking at the details, Nina Ricci have really beautiful sewing details and well made finishings so it's good to see how a seam is done etc... even though I don't have the machines and can't afford all the's good to see it, feel it and notice the difference between that and a Zara t-shirt for example.

7 Favorites:


Lindha I'm a fashion designer my taste is "éphémère" it changes every season..... but I have a "faible" for certain palette, I like colors in a palette....not individually, like white to beige palettes, black to ink palettes, nude to pink etc.


I really can't answer that..... so many.

Style Icon?

Marie Antoinette ha ha ha!


white, fruité ou sec je m'en fou.... or why not champagne :) j'adoreeeeeeeeee!!!


I have so many but I like the Bon Marché it's so elegant.


oh so many talented designers, I like what's going on in the London scene these day. I also like some Parisian houses for their chic and couture style and some Japanese designers for their crazy layering and volumes.

8 Now on to your most recent collection for S/S 2010! The little I have seen so far looks Amazing! What inspired you to create it? How did the idea of it come about?

Again, it's not S/S 2010... it's "Waiting To Be Kissed" As usual nothing in particular! For me it's always a mood, a certain feeling, questions I ask myself, it's always a personal reflection upon things, and as usual I have a very poetic way of expressing it, like a drama queen ha ha. With " waiting to be kissed" I was thinking about my work in fashion, how difficult things are and how tough it is, and I was talking about it to my husband telling him that I love doing it but don't know how to continue, I gave him the example of the frog waiting to be kissed by a princess, like me waiting for something great to happen to me professionally and there it was.....add to that small light holders in water lilies shape in my living room, a gift from my sister last christmas, and the idea took place in front of me in my living room by itself, the kiss from a princess, the lilies on my coffee table, the colors of my living room, a painting on my wall that I made a long time ago with pearls and collage.... my curtains in stiff silk....and there it was, the colors, the shapes I honestly didn't do much and I was very uncertain of the result... but here it is after one month of intensive work I must say I'm happy with it!

Lindha: Thank you my dear for taking the time to sit down and do this with me!!

Rita: You're welcome it's more fun to answer you since I know that you follow my work closely so I feel free to express myself for real and not just yes, no, black, white, I enjoyed it, so thank you.... Bisou XXX Rita

More images plus a video to be seen Soon at Rita Saardi's website!

Many Loves

Lindha Portman Sagum


Forgetmenot said...

WOW! this post was just GREAT!
good work!
and the dresses are mesmerizing... out of a pairytale

Alice Saga said...

thank you my dear! i am very happy you enjoyed it.

Harpy said...

Where can you purchase her designs?

Alice Saga said...

i will ask her my dear! and get back to you as soon as i hear from her.