Posted by Stephan Moskovic | June 8th, 2017

NABIL NAYAL

For designer Nabil El-Nayal and his ready-to-wear line NABIL NAYAL, history is just as important as the future. His Elizabethan inspired collections are full of dramatic high collars on shirts, raw edges, voluminous ruffles, and the juxtaposition of sheer and opaque textiles in one garment. His masters studies at the Royal College of Art unexpectedly lead him down his current path of dimensional maximalism. “I went for a wander around the building in my final year and got lost in one of the mazes of corridors. I discovered the Rapid Prototyping department and began a collaboration with the team to develop 3D printed pieces for my collection. Little did I know I would end up being the first designer in the world to use the technology on the catwalk!” The results led to the aforementioned NABIL NAYAL mainstays that are primarily ivory or noir.

While currently based in competitive London, the designer declares that his inspiration takes him all over the country. “Because of the nature of my research process, I am not always in London. I travel quite a lot to study the archives of European museums, which have informed the collections.” Working with craftsmen throughout the country and pursuing a doctorate degree in Manchester also takes him away from the fashion hub yet he maintains “London is stimulating – there’s this constant adrenalin rush of emerging brilliance….a competitiveness in the city too, which keeps things fresh.”

In his effort to modernize what is often expected from feminine silhouettes, El-Nayal looks to menswear shirting to balance his womenswear with a bit of edge. “I reference the renaissance within my practice and that is not an overtly feminine period. Garments were heavy and bold. They were hard to ignore. I apply these early modern principles to my own practice – my garments make a statement.” And statement-making his collections have stood, with technically advanced design and grandiose silhouettes evolving the basic white shirt into something much more interesting.

“It is important to identify what you’re good at and not so good at. Either learn those skills or work with someone who can fill in the big and hugely important gaps. I am still learning now – my business is growing and with that growth come new demands. But we are adaptable and always strive to stay ahead.”

His perspective on globalism relates to his own upbringing and a sense of belonging. Born in Syria, he moved to England as a teenager and remembers the feeling of “otherness” living in-between spaces. “I was conscious that I was not 100% Syrian. When I moved to the UK, I felt like an alien that had landed from another planet. For that reason, I think I have a detachment from any kind of national belonging. When people ask me where I am from, I always have to think about it – it is not either instinctively Syrian or English. Ultimately, that has affected my creative output.” Feeling like an outsider allowed him to confidently observe outside of trends and play into a state of disruption.

If won, his ambitious plans include critically cataloging the process of his own’s collection development to implement a transparent business model. “Offering a window into the creative process but also a window into how the garment was made, where the fabrics were sourced and where they are produced,” he describes. “I spend much of my time in the archival rooms of museums around the world and am drawn to the systematic coding used to catalogue each artifact. We want to provide each garment with a unique code so that our customers can track its history.” Certainly scholarly, El-Nayal maintains that when it comes to the business knowing it all is far from the goal. “It is important to identify what you’re good at and not so good at. Either learn those skills or work with someone who can fill in the big and hugely important gaps. I am still learning now – my business is growing and with that growth come new demands. But we are adaptable and always strive to stay ahead.”

The LVMH 8 2017

Presenting Models.com’s exclusive spotlight on each of the eight finalists for the 2017 LVMH Young Fashion Designer Prize in anticipation of their final presentation at the Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris.

On June 16, LVMH will announce the winner of their 2017 Young Fashion Designer Prize, chosen from a pool of eight finalists: Ambush, Atlein, Cecile Bahnsen, Jahnkoy, Kozaburo, Marine Serre, Molly Goddard, and Nabil Nayal. First launched in November 2013, the LVMH Prize was created to help celebrate rising design talent and encourage their growth, with the winner receiving both a 300,000 euro grant and a year of technical and financial support from the LVMH Foundation’s experts. These eight young designers from across the globe reflect the industry’s international reach, demonstrating expansive visions in an era of ever-tightening horizons. As barriers go up across borders and the world turns inward, they offer a reassuring reminder that creativity is about confronting the foreign and finding yourself changed for the better.

The winner will be selected by a jury comprised of some of fashion’s most notable creators, from Marc Jacobs and Karl Lagerfeld to Riccardo Tisci and J.W. Anderson, overseen by LVMH’s Delphine Arnault — a group that should have no trouble picking a standout talent. Victory will be sweet of course, but if past years are anything to go by, this is one prize where being nominated is truly an honor in and of itself.

Photography by Steven Yatsko for Models.com
Stylist Ron Hartleben
Makeup Feride Uslu (MAM) using Uslu Airlines
Hair Shinya Nakagawa (ArtList)
Manicure Yukie Miyakawa

Art Direction Stephan Moskovic
Editors Irene Ojo-Felix, Jonathan Shia & Steven Yatsko
Text by Irene Ojo-Felix

Models
Chiharu Okunugi
Hannah Bennett

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