Interview with Cherine Khadra

By Janine Ayoub
19 Dec,2019

Since when did you start having an interest in fashion?  

I come from a family where women have a unique interest in elegance, each in their own way.  It comes mainly from my grandmother, who was herself a seamstress in the 1970s. She always had her sewing machine and fabrics at home, which I loved to play with for hours.  I think this was the starting point of my passion for fashion and art. Surely I also inherited it from my mother, who has elegance in her blood. The childhood memories that I have of her are that of a woman of exquisite beauty with her resplendent hair, her perfect eyeliner, with her structured suit, her brooch which is her trademark and her stilettos.  For her, this outfit was oddly more comfortable than pajamas. I think my passion is embedded in my genes somewhere.  

What inspires you?  

Everything that is beautiful inspires me. An emotion inspires me, a woman who radiates confidence inspires me, a destination, and history. And that's why I have a fondness for everything vintage. I also largely draw my inspiration from the woman with whom I am in contact when I tailor-make. To each of these women, a story to tell, desires and dreams. I try to express each story through my creations without being cloistered in terms of trends. It is important to sublimate the beauty of the woman through the structure, the cut and the colors and this in a balanced and harmonious way.  

How do you describe your latest collection? 

Imagining a collection is always an adventure and a leap into the void. There are many feelings of vulnerability, but once the ideas and desires are concrete, there is an incomparable pleasure.  My latest collection is a new C by Cherine Khadra line, an easy-to-wear and affordable ready-to-wear collection that will be in several outlets in Lebanon, Dubai as well as in Qatar where we are negotiating at the moment. So I cross my fingers! While keeping Couture and tailor-made which is the essence of my itinerary!  

Do you think art and fashion are linked?  

Art is the essence of my inspiration.  This is what allows me to breathe, radiate and elevate myself, and this is where I find myself in softness, warmth, and light.  Art is essential to my soul to feed my inspiration. In my opinion, fashion is the fruit of a perfect marriage between art and craft.

Your definition of elegance?  

A combination of attitude, lightness, and harmony.  Above all, it's the distinction, a lot of effortlessness and simplicity as described by Christian Dior.  I also love the quote from Coco Chanel on this subject: "Simplicity is the key to all elegance and it is also when the interior is as beautiful as the exterior.’’ I think elegance is poorly translated these days. It has never been a question of money, luxury is a matter of money… And it’s very different! Elegance is a question of education, an attitude, therefore a way of being.  Above all, it's about being yourself, being true to your image and never being a copy in an era of cloning. Elegance is anything but superficial ... It is an attitude before being an appearance.  

What are the distinctive signs of your creations?  

I do my best to work on proportions, balance, movement, and purity.  As Madeleine Vionnet says, all embellished with a lot of love.  

What motivates you and what are your businesswoman rules?  

My passion and my vision, I try to make my priority as much as possible.  Always chasing your dream is the main rule, and my dream is to become more than a name but a signature.  

What is your definition of success?  

I am in a perpetual quest for success.  For me, it is perseverance and continuity despite obstacles and difficulties.  It’s undoubtedly a lot of work and a lot of patience but it’s all wrapped in passion and love.  Anything done with persistence and love, in my opinion, can only be a success.  

What is your must-have piece?  

Surely the dress that carries the national anthem of my country.  It was made for a show by the Lezem association, 6 years ago. I wanted my cause to be the dream that I have always had towards my country, our union against sectarianism which is, in my opinion, the plague which has eaten away at the country and the spirits.  And today, in everything that has been going on recently, more than ever, I feel that the only message that could save our future and our generation is the bond of our union. A union is always a strength.