This young Lebanese designer has taken the couture scene in Cairo by storm and has become a recognizable name in Egypt’s fashion scene. Saab began her career by studying fashion and then working for top Lebanese designers, including Rima Bohsali. eniGma’s Shereen Kamal sat down with Saab in her atelier to find out more about her designs and brand.
How did you get into fashion?
Before I started my fashion career, I studied to be a dentist, mainly to please my parents. But being so absorbed in the world of fashion, I told my parents about my desire to one day pursue a career in the field, and they were understanding. So after I graduated from the School of Dentistry, I studied fashion design and pattern-making at the famous fashion School ESMOD in Beirut, and that’s how my career kicked off.
Why did you choose to start your label here in Egypt, and not in Lebanon or Europe?
I was here visiting my sister and I saw how promising the Egyptian market looked. After that, it was simply a matter of time, as everything fell into place and ultimately the brand started growing. I’ve been here for a year and a half now, and I’m glad I chose to stay.
What do you think sets you apart from other designers or competitors?
What sets me apart from other designers is that the dress I make is a combination of teamwork between me and the client. In other words, the dress is customized from scratch according to the preference of the customer. I start with custom-made sketches of the dress. Sometimes I can get inspired the moment I see the bride-to-be, while other times, it could take a few days. Then, together, the client and I alter the design step by step to reach the ultimate one of a kind dress. I’m never done until I’m sure my client is 100% satisfied with her dress. Another thing that sets me apart is how my dresses combine glamour with simplicity in a new, distinctive way.
Describe the woman who wears Iman Saab.
I would say that she would probably be a strong, independent woman that clearly knows what she wants. She lights up the room when she enters, and is always the center of attention.
What would you say is your signature style?
This will sound strange, but I unintentionally created a signature style without even realizing it. Dress after dress, there seems to be a very slight and unique signature that repeats itself, which is the ruffle. The ruffle is very distinctive, yet it never looks the same and combines strength with femininity. My clients actually come to me now asking if their dress could have that ruffle, as it is now linked to the Iman Saab brand.
Who is your favorite designer?
I would have to say Stéphane Rolland. He’s always been my inspiration, and still continues to be.
What are your future plans?
Definitely the next step will be to start creating collections, as opposed to single customized dresses. I also aspire to showcase my brand in international fashion shows, dreaming that one day, the brand will be recognizable worldwide.
What’s a piece of advice you can give to brides-to-be?
Plan everything and start early on, because believe me, these things take a lot of time. Another important thing is not to stress, as your wedding day will be perfect no matter what.