Mahtab Jamali, designer, model and photographer
Green Pebbles took the opportunity to talk to the designer, photographer and model of Katayoon – that’s right just one incredible woman, Mahtab Jamali. She juggles all three different roles to make sure Katayoon is exactly what she has dreamt it to be. Mahtab explains the influences behind Katayoon and the importance she places on making sure that her designs are expertly and respectfully put together. This determined 26-year-old is only just starting her career; watch this space.
The collection ‘Diva’ is sexy and powerful; what were your inspirations behind it?
The Diva Collection came together during my travels between the Middle East and the UK. You can see a lot of Middle Eastern influence in ‘Diva’, soft and inviting colours and different types of silk. To me, Diva is a meeting point between traditional and modern style in The Middle East.
You are evidently a beautiful, determined and confident woman and your designs for Katayoon celebrate and embrace the feminine form; what do you hope your designs will bring to women?
I’m hoping my designs will bring a positive affect to all women that see them. I want to encourage women to be proud and accept that they are a vital part of our society. In my opinion, people who are not afraid to express themselves through their own personal style will be courageous in life too.
You recently tweeted to Nicole Scherzinger that you would love to dress her; what other celebrities would you like to see wearing your designs?
Oh my, the world is filled with beautiful women, if only I could dress them all... One day I would love to dress Adriana Lima and Candice Swanepoel, they are my most favorite female models and I truly admire them. There are many more of course, such as, Angelina Jolie, Beyoncé, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Rihanna, Charlize Theron and Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton.
Day Light Magazine described Katayoon as a ‘beautiful fusion of Middle Eastern influence and British flair’, how well do you think these two differing styles come together? And as you have travelled a lot, what was it in particular about British fashion that caught your attention?
One of the main features of British fashion that has found its way into my heart, and I believe will never leave, is the sharp and clean cut of classic suits in both women’s wear and menswear. I love the prestigious fabrics that are used in most luxury British brands, especially in menswear. One of my favorites is Alfred Dunhill.
What do you think differentiates Middle Eastern fashion from fashion in Paris, New York, Milan and London?
In my opinion the Middle East and London have two very different worlds when it comes to fashion. I often find that in the Middle East people are more interested with high end and luxury fashion labels, than those in London. London is a cosmopolitan city with a very diverse sense of style, but it seems fewer people appreciate the concept of luxury in clothing. This may be due to the way the high street brands have dominated the fashion industry in London. Having said that, I find a lot more creativity in style in London compared to that in the Middle East.
Your professional modelling name is Mieta, which is Italian, and you often source Italian fabrics, do you have a special relationship with Italian fashion?
To say I'm in love with Italy - is an understatement. I mean who couldn't love such a beautiful country? With all its art and culture, all one can do is be inspired. The textile industry in Italy says it all for me, but I also like certain materials from the Far East too.
All of your collection is manufactured in London; how important is it for you, as a designer and brand manager, to be ethically sound?
Indeed, everything I design is made in London and most of my fabrics are from Italy, France and England. It is very important to me that my designs are put together by experts, from the materials I use to the accessories and clothes that I create. I have very strong objections against child labour and cheap labour.
There are many scenes of nature in the A/W 2012-13 lookbook; why was it important for you to include nature alongside your collection? Has nature influenced your designs?
Nature does influence me because like nature my sources of inspirations are diverse and unpredictable. They come from anything and anywhere, whether that’s the waves of the ocean, the limitless wonders of the cosmos or just the effortless beauty in femininity.
Your mother, who the brand is named after, is obviously a huge influence on you; what other designers have influenced you?
Elie Saab is one of my favourite designers but with all of these wonderful and talented designers out there, who could only have one favourite?
A few other designers whom I truly admire are Valentino, Tom Ford and Shady Zeineldine.
Does designing menswear come as quickly and naturally to you as it does for women’s wear?
Although I enjoy designing menswear a lot, my main focus is on women’s wear. However, there will be a few limited edition menswear lines in some of the collections.
How do you find juggling being the designer, photographer, stylist and model for Katayoon?
I really love it. I could always make time for Katayoon, it is not easy, but the best things never are.
How many points of sale do you have to date and where are they located?
At the moment, most of my outfits can be viewed and purchased online at several luxury fashion websites. Clients can also purchase the whole collection directly from the official Katayoon website www.katayoonlondon.com.
You have previously mentioned that there is gong to be a private S/S 2013/14 show; have you decided where the show is going to take place?
The show will take place in London. The rest is a secret!
Your work ethic is incredible and you have already achieved more than many are able to in a lifetime – and you are only 26! What else would you like to do?
You are truly kind to me, thank you. This is only the beginning of my career in fashion and I just hope that it can turn out as I have dreamt it to be.
I am very much family orientated and hope one day to become a mother and have a family of my own too.
Photography by Rudolph Niasme and Ra'ed Qutena,
Hair & Make Up is by Sadaf Khan and Arezu Ali.
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