Dima Kassis: once upon a time a fashion designer
New-York born Dima Kassis is only a few months old when her parents move to Algeria, where she spends part of her childhood. In the bare surroundings of Algiers, she vicariously develops her passion for fashion. From those days, she remembers a piece that to this day incarnates the quintessence of discreet elegance: a light grey Givenchy dress given to her mother by her father. Her obsession for red shoes punctuate her first years as well as vast numbers of international fashion magazines brought back from travels. Remain also the memory and need for Dima Kassis to sketch everything that runs through her mind, filling empty pages. Snapshots of elegant foreign styles are completed by the influences of French expats or visitors to Algiers. In spite of her sensitivity to beautiful silhouettes, Dima Kassis always remains the atypical element of the family, without ever loosing her fascination for fashion.
Change of scenery in the early 90’s: Dima Kassis discovers Morocco, her family’s new base. She is straight away taken by the richness of the know-how, the strength of colors. Working with designer Zineb Joundy – a graduate of the Paris School of Fine Arts – in her Casablanca workshop, Dima starts exploring the artistry of kaftans all the while making them simpler: she removes the pearled embroidery, chooses atonal shades, uses guipure minimally. Even though fashion is still her main passion, she gives in to family pressure and obtains, in 2004, a Bachelor’s degree in Finance from the American University in Washington DC, before working three years at Citi Bank in Morocco. There she learns a lot, but realizes in fine that her creative drive is stronger than ever.
In 2008, Dima Kassis takes a professional turn: she leaves to London to study “Fashion design & Marketing” courses at Central Saint Martins. The main thing she learns is that it does not take talent alone when it comes to success but also staying faithful to the cuts she likes and defining her style and universe is essential. For several months, Dima Kassis tracks down emerging talents, roams along the stands at Première Vision to imagine, sharpen, and set the foundations of the brand she wants to create. Dough is born. She sees her brand as a sensual, malleable envelop – hence the name, that can adapt, complete, underline women’s bodies without being too obvious.
Her first Spring-Summer 2012 collection is launched. At the same time, Dima Kassis sets up her workshop in Lebanon and follows evening classes at ESMOD Beirut, while preparing her Fall-Winter 2012-2013 collection. With a 100% control over local production, Dima is able to reach the level of quality she wants for her collections.
“I’m permanently reinventing myself as I want to explore different languages throughout the seasons… while continuing to evolve in a timeless minimal way,” explains the young designer. Faded colors, an array of blacks, simple jersey or tarnished silk silhouettes, her collections appeal to a cosmopolitan nomadic clientele, who both sophisticated and self-confident, understands the elements of an essential elegance.
Spring – Summer 2013 Collection
“The spirit of Woodstock and its contemporary treatment was the starting point for this collection,” explains designer Dima Kassis. “I love the sensuality and elegance of the time; above all its freedom. I wanted a collection that escapes strict codes: a collection brought down to its essence, which underlines and reveals the body through precise cuts.”
Presented at showroom 7 at the beginning of October, this third chapter, penned by Lebanese designer Dima Kassis, concentrates on cuts in order to create advantageous silhouettes: silk-lined bustier dresses are designed inside out to drape the figure and lengthen its proportions. Pants receive the same treatment, whether they have high-waists or a waist underlined by a ribbon to emphasize the bust of dresses, thus accentuating the figures sensuality. Atmospheric blue crepe couture-dungarees, washed-out silk evening gowns that play around with the transparency of guipure or a simple black/white contrast bring timelessness to the collection. Enticing lines, plunged backs and asymmetrical armholes are the final touches for a woman who looks and feels beautiful.