PARIS–A blazer collection made with French savoir faire, Savile Row materials and Lebanese spirit, Racil smoking jackets are for a confident and globalized woman. BACO’s Paris correspondent Marianne Dorell caught up with buyer-turned-designer Racil Chalhoub about her latest endeavor:
On a quest for the perfect tuxedo jacket, which was “not intimidating or too stiff,” Beirut-born and Paris-bred, Chalhoub needed a chic blazer that would adapt to her lifestyle, one that could easily carry her from day to night and be worn elegantly with trainers or high heels. She couldn’t find it so she decided to create one herself and for the fall winter 2015/16 Paris fashion season, she built a whole collection around it.
MD: What does the Tuxedo evoke for you? Is there a “classic model” of dinner jacket that inspired you specifically?
RC: Not necessarily, a beautiful dinner jacket is a must, and I believe every woman should have one inside her wardrobe. It is a classic piece that once you acquire it, you wonder how you ever lived without it! It can make any outfit look elegant, from mixing it with boyfriend jeans and a t-shirt for day time to wearing the total look at night.
MD: Were you trying to create a new icon for women today?
RC: I wanted to create pieces that a woman would want to keep forever… A wardrobe that can accompany a woman from day to night and night to day, from work trips to fun trips. It’s fit for a girl who wakes up and runs to a cafe for breakfast in that jacket, then puts on the trousers with flats for a meeting and at night swaps shoes and goes out on the town.
MD: Is the dinner jacket part of the DNA of Racil? What will your next collection be like?
I think the dinner jacket will always be part of the RACIL DNA. The next collection will be a natural evolution of the first one. More takes on the smoking/tuxedo jacket for sure, but also building around the theme and it’s variations. I look at it as an ever evolving wardrobe.
MD: Concerning the sartorial and artisanal aspect, you picked the fabrics at Savile Row in London. Could you tell us more about this choice of material?
RC: I live in London, and I am surrounded by the beauty of Savile Row and its tailors so it was only normal for me to go to them to find the right fabric for my collection. I wanted to use the traditional material used for men’s tuxedos.
MD: Where did you produce the collection?
RC: I developed the entire collection in France, working with highly skilled people to get all my cuts and fits right.
MD: Do you have a favorite piece?
RC: It is difficult to choose but I have a special weakness for the Soho and Noho jackets. They are embellished with Swarovski crystals. I call them my party pieces. I think every girl should have a piece like that in her closet. It is fabulous yet so easy to wear.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE: Blaze': A Blazer Revolution, CB Made in Italy’s Cecilia Bringheli, RACIL: Smoking the French Way, BACO STYLE: Lidia Pellecchia’s Sartorial Style , Female Sartorial Style: From the Atelier to the Runway , Puglia’s Tagliatore: Amping Up Women’s Wear