Cairo fashionista’s may recognise the name Gizelle Couture, for its lavish couture evening and bridal gowns, but rarely – when it comes to fashion in this country – does anyone look behind the glitz and the glamour. We sat down with the brains behind it all, Gizelle Begler; a Cornell University graduate and Accademia Italiana alumni, who has worked for labels like Tommy Hilfiger and Giorgio Armani – yeah, she’s the real deal.
I love your work! But for those who aren’t familiar with Gizelle Couture, describe its style in three words.
Timeless, artistic and vintage-Inspired (I know, I know… that’s two words).
Yeah, that’s cheating, but I’ll let it pass. What are you wearing right now? And I ask that in the least creepy way possible…
I am literally wearing the lightest, coolest thing I can find because it’s not even officially summer yet and it’s a million degrees in Cairo! Sorry, had to vent.
But honestly, I work so hard trying to dress people in designs to make them look their best, that at the end of the day I don’t really have much energy left to focus on myself. I own a lot of black leggings and t-shirts – if I need anything particularly special, I just make it.
Who are some of your favorite local designers?
Does Italy count as local haha? I admire the work of Roberto Cavalli, Valentino and Marchesa.
I’m certainly not a minimalist. I love the idea of ‘more is more’ and all three design houses really know how to heavily embellish a garment, but tastefully. This is exactly what I try to achieve with my designs; gowns that are rich in detail and ornamentation, but still elegant. It’s not knowing when to stop, it’s knowing how to continue. Therein lies the talent and the craft.
You cheated again! Do you ever wear your dresses and pretend to be a princess?
Um….yes. Like, all the time. After the sewers leave Mr. Sparkles (her lovable cat) and I prance around the atelier, throwing glitter confetti in the air while singing Disney songs and dreaming up ideas for new collections. Er…we don’t get out much.
We should have a Disney date – I can be Aladdin, but we can figure out the details later. Who is your fashion icon?
I really appreciate eccentric people who are not afraid to embrace the artistic side of fashion. Katy Perry does that quite well…I loved the tiered cupcake dress she performed in a couple of years ago. She also wears a lot of vintage silhouettes which is so me! Her fashion sense is very true to her style of music as well as her persona, which I think is very important. I would love to be able to design something for her one day.
Yeah, she's quite something. Describe – in excruciating detail – the worst outfit you’ve ever seen. Like, EVER!
I'm a bit of an relaxed designer. I'm not a harsh critic. I believe everyone should wear what they want so long as it makes them feel happy and beautiful.
I actually teach fashion illustration and design out of my studio in Heliopolis, and I'm always telling my students that there shouldn't be any limits to what they can design - they shouldn't put a cap on their imagination. Just because an idea is unusual to the eye, that doesn't mean it's wrong - it could just be new and something our society hasn't become comfortable with yet. If fashion is a form of self-expression, then who am I to judge a person's definition of self. As a result, I don't really have any memories of any TRULY bad outfits.
Fair enough. In light of that, have YOU ever committed any fashion faux pas?
Well, I'm sure I've made quite a few faux pas over the years, having experimented with many different looks and outfits. But my biggest regrets lie in the arms of the 1980s. Although I was young, I'm still ashamed to say I participated in looks that involved hot pink and black spandex jumpers, while sporting a side ponytail, bangs, and ruffle socks....you know what, let's not talk about it. Next question.
Ok, we'll talk about that later - I must see photos. So, if you weren't a fashion designer what would you be doing instead?
I would definitely be some other form of artist; if I can't make art with textiles then I'll do it with paint, glass, clay, anything I can get my hands on - no one can stop me bwahaha!!!! So yeah, art is the only way I know to express myself. With out art my world would be colourless. Very silent.
That was a pretty evil laugh - lets move one. Meggings (jeggings for men) – sexy or gross?
NO. Leggings are only for women and Peter Pan - Peter flies so I understand the need for flexibility of the lower appendages. Call me old-fashioned, but I firmly believe the closest men should get to a pair of meggings is a slim-fit pant.
Amen to that. I’ve heard rumors that Mr. Sparkles is the one that designs everything – is this true?
Mr. Sparkles - god, I admire that guy so much. Look, I do the designing, but nothing gets produced without his stamp of approval. That's the short of it. He's also been trying to enforce this glitter-bowtie dress-code during operating studio hours which is a little hard for me to stick to, but all-in-all I respect his vision.
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