A Beiruti Scene | س: an exclusive interview with Céline Khairallah

On 15 October 2012 by Maya

Scene | س is a line of beautifully executed garments, accessories and home décor that mélange east and west, incorporating Beiruti expressions and heritage with modern minimalist designs.

We conducted an exclusive interview with Scene | س designer Céline Khairallah.

S.C.: Can you start by telling us a little about the core of the brand and what it’s about ?

Céline: Scene|س is a brand coming out of Beirut, and aiming to reach universal values and needs. It brings modern design to everyday garments & objects while giving them a local singular feel often using calligraphy or illustration.

 S.C: What inspired Scene|س ?

Céline: Scene|س is a brand coming out of Beirut, inspired by the “scenes” on the street and the people of Beirut and their aspirations, this city is far from being perfect, yet it gets under your skin fast.

S.C.: Tell us a bit more about the illustrations and calligraphy on your designs… 

Every illustration in my designs has a story behind it. The old houses I illustrated are actual buildings in Beirut, a lot of these houses are being torn down everyday, so I like to show how pretty they are and in a way “save” them in my pieces. The couple T-shirt shows Beirut’s mixed culture. On the cushions, the traditional octagonal zelijje is made with everyday objects; the coffee pot or the traditional chair.

The “mixed couple” t-shirt reflecting Beirut’s mixed culture

Double-sided bag with Arabic calligraphy.

S.C: Tell us more about the mélange of traditional and modern perceptions from Beirut ?

Céline: Scene was born out of an urge for mixing and working with the many things I love: illustration, calligraphy, art, silkscreening, textile, Beirut’s busy lifestyle and modern minimal clean lines.

In using Arabic (calligraphy, language…) I aim to keep the traditional present in daily style, be it clothes or home fashion, to keep it trendy and central.

Home wall decor adorned with Arabic calligraphy & traditional proverbs.

In the Beginning I did posters (and I still do) and some people still prefer having the visual standing alone on a wall; it does give the art its full credit, people see it fully and appreciate it wholly. But, I also appreciate the universality of the garment, its accessibility, and the fact that, for exemple, an everyday t-shirt can tell a story, thus now I am working more and more on Textile.

S.C.: Do you do custom-made items (in terms of colors; calligraphy…etc)?

Céline: We are now moving in that direction, and it helps that our pieces are all part of limited edition collections. This makes it possible to invest time and energy in customizing items. I would especially encourage investing in customizing home décor, cushions and throws according to the colors of your home’s interior design.

The cushions are decorated with zelijje that’s made using daily objects like chairs (above) and coffee cups (below).

We have had some great experience with clients who were intersted in ordering home décor, such as curtains and vinyl wall art. It is a fun and refreshing experience because it is a different way of relating to and exchanging ideas with the client.

S.C.: Where can we browse and purchase your collection?

Céline: The collection is available at Blomming’s online store.  The Arabic calligraphy t-shirts are now available at La T-shirterie in Ashrafieh,Beirut with an expanded collection on the way.

In addition, we usually set up pop-up stores during the winter season, Christmas, New Year, and spring and summer vacations.

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