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One of our TheStyleColumn photographers couldn’t take her eyes off a stunning model in the middle of the media lounge during London Fashion Week prompting her to say ‘You look like that singer – Nelly Furtado’. The enigmatic lady replied, ‘Well I’ve never been called that before – thank you’. Turns out this lady wasn’t just a model but also an up and coming fashion designer and photographer doing some background research for a potential show next year. After showing us some of her collections on facebook we were in awe of not only her vast collection but her elegant style and sensuality. TheStyleColumn proudly interviews and presents Mahtab Jamili, creator and designer of Katayoon London.
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Photography: Ra’ed Qutena

Location: Kuwait

TSC: For those who do not know you, tell us a little bit about yourself and how you became a fashion designer?

MJ: My name is Mahtab Jamali, 26 years old. I was born in Iran into a very artistic and fashion loving family, although my father was an oil engineer, he still enjoyed fine fashion. Growing up, and still to this day, I’ve always admired my mother’s beauty, talent, sense of power and femininity that she puts into creating the dresses she makes that I have enjoyed all of my life.

From a very young age I knew I would be in a position to excel with all of the knowledge that she has shared with me. In the beginning I started making clothes for my dolls and barbies with scarp fabrics I found in my moms workshop. I had to start somewhere right? From there on out I was drawn into the glamourous world of fashion.

Model: Linda Reinvalde

Photography, Hair and Make-up: Mahtab Jamali

Collection: Spring/Summer 2012

TSC: You seem to be a polymath having skills and talents across the field from being a photographer, model and fashion designer. Are you simply a woman who likes to be in control of your work or do you like to play a lot of different roles?

MJ: In terms of work I’m a perfectionist. I tought myself photography, styling and professional make up while modelling.

TSC: Of all your roles, which you prefer as you were a model before you became a fashion designer?

MJ: I love them all. Yes I was a model before becoming a fashion designer but I have always seen myself as a designer first, only because I grew up with it and started drafting many design before I even attended fashion school. But over all I love cameras. We get on very well.

TSC: Your brand label is named after your mother – did she help influence and develop your talent?

MJ: Well whatever I  have in this world is because of my mother; she is my best friend and I have learned EVERYTHING not only in terms of fashion but life itself. I guess dedicating the name of my brand to her its the smallest thing I can ever do to thank her for everything she has taught me in life and my career.

Photography: Ra’ed Qutena

Location: Kuwait

TSC: You’re clearly a well travelled and worked in different countries, which would you say has been the most influential and why?

MJ: I love all the cultures and styles but deep down I have this great interest of wanting to know more about middle eastern countries and their individual fashion style. My home land Iran has always been my most influential country towards my work as it has a great history and each city looks completely different to another with a whole different culture and fashion sense. Also I love nature and hence why most of my photo shoots are mixed with nature.

TSC: Describe your creative process – how you create one of your stunning gowns and where do you source your materials?

MJ: In terms of creative process, my visions come to me at the speed of thought. At the moment everything is made in London by my mother and I. We collect fabrics from all over the world, but generally most of them are Italian fabrics sourced in London.

TSC: We initially met at September’s LFW at Freemason Hall. You were researching how the shows were presented and potentially getting prepared for your debut show next February. Are you still planning for that to happen?

Photography: Ra’ed Qutena

Location: Kuwait

MJ: It’s not certain at the moment but who knows.

TSC: What type of women would wear your pieces?

MJ: My designs have a great touch of confidence and femininity and are perfect for ladies who would like to look very classy, curvy, chic and presentable.

TSC: Who are your inspirational figures in the fashion industry? Is there anyone you would love to collaborate with?

MJ: Apart from my mother, I truly admire Elie Saab because of his talent, taste and the details of his work.

TSC: What does fashion mean to you?

MJ: Fashion is LIFE!

TSC: How do you see Katayoon expanding over the next five years?

MJ: Well knowing that you cannot connect the dots looking into the future my hope is that I’m able to establish Katayoon internationally and transform it to be one of the most desired brands to be wearing.

Model: Linda Reinvalde

Photography, Hair and Make-up: Mahtab Jamali

Collection: Spring/Summer 2012

Model: Slavena Mihaylova

Photographer: Rudolph Niasme

Make-up Artist: Sadaf Khan

Model: Mahtab Jamali

Photographer: Rudolph Niasme

Make-up Artist: Sadaf Khan

Model: Hamasa Kohistani

Photographer: Rudolph Niasme

Make-up Artist: Sadaf Khan

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Check out Mahtab at work during her recent photo shoots below and on her facebook page here.

Interview by Vaskar Szen Kayastha

Images courtesy of Mahtab Jamali