DUBAI: Since launching her namesake label in Beirut in 2013, Andrea Wazen has gone on to become one of the biggest names in footwear design, grabbing the attention of celebrities and stars such as Kylie Jenner, Beyonce, and Jennifer Lopez.
The younger sister of Lebanese fashion influencer Karen, Wazen recently launched her first handbag collection called High Hopes, adding a new scope to her brand.
She told Arab News: “I always wanted to add a matching bag to the shoe styles I design. I finally decided to proceed with it last season during fall, winter 2022 with the Armid and Mandaloun embroidered bags that go very well with the matching Sursock flats.
“I’m super-excited to launch our latest bag, the Franca bag, which will be launching with the spring, summer 2022 collection,” she said.
The collection has been inspired by Beirut architecture of old houses and pays tribute Wazen’s own Lebanese heritage.
“Growing up with both of my parents as architects, the beautiful and unique Lebanese architecture has always been a huge part of my inspirations.
“Beirut is known for its distinguished classic architecture, trapezoidal roofs of heritage Lebanese homes, and large three-light windows. It had deeply inspired me while designing the bags collection, as I wanted my designs to reflect my heritage.
“I was solely inspired by the streets of Beirut, roofs of heritage houses around the city, and the architecturally renowned Sursock Palace. It has all the amazing details, from its three-light windows to long Sursock symbol-embossed staircases,” she added.
Her High Hopes collection is made up of colorful leathers and mesh fabrics, making the bags a great spring, summer collection.
Wazen’s favorite piece from the collection is the trapezoid shaped Armid bag.
She said: “It was the first bag I designed for the collection. It was inspired by the classic trapezoidal roofs of Beirut, and comes in fabulous colors such as hot pink, jade green, and lavender. It is handcrafted in beautiful nappa leather and embroidered see-through mesh, making it the perfect statement bag to an outfit.”
Wazen was always passionate about designing and sketching. On what items would always be found in her own handbag, she added: “My phone for sure, a measuring tape, and a pen in case I need to doodle something.”
She studied at the Istituto Marangoni of Paris, and then did shoe designing courses in Central Saint Martins college in London. After her studies, Wazen went on to work with some of the most prominent footwear designers, including Christian Louboutin and Rupert Sanderson, before launching her own brand.