Osman Yousefzada: dressing Beyonce
Beyonce has turned the fashion designer into a star
Left: Blue brocade peacoat, €1,470, pink and red silk georgette skirt, €785. Middle left: Blue kimono coat, €1,470, pink structured peplum top, €755, navy cropped trousers, €545, black scarf with gold fringing, €265. Middle right: Blue brocade asymmetric drape dress, €1,160. Right: Yellow brocade top, €770, black cropped trousers, €460; all from Osman at Brown Thomas, Dublin.
When Beyoncé Knowles appeared in a sleek black-and-white catsuit at the Grammy Awards last year (pictured below) the fortunes of a little known designer in London changed overnight. “It was phenomenal,” recalls Osman Yousefzada, “and on a visit to Paris in November her image was all over Paris on the cover of Madame Figaro. I couldn’t believe it.”
It all started when the British Fashion Council took him and some other designers to Los Angeles last October and Beyoncé’s stylist picked out the catsuit for a look that was to win universal praise. “She really rocked the jumpsuit trend,” he says.
Yousefzada, who started his label in 2007 and has been showing at London Fashion Week for the past eight years, is now the darling of the red carpet. His collections are being stocked in Ireland for the first time and he will visit Dublin in October.
The latest for autumn/winter, with its lovely silk jacquards, angular lines and playful motifs is based on the idea of a jet set bohemian. He had sixties style icon Talitha Getty in mind. He has kept it light in spirit and in colour with yellows, orange, blue, pinks, slate grey and gold. “I love blue – it’s an eternally chic colour and works well with any age and you’re not drowning in black,” he says. The brocades come from Lyon and the silhouettes have deceptively simple lines. He is known for his ability to flatter different shapes and for draping.
Yousefzada grew up in Birmingham, one of five children of an Afghan carpenter and dressmaker, and started sewing as a teenager. “I come from an immigrant family who all had to work. My parents are both craft workers and we grew up with a strong work ethic and making stuff with our hands,” he says. After a brief period studying anthropology at the School of Oriental and African Studies, Osman moved to fashion at Central Saint Martins and after graduation worked with Donna Karan and Joseph before setting up on his own.
In his first season he was nominated for the Designs of the Year awards at the Design Museum and a year later his little black dress for Mango was sold in more than 200 stores in 35 countries earning a place in Didier Ludot’s boutique in the Palais Royale in Paris.
In May 2010 he was selected by the Victoria & Albert Museum for their Fashion and Motion series and its Irish curator Oriole Cullen from Killiney remains his muse. He created his first wedding dress for her in heavy silk crepe.
His many fans include Helen Mirren, Kate Moss, Lady Gaga, Gwyneth Paltrow. “Getting the right beautiful women is quite important. I think customers identify more with a celebrity than a model and this [lucky chance] came knocking at my door and I am embracing it.”