Milia Maroun aka Milia M: Femininity, Fluidity and Finishes

Nélida Nassar   01.16.2016

Milia M reflects the spirit of its creator Milia Maroun with its minimalism and avant-garde spirit. Maroun, a graduate of Esmod, Paris, began her company with a flagship store in her native Beirut; meanwhile she continues to roam the world for inspiration and discovery. Iconoclastic, radical and experimental, Milia M expresses her creativity through the recycling, the transformation, the reconstruction and the reinterpretation of fashion elements, which she sees as challenges to conventional shapes and rules.

At the fringe of the fashion system’s rigor, Milia M remains outside the current fashion trends: no advertising, no marketing, only a digital platform. Its “artisanal” pieces made in Beirut and India – ranging from accessories to casual prêt-à-porter clothes have the look of timeless classics, and they complete and layer each other, season after season.

Feminine, oversize or mini-size, the deconstruction and transformation of the items, the play on the volume, the changing of the forms, the re-thinking of the first use of the garment, ambiguity, trompe l’oeil, as well as partially reflecting fashion trends while remaining classic: these moves all find expression among the designer’s clothes. The sleek, the simple and the fluid, as well as the denial of superfluous, are the principles of Milia M.

An exposed silk lining, Milia M’s initial iconic design and still one of its best sellers, came to life again in the reversible “Kimbaya” collection of hybrid coats, mixing the traditional Arabic Abaya with the Japanese Kimono. This line was produced in collaboration with Bokja Design Studio, which lent a different feel to this style. The collection reinterpreted and juxtaposed antique and contemporary fabrics. The lining emerges from the shell, becoming the concept’s focal point. It could also be pulled outward, transforming an otherwise hidden detail into a signature design element. Numerous exquisite reversible silk shirts in a palette of neutral solid colors are enriched on the luxurious reverse side with the colors of Oriental spices: cinnamon, chartreuse, indigo, prophyry and more. The only embellishments are a few accented white stitches.

Dresses revealed both smart pleating from the shoulder and great daubs of color, as though the garment had sat on wet paint. While the looks were demure, there was subversion here: the dress side is in sheer color suggesting nude skin. There are other studies in feminine dress codes and the rigor of an elegant ladylike silhouette: there were similar riffs on the skirt-suit here, along with a few devilish little touches. Milia M is always about a softer show of femininity, though, with lots of silky layers. An aubergine, bias-cut two-piece glided over the body, looking perfectly lovely.

WeAr Select London is currently and during Men’s fashion week exhibiting in its gallery Milia M’s “Panta Rei” fashion installation. It is noteworthy that WeAr Select London, Premium Berlin and WeAr magazine all have the same well-known founders, an established group among the professionals in the fashion industry.

The “Panta Rei” installation comprises ninety-six dotted feather tops, an iconic component from Milia M’s collections. The colored dots clusters and spell out the words NOW HERE on one side of the piece and EVOLVING on the reverse side. The installation and composition are gradually dismounted as each top is removed and sold. “Everything flows, nothing stands still” – Heraclitus’s aphorism – suggests that objects, time, and values are imaginary, just a matter of perception. Maroun’s gesture is always elegant, always aiming towards the sublime, and her designs are marked by femininity and fluidity, accompanied by impeccable details and finishes. Her creations perfectly reflect Mies van der Rohe’s design philosophy that “God is in the detail.”