Fashiondesign story: the genesis of the infamous draya panel

How do you create the perfect piece? Is there even such a thing? Personally, I don’t believe there is and our design culture at Ophir recognises that to arrive at perfection there has to be a lot of imperfection instead we believe in the perfect “fit” – a perfect circumstance where everything fit together like a jigsaw puzzle that’s how we know a design is finished. Our creative process encourages a lot of flexibility to design creation, pieces can be edited as often as needed until we have arrived at that point where the art does not reject the embroidery, where there is synergy between each pieces of the artwork/embroidery, where there is design continuity and the design flow to work. We don’t believe in smashing things together just to look good, It has to matter. How does it breathe? how does it flow? how does it translates on big stages/red carpets? how does it interact with light or camera? These are important questions and there’s a section of our creative & QA team that health check this. Our creative ideology is that every design is an experience and as such, art and design must always be able to interact and connect; with the creator and it’s spectators. If the design doesn’t speak to the creator, it won’t connect with it’s spectators neither will it spark a desire and as a designer, you must never lose sight of that.

This is the genesis of the Draya panel and the principles that guided it’s creation, we know now that we have created a phenomenal piece. A piece that pays homage to the woman’s body. The success of Draya and it’s global acceptance is reflection of our design culture. Our creative teams’ nagging desire to continue to fuss on a design until it resonates. Draya was part of a collection of 3 designs we were making for our first ever econo-luxe collection – the idea behind this collection is to create affordable yet exquisite pieces with a luxurious finish. Econo-luxe is a borrowed term which essentially translates to economical luxury, our brief were clear and concise. Myself – PM, Ari – lead designer and bridal expert, Dani – design illustrator were in charge of this special collection. As it is customary for every design, we had to gather a moodboard of ideas to guide the framework of the design. We wanted to explore new embroidery, bright color, intricate design and really unique pieces. We had settled on featuring the following details on the embroidery for the swatch – two colors rhinestone crystals because we couldn’t agree whether we wanted silver or gold LOL, iridescent crystal beads – green and blue, we settled on canutilo outline to frame the crystal embroidery and later on, an incorperation of dabka weaving because the second piece of the collection {Erivo panel – had a weaving detail that really stood out}. On the moodboard there was this picture of Anna Bayle in a Renato Balestra piece she wore in 1988. it had been on several moodboards before this one because there was something about that corset detail that stood out and immerse you into the body of the person wearing the dress. it was catchy, attention grabbing and it fit the bill of our brief but at this point we didn’t know it

Anna Bayle in Renato Balestra, 1988

We had finally settled on what was going to be the Draya panel after the swatch was finished and it came out excellent but when the full panel came out of the frame, it was glorious but very shallow. Our choice for two color crystal, the contrast against the tulle, the outline and the dabka weaving were all marvellous and worked perfectly but… it feels incomplete. something was clearly not working and if we don’t figure it out we won’t get the approval to release it to market. For perspective, the third design is still unreleased because we never truly hacked it. The second one – erivo was already approved at this point and running in production but this one was just there, barely. We needed to go back to the drawing board and figure it out but we were inching very close to the release date and there was no releasable piece yet 🙁

Several ideas and sketches had passed, the mood-board and sketches were changing everyday, nothing was resonating and time was running out fast. it wasn’t that the piece we had achieved wasn’t good, the problem was that it didn’t feel right, It needed something, it wasn’t finished

We were out for lunch and I must have had a literal light bulb moment because I popped my head and said rather loudly in the restaurant, “Anna Bayle in Renato Balestra! We need to take out the entire bodice it is horrible and replace with the corset in that Renato Balestra piece that Anna Bayle was wearing” so i took out a pen and a notebook as I always have a notebook on me and drew out perhaps the most horrible sketch i’ve ever made. 

“Ok, maybe that could work but how do we incorporate a silver corset into the draya panel?” Questions like this that Dani or Ari had asked as they were playing the devil’s advocate are really important in design development and it’s even more important in this particular development because the draya panel embroidery is quite complex, intricate and precise and the inclusion of this waist will mean reworking about 50% of the entire design in a very little time.

“The bustier in silver is designed into draya to creative an immersive experience, to engage people’s attention to the dress.”

So why a silver corset and what about this one stood out? it’s simple really. The corset in silver is designed into draya to create an immersive experience and engage people’s attention to the dress. It’s what we felt when we first saw the Renato Balestra piece even more so with draya in the middle of all that color, sparkles it calls your attention to the person wearing the dress, the femininity of the woman’s body, the curve, and it creates a striking silhouette. That’s the psychological intent of the design.

The body is our canvas, Our job is to celebrate it, to accentuate it and to design pieces that flatters and amplifies it’s beauty. When the corset was first incorporated, it didn’t immediate synergise with the entire embroidery so we fixed that by strategically placing scattered rhinestone crystals into the blanket spaces around the skirts to sort of pull in the corset and also draw the eyes downwards and have that design flow to work. These extra details helped the design synergise and that made every part of the panel to come alive. We had achieved our brief but it wasn’t a perfect route to get there, we had to edit and recreate the piece multiple time and this speak to our design culture and but also perhaps answers the initial question, is there a such a thing as the perfect piece? With Draya we had to fuss on it until we found the perfect “fit”

the evolution of draya

Art creates continuity, and reproduces itself in many different way. so, it is my great pleasure to let you know that we have decided to let the corset grow and spread it’s tentacles, literally 🙂

Introducing the Draya 2.0 – Our take on design continuity; CLICK HERE TO SHOP NOW

If you’ve read up until this point, then now is the time to get your hands on all the edits of Draya especially the newly introduced Black and the Draya 2.0 handmade panel now.

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