Since his Paris debut in 2007, Rad Hourani has been like a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma under a black leather tunic. Now showing in New York, he's as abstruse as ever, his models—male and female—giving nothing away as they storm down the runway sheathed in all-black, armor-like uniforms, as if they're some chic army from the future. With a photo exhibition coming up in New York and a film script in the works, it seems there's yet another layer to the designer. Here, one writer's attempt to unravel the mystery that is Rad Hourani...
The first fashion show I ever attended was yours. What was your first show?
Oh, wow. The first show I ever attended was Chanel when I first moved to Paris. I got a call from Chanel saying that Karl was amused with the portrait I did of myself looking like him. They invited me to the show and it was lovely. It was like a concert, with what felt like thousands of people and a great energy.
What's the most beautiful photograph you've ever seen?
I think that I haven't seen it yet. I think beauty is everywhere, but perfection is nowhere. I'm a perfectionist, but I don't think perfection exists. These mediums that I use, fashion and photography, give me the illusion that perfection exists. I'm still looking for that one photograph and I hope some day I'll create it.
What's your guiltiest pleasure? We won't tell anyone.
Sleeping in! I love to do it, but I always feel so guilty when I do.
What is the best dream you've ever had?
I have so many dreams about flying. It's the most exciting dream when I'm flying. It's such an airy and amazing feeling. There are no limits and you can go around the planet in one day. You know, you feel alive.
What's one question you wish the fashion press would ask you?
That's a good question because sometimes I find it so repetitive. Sometimes it feels like I could cut and paste the answers. I rarely prepare myself for interviews and so I try to answer in a spontaneous and curious way. It's fresh rather than programming yourself. It's the same with the clothes.
You show in New York, but your studio is in Paris. How does that work?
After my debut collection in Paris in 2007, I was invited to show in New York. I like the idea of being from nowhere, but being everywhere. I don't really like it when designers are only from one specific city or culture. I don't want to be put into one category.
Home is where your heart is.
Yes! I don't feel like I need to have one home. My home is everywhere I go, on the street, in a restaurant, a store, a hotel. I don't function in the way that I need the security of one home to go to each night.
Besides more Rad Hourani, what do you think the New York fashion world needs?
Honestly, I think New York is perfect just the way it is—energetic and powerful!
The models in your shows and photos are androgynous beauties like Nick W. Who is your favorite new beautiful boy?
I don't think I have one. I just like working with fresh energy that doesn't have a past or a reference, whose potential nobody else seems to realize. When I first shot Yuri Pleskun, I was so excited to create images that were modern to me. I'm happy to see that he's so successful today. We've used so many models when they first started, I can't remember all their names!
How did you get into photography?
When I was eleven, my dad gave me a camera. I took tons of pictures of my friends. I was asking my friends to pose, but I had no idea there were such things as photo shoots or fashion. Recently, I had a flashback of myself as that kid. When I take a picture, it just happens. I try to think of nothing.
What are some other projects you're working on?
I'm writing a script for an hour-long movie that begins filming next year. I do videos and I work on composing music when I have the time. I had my first solo exhibition of photography in June in Paris and I'll be concentrating more on that this year, as well as another exhibition in New York. I do as much as I can!
What is one last thing we simply must know about Rad Hourani?
There are many things, but let's keep it a mystery!
Visit Rad Hourani