Emerging Middle-Eastern designer Roni Helou has debuted his Fall/Winter 2021 collection in a short film titled “Road to Exi(s)t.” Captured in three different locations during the pandemic-induced lockdown, Helou enlisted Ghiya Haidar for production and Pedro Hasrouny as the director to create a film on an iPhone that follows a young man on his journey of escapism.
Starting in his room, the man can be seen listening to the news that hears a newsreader speak of deaths in Lebanon — which is also Helou’s home country. The mise-en-scène becomes gloomier and is a direct reflection of the news, as the man wanders through industrial zones decked in the latest FW21 garments from the sustainably-minded brand. Deadstock materials such as poplin, gauze, cotton knit, denim, crinkle, and bachette find themselves constructing a floaty, cape-like black overcoat, as well as essentials such as a black T-shirt that’s finished with a turned-over neckline, and a rollneck.
As the film continues to reflect modern life, the man’s journey from being desensitized to the tragic news transitions into the escapist image Helou wants us to explore. Now seen in an open field, which looks to “breathing in a new, more hopeful outlook on life,” Helou wants us to do the same in order to live a simpler, greener lifestyle, reflecting on reality but also his conscious brand ethos.
Take a look at Roni Helou’s FW21 “Road to Exi(s)t” film above, and purchase the entire seasonal collection on the designer’s website now.
For more on emerging Middle-Eastern designers, here’s how some are using self-expression to change the shape of fashion and culture.