2009 has been a breakout year for Montreal designer and rising star Rad Hourani. After debuting his fall collection at New York Fashion Week earlier this year, the young designer instantly became the buzz of the fashion world. His edgy, modern, androgynous approach to design not only garnered comparisons to the likes of Helmut Lang and Ann Demeulemeester, but rumors of a future at Dior Homme began spreading like wildfire.

Dubbed a fashion visionary, Hourani’s genius is in his avant-garde unisex designs. Jackets transform from one style to another, vests for guys double as dresses for girls, high heels are re-imagined for a man’s wardrobe. For him, unisex isn’t a gimmick or a hot new trend. It’s his point of view. “I could never find the kind of clothes I wanted to wear, either in men’s or women’s, so I made a collection for myself,” says Hourani. “The best thing about it was finding my own style — the line reflects me completely.”

Hourani may still be an up-and-comer but he’s not letting his amateur status slow him down. This month, he launches his new line of casual basics, Rad by Rad Hourani. While the original Rad Hourani line focuses on statement pieces like jackets, suits, leather pants and architectural dresses, the new line offers t-shirts, jeans and cardigans to compliment the main collection. The Rad by Rad Hourani line will be available this month at radbyradhourani.com.

Get to know the man behind the visionary in our latest edition of Designer DNA. As for the Dior Homme rumors, Hourani says simply, “No comment,” adding with a laugh, “don’t follow rumors because they are endless.”

What is your idea of perfect happiness?
Being at peace with yourself.

If you could choose an occupation other than your own what would it be?
I would be an architect because when I sketch I start with a form instead of thinking about the clothes first. I like graphic lines that are very architectural so I think being an architect would fit perfectly with me.

Who is your style icon?

Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
I always say “illegal,” like if I have a bad meal or go to a bad movie, I’ll say, “Oh my god, this is so illegal.”

What is your most treasured possession?

Life. I think life is a treasure.

iPhone or Blackberry?

I have an iPhone but I only use it for important calls. I rarely answer my phone. But I do think it’s very modern and beautiful.

More with Rad on the next page …

We play 20 questions with our ELLE compatriot, Joe Zee


Any tattoos?

No. I wasn’t born with a tattoo so I don’t need to get one.

What is your greatest extravagance?

Silence. It’s so rare to have real silence in your mind and in yourself.

Latest beauty/grooming discovery?

Pressed almond oil. It’s the perfect thing to put on your skin. It’s amazing.

Fashion trend you wish would disappear?

All trends.

How would you describe your personal style?

Modern, slick, straight and black. Minimalist in the look but very complex in the detail.

What are your five key wardrobe pieces?

I always wear pieces from my own collection because I design for myself first.

1. My half leather pants (the signature pants from my collection)

2. My strap pants

3. My transformable jacket with zippers

4. My panel jacket

5. My unisex high heel boots

What is on the top of your shopping list right now?

Nothing because I make everything I need.

What do you consider your greatest achievement?

Being liberated in doing what I always wanted to do.

What’s the biggest lesson you learned this year so far?

Every day is a great lesson but I think the best lesson I’ve learned this year is to continue believing in what you believe in. Faith.

Describe your perfect Sunday?

I don’t have days off. I always have things to do, but if I could take one day off I would sit in the sun. Just resting.

What do you most value in your friends?

Honesty. Communication is important to me and I appreciate people who know how to communication in an honest way.

What is your Twitter policy?

I have no idea what that is.

What will you do when you retire?

I’ll never retire. I love what I do — it’s a part of me. The day I retire, I’ll be dead.

Finish this sentence:

“People think I’m
cold and snobby but I’m really
just shy.

Read more

We play 20 questions with our ELLE compatriot, Joe Zee
Designer DNA: Smythe
Designer profile: Andy Thê-Anh