Chatting With the Designer of Lili Reinhart’s Golden Globes Dress
The London-based designer Ahmed Alkhyeli shares what it was like to see his design on the world stage.
To kick off awards season, actress and Riverdale star Lili Reinhart made her stunning Golden Globes debut in a glam strapless red tulle gown by London-based brand Khyeli. The designer behind the label — Ahmed Alkhyeli — previously studied architecture and has become known for his elegant and feminine pieces, with a focus on fabric and construction details. The designer gave us the rundown on the process of creating the dress, how he found out the actress was wearing it and what he wants to see more of on the red carpet.
Tell us about the dress.
The dress is made of approximately 100 meters of delicate red tulle; it took over 150 hours to make by hand. It has a built-in corset made of pure silk dupion and is lined with pure silk satin.
When did you learn that Lili had picked the dress and when did you first see it at the Golden Globes?
A week before the awards, but we didn’t presume anything until we saw her wearing it on the red carpet. My little brother is a diehard fan of Riverdale, so sharing this with him was really special. In fact, he was the first person I shared the photo with. I love seeing my dresses on women I respect. Lili looked absolutely stunning in the dress!
Khyeli is the label from London-based designer Ahmed Alkhyeli. Image by: Courtesy of Ahmed Alkhyeli
How do you feel about the reactions to the dress and what does it mean to have one of your designs on such a big stage?
Words cannot describe the feeling. So much love went into the creation of this dress and so it’s very gratifying to see this love so widely reciprocated. This dress was one of the last few we were working on for the spring-summer 2019 collection and was at risk of not being ready on time. I remember sitting down with the head of atelier and stressing her to do all she could to have it ready on time. Now we laugh about it. All the late nights were worth it — it made it to the Golden Globe Awards!
How does your background in architecture influence your designs?
Architecture taught me to look beyond the aesthetics of fashion. I learned to think about the concepts and ideas that generate the designs and to pay a great deal of attention to materiality and construction. In turn when it comes to my designs, a great deal of thought is put into the concepts that generate them, along with a great deal of consideration in the choice of fabric, cut and construction.
The red carpet is so dominated by big brands — how do you stand out as an upstart brand? Do you want to see red carpet style changing to include more up-and-coming designers?
We pay a lot of attention to the craft, and we only try to create things that truly complement the women wearing them. I think people see that in our designs and so the brand has attracted a lot of love since its launch. I do hope to see more up-and-coming designers on the red carpet. I love women that know what they like. I also think women look the best when they love what they are wearing and so I do hope that the choices made for the red carpet become more and more based on that and irrespective of the brands behind them.
What’s next for you and your label? Any exciting upcoming projects, collaborations or collections this year?
Yes! The Autumn/Winter 2019 collection’s presentation this February, in London.