My first impression of Zaid Affas’ work is that its minimalist, sculptural and intellectual sensibility is very New York. But it turns out that the Kuwait-born, U.K.-raised designer calls Los Angeles home. “The weather and the lifestyle are the best,” explains Affas. “Creatively, it’s just so easy to live there. You can be in your own world. It doesn’t impose on you like London or New York. That said, I do what I do whether I’m in New York or London or L.A.” And what he does is create impeccably tailored, power­fully simple pieces: Think gorgeous elongated funnel necklines, dresses with thigh-high slits and jackets with exag­gerated “samurai” shoulders. “I want to do collections where each look will always be special,” he says. “A woman can wear it for 10 years and people will still tell her it’s beautiful, but at the same time it’s not overwhelming or too trendy or based on a season or gimmick.”

He launched his line in 2014–after working for Ralph Lauren, BCBG Max Azria and Ports 1961–and had his runway debut last November at the Art Gallery of Ontario. He was there at the invitation of Lisa and George Corbo (of George C) for the fifth annual “George Invites Margaret to Dinner” fundraiser for the Princess Margaret Cancer Centre “Believe It Billion Dollar Challenge.”

Zaid on his…
Mission: “I want women to feel dressed up but not pompous.”

Design Process: “I’m inspired by pure principles of form. I don’t have embellishments, which are designed as an applied layer as opposed to the form itself.”

Career choice:
“My father is an architect; that’s what I wanted to be, but he said: ‘You’ll study for seven years and you won’t make any money. Don’t do it!’ I went to Central Saint Martins to study painting and fine arts, but I did some fashion photography and discovered I liked fashion.”

“I admire the cleanliness of Mies van der Rohe and the folding curves of Frank Gehry.”

“Tilda [Swinton] and Cate [Blanchett] are my dream clients. They’re smart, elegant and sophisticated. They’re good at what they do–they’re not just celebrities.”

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