Arefeh Mansouri’s fashion and costume designs have graced red carpets, runways and major Hollywood productions. Her signature store, AREFEH, is the latest addition to 150 Worth’s collection of exclusive boutiques.
How would you describe your design style?
I am best know for my couture evening gowns and wedding dresses. That being said, my design style or paradigm, if you will, has been described most often as avant garde. I personally never felt that way because it tends to typecast me a bit. However, I can see how people can come to that conclusion when observing the complexity and detail that goes into some of my pieces. The more complicated and unique the better, from my point of view. Nothing gives me more delight than creating something that defies what people expect or defies their sense of what can be--in a good way of course.
Who is the AREFEH woman?
The AREFEH Woman is not wish-washy. She knows who she is and is not afraid to show it. She is not into conforming and is not afraid to stand out.
What inspires your designs?
Anything and everything. It doesn't have to be a tangible thing at all. Many artists get inspired by nature, landscape, and things they can see and touch. I get all that, and I use those elements also. But sometimes I wake up from a dream, and I instantly know that I have to transfer the image in my mind on paper before I lose it forever... and I have no clue where it comes from. At times I become inspired by a smell or a feeling. It's never any one thing. It's everything.
What kind of fabrics and textures do you gravitate toward?
Oh, I love silk. I can do anything with silk. In fact, come to think of it, I would like to be mummified in it when the time comes.
Why did you decide to open your signature store in Palm Beach and specifically, 150 WORTH?
For me Worth Avenue is the place to be for high fashion in Florida and at least one of the most important fashion locations in the country. I love the sophisticated energy there, and I am comforted by the fact that many of the biggest designers in the world are represented there.
What do you think sets Palm Beach apart from other fashion destinations?
Fashion density. You have all the best of the best squeezed into a small area that has a beauty second to none. If you don't live in Florida and you haven't been for a while you really should go and see it for yourself.
What trends are you predicting for fall?
Beaded, romantic and soft bridal gowns.
How do your three collections (ready-to-wear, evening gown and couture bridal) differ from each other?
Ready-to-wear is everyday clothing such as sportswear, things you wear and use over and over for multiple occasions. I have both an affordable and high-end ready-to-wear line. My evening gowns range from ornate, one-of-a-kind pieces for formal events to simple and chic dresses for more casual occasions. Of course, couture bridal or evening gowns are one-off pieces. They will never be duplicated. They are made with the best fabric and materials and command a higher price.
In three words, what can we expect from AREFEH?
Total world domination.
You became successful in the industry at an early age. Do you have any advice for aspiring fashion designers?
Be prepared for the word no.
What are some of your current must-have items?
Black pencil skirt, little black dress and a black blazer. With these three items you can dress up or dress down based on the occasion, and it's always fashionable and classy.