Based in Marrakesh, Artsi Ifrach is a visionary. Creating pieces for his brand, Maison ARTC, that are heavy with textile and history, Ifrach has generated a body of work that leaves us feeling sculptural, empowered, luxurious, and pining for more. In case the fashion itself wasn't staggeringly artistic enough (which we assure you, it is!) the looks are captured masterfully as Mous Lamrabat—with an undeniable eye for space—photographs model and muse Tilila Oulhaj wearing each piece with so much beauty and power it leaves us weak at the knees. Believe us when we say it was nearly impossibly to narrow down which pieces we wanted to include as they are all hypnotically ingenious!
Ifrach never received any form fashion education but his talent is overwhelming. We will let Ifrach himself introduce his work:
“I create my pieces with a total freedom, from the state of mind I have at that moment. The point is to be respectful of the past, of the culture and bringing something warmer. In my pieces I want to create a memory that moves me emotionally. Vintage fabrics can match past and present together. Colours, patterns and prints are my landscape.
Napoleon said once 'there is a thin line between the ridiculous and the sublime', I am searching this line every time in every piece." (1)
There is an undeniable exploration of whimsy that can be seen in many of the Maison ARTC pieces; this exploration sometimes results in questionable wearability but always produces addictive visual compositions. These avant garde pieces are a playful but somehow somber opus that nods to the Middle Eastern environment they emerge from. There is seemingly no boundary or filter in the construction of the garments which alludes to the freedom Ifrach embraces during his creative process. All the while, the pieces remain shockingly refined. While the designs are deeply complex, even vertiginous, no thread seems extraneous nor do any pieces in his collection feel cluttered or overworked. There is thoughtful balance and intentionality in each look.
What we love most about Maison ARTC pieces is the commitment to and clear appreciation for textile; rich with dense diverse texture and vintage color palettes that offer a whisper of antiquity are effortlessly woven into contemporary shapes. The forms are boldly sculptural and refreshingly androgynous with oversized billows of fabric that surround, without drowning, those lucky enough to wear them. This dramatic incorporation of shape extends along floor length coats and skirts straight up to intricate headpieces that, while not always wearable, leave us swooning over their ravishing plumes and manes.
And no conversation on Maison ARTC would be complete without an acknowledgment of Tilila Oulhaj—arguably the most gorgeous model we have seen in recent years. In a flourished speckling, stamped beauty marks are scattered across her mesmerizingly symmetric features, framing her eyes, which are full of both melancholy and inspiration. Her ability to transform wearable art to a fantastical cinematic mirage is nothing short of striking, especially when the pieces are as independently valorous as those created by Ifrach.