Ultra-talented fashion designer Ali Rahimi of Mon Atelier gave a very inspiring lecture on the art of haute couture and presented a gorgeous fashion show on April 19, 2018 at the Virginia Robinson Gardens. Ali, along with his business partner John Barle, created a beautiful vista around the pool with his absolutely stunning ball gowns on mannequins, some of which were draped at the moment to great effect! A true artist, Ali is so passionate for his craft and possesses such a wealth of knowledge that we could have listened to him all day.
Educated in England and at the Virginia Marti College of Art and Design, Ali said, “I was designing before I knew what it meant. If God gives you a gift, you must take care of it, and not damage it.” From a young age, he was exposed to haute couture. His beautiful mother used to fly to Paris to have her clothes fitted and made. Ali was surrounded by his three aunts and grandmother who also had their clothes custom made. Hence, he was always drawn to creating bespoke gowns rather than mass designs. Ali remarked that he was very lucky to have met the designer Bill Blass at the final fashion show at the Marti College of Art and Design, where he won a prize. Blass told him, “You have something very special. Don’t quit.”
Now in business for 26 years, he has amassed a collection of vintage textiles, and to the oohs and aahs of the audience, he showed exquisite silk jacquards, satin organza and Chinese silks among other rare fabrics. Ali presented the fashion show entitled “Bloom” in homage to his love of color and florals to an enraptured audience. Our very own Friends of Robinson Gardens members Robin Blake and Kathy Choi along with Hilarey Benda gracefully modeled the sumptuous ball gowns and cocktail dresses.
“Wow,” “Beautiful,“ Gorgeous,” “How cute is that!“ exclaimed the excited ladies. The use of sequins, beads, corsets, lace, feathers, vintage flowers and tulle heightened the glamour of the dresses.
There were faint echoes of iconic gowns in some of his designs. Inspired by Grace Kelly in the movie “Rear Window,” Ali designed a black and white gown with embroidered, delicate leaves cascading down the front of the white skirt. Another dramatic ball gown was inspired by Charles James’ “Four-Leaf Clover” dress. James was a British-American designer in the 1950s who dressed Babe Paley among other elegant women of the era. When Ali saw the Charles James exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2014, he was so moved, he couldn’t speak for hours! Once, he even sketched in his sleep, and woke up to find a design by his bedside! Ali took us on a veritable journey through the enthralling art of haute couture.
To purchase and order any of his fabulous custom designs, his store Mon Atelier is located at 119 North La Brea in Los Angeles, and his phone number is 323-937-1189.
After the ravishing fashion show, we sat at gorgeous tables decorated by co-chairs Kerstin Royce, Ellen Lipson and Patti Reinstein. In keeping with the theme of couture, our incredible design assistant Andrey Yun created a dress with purple and lime green satin ribbons and a velvet skirt on a miniature mannequin for the centerpieces. Bright green foliage, orchids and purple flowers surrounded the figures, and pale green tablecloths with lavender napkins echoed on a softer note the deeper colors of the centerpieces. The overall effect was simply stunning.
The attendees enjoyed a delightful luncheon, catered by Joe Monteferante. A delicious Swiss chard and goat cheese tart was served along with chicken piccata, basil salmon and two bountiful salads. Joe’s signature decadent chocolate cake completed the feast.
This lecture was the final educational event of the season. Our wonderful President Marian Power praised the co-chairs: “A huge, huge thanks to Kerstin, Ellen, and Patti . . . . The events have been just spectacular.” Kerstin thanked Superintendent Timothy Lindsay for his enormous support, and curator April Walton and Director of Operations Lynda Curland whom she said were both terrific. She thanked Andrey for always creating a “wow” factor in designing the floral décor. Kerstin also thanked everyone from “the bottom of my heart“ for coming to so many of the events, many of which were totally sold out.
Words are not enough to express our gratitude to our amazing co-chairs Kerstin, Patti and Ellen who created such a fantastic program of events for everyone to enjoy! Our lives have been so enriched by the informative and entertaining lectures, the entrancing tables, and the delectable luncheons in the sublime setting of our beloved Virginia Robinson Gardens.
Post by Linda Meadows
Friends of Robinson Gardens Board Member