Basil Soda’s legacy

An interview with Jad Soda

Diala Aschkar, Art Director at Orient Palms, Paris, France

During Paris ready-to-wear fashion week, I had the pleasure to meet the family of the late Basil Soda. I had a discussion with Jad Soda, his son, and I was thrilled to view the presentation of Basil Soda’s Fall-Winter 2017-2018 collection.

After Mr. Basil Soda’s passing you were able to continue this beautiful legacy. How did you manage to do that?

For me, at first it was very hard, because I had his support and it’s difficult to start without that support. My Mom gave me all her time to help me but there was this push I needed that no one could give me except my father. I tried to recollect the steps he taught me to get through things.

Then I studied at Central Saint Martins for a year, came back to Beirut where I took the basis of the patrons. And I’m also a painter. So I’m joining all these things to arrive to a mere sample of my father.

What do you like about this legacy, how would you describe its style?

Very modern, a mix between old and new, a vintage feel as a base with added layers of modernity. A dress is like a canvas, for example, we are doing now a new Bridal collection, there are many gowns that are pure drawings: we are dealing with fabric as if it’s a canvas.

My father tried to put me into music, or into sports. Drawing was the only thing that interested me since my childhood, and I was passionate about it. At some point I had a professor. Of course, the fact that my father was initially an architect and my mother is an interior decorator was helpful…

You’re involved now with the creative team…

I’ve been in the Basil Soda atelier since I was a small kid, playing under the tables... So unconsciously I took a lot from that environment like a sponge. A big part of family time happened in the atelier.

Tell me about this collection, it’s inspired by Spain…

Yes, by the Matador: strong colors, sharpness in the cut, the Cornelli embroidery (Basil Soda’s signature) that comes on the skirts, the little short jackets. It’s like all this has been taken out of a bull fighting…

Team work is very important. We don’t consider people in our team as “employees”. We care about each one. We’re a big family, it’s not just me, my Mom and my late father. It’s each one of the team working to make each piece better, cleaner, more intricate, that’s the spirit… Each one of us has the will to keep Basil Soda to the top. My father died but his idea is still living.

That’s what we feel, that the legacy is still going on...

Yes we are always going forward. My father of course was unique, he could be perfect in everything he undertook, generous in every idea. He was involved in everything, from the idea, the drawings, patrons, fabric, colors, embroideries, even photoshoots. And of course the sewing.

When there is a change, most people fear change. My dad embraced change. Now we are all trying, pushing hard to be « Basil Soda ».