If a village once had a soul, culture would be that soul. To last forever, there must be a duty to preserve the inherited culture and values passed from one generation to another. It can take a village to raise a child, but to raise a child with a craft takes three generations in a house. Aline, a young lady from Baakline, once emerged from one of those houses, and now, with honor, Aline is part of the house of Salim Azzam, where she strives to reflect Azzam’s philosophy of translating the culture of the old ancestors into modern art.
Aline’s story started years ago, early that morning, holding her grandmother’s hand, feeling her warm palms, and strolling down the streets in the heart of Baakline El Chouf. At the age of eleven, Aline witnessed the duty of the women of her village, who joined together to preserve the craft they inherited, the craft of embroidery and crochet, at the Baakline Artisanal Workshop. Since that day, Aline has found her new world where she says, "I hold a needle and a thread, I isolate myself and dive into the world of embroidery where the needle allows my hand to express the emotions running through my heart into soft fabrics."
Aline lives in a house that not just ties a family of generations together, but also is an extension of the endless emotional stories that are revealed in every piece of that house. 25 years ago, this bedsheet was made to tell a story of a bride. Years have passed and it is still there, placed on the bed with a story to tell.
Aline's grandmother, holding the handcrafted bedsheet that she made exclusively for her daughter, said: "Brides in Chouf are different. Each one of them is different, with her own unique embroidered sheets, and I wanted my daughter to be the most special bride." Neither this bedsheet is aging nor the craft, it is blooming with Aline in her own way of inspiration. "It will not stop there; this craft deserves to be felt and seen.
I am grateful to be supported by Salim Azzam, and I feel honored to be part of his vision, not only preserving our craft but also communicating its beauty in fashion," said Aline.
By joining the house of Salim Azzam as the youngest lady on the team three years ago, Aline’s story echoed other stories in a community of expressionism and modernism. A community where she found support, inspiration, and a window to express her values through garments in a modern way of self-expression.
At Salim Azzam, they all come together to open a window of cultural sustainability by translating what comes from their roots into a blooming modern flower with a mix of history and modernity in the vision of young talents. In an atelier that goes beyond a family, where this craft is passing through one hand of generation into another among ladies, each one with her own story.
This was the story of Aline, who once was the youngest lady on the team after a new young emerging talent joined the atelier to tell the stories she Inherited, a new blooming flower named Neyrouz.
Written by Muhammad Aoun.
Documented and photographed by Aline Deschamps.