— July 5, 2012 —
Written by Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni and illustrated by Robert Beck, this column focuses on life in Paris, pepped up by the insiders who are steeped in chic
Osman Yousefzada Illustration by Robert BeckIt’s no secret that Osman Yousefzada is worn by the likes of Lady Gaga, Queen Rania, Charlize Theron, Gwyneth Paltrow. That said, I only discovered the British designer last March. Our initial meeting took place at Le Castiglione or Le Casti, which is how locals refer to the 24/7 wildly convenient but outrageously expensive bistro in the first arrondissement. Somewhat stressed, I arrived late for a tête-à-tête dinner with Robert Forrest – a fashion world eminence grise, reputed for his tight links to Rifat Ozbek, Giambattista Valli, Horiyoshi III and Brown’s. Gripping as our dinner was – the très connected Robert defines salaciously informed – I felt a pair of eyes burning in my back. The eyes being Osman! And before I knew it, the born-in-Birmingham geek chic dandy introduced himself.
"I found myself on Friday night losing myself in the sophistication of Osman’s designs, admiring his graphic cut and choice of fabric..."
His mischievous schoolboy smile struck the right chord. Quick wit mixed with self-belief and charm will win me every time. And even though the following afternoon was crammed with shows and appointments, I found myself on Friday night losing myself in the sophistication of Osman’s designs, admiring his graphic cut and choice of fabric. Stripped down to my opaque Wolfords, I began trying everything on. Odd to do when I barely know Osman but his desirable clothes obliterate inhibitions, somehow. After strutting around in his jacquard cape, his burgundy lace-up booties, his jewelled cuff, I became smitten by his thick white cotton top. Imagine a boat neckline, reasonably flared sleeves and a bodice that seamlessly rises higher in the front than back.
So, after months of driving dear Osman mad, the delicious creation finally arrived. And talk about a successful first test drive. The tunic received le thumbs up from the style icon Jacqueline de Ribes while countless others asked if I was sporting vintage Balenciaga.
Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni is a Paris-based British writer who covers fashion and lifestyle as well as being the author of Sam Spiegel – The Biography of A Hollywood Legend, Understanding Chic, an essay from the Paris Was Ours anthology, the soon-to-be released Tino Zervudachi – A Portfolio – as well as the Chanel book, for Assouline's fashion series.
Robert Beck is former New Yorker currently based in Paris. Also known as C.J. Rabbitt, he is the author and illustrator of several children's books, including The Tale of Rabbitt in Paradis, Un Lapin à Paris and the soon-to-be-published A Bunny in the Ballet.