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The Fashion Insider Diary: Oceanus founder Hannah Attalah

 We caught up with the fashion mogul on dressing from day to night, how to take an outfit "up a notch" and how Coco Chanel inspires her designs

The Fashion Insider Diary: Oceanus founder Hannah Attalah
Lauren Ramsay
Online Writer
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Hannah Attalah describes her personal style as "feminine and glamorous with a touch of individuality" - a definition that embodies the fundamentals of her cool-girl-approved brand, Oceanus.

"When I launched Oceanus I wanted the brand to empower women and allow them to feel beautiful in our pieces," she tells Hello! Fashion. We'd say her extensive list of influencer and A-list clientele including Priyanka Chopra, Anya Taylor Joy and Rita Ora, is the ultimate proof that she is succeeding.

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Hand beading and embroidery is at the heart of her show-stopping, 80s glamour-inspired designs that fashion fans swoon over season after season, and it was working "in the studios of Jean Paul Gaultier and Zandra Rhodes, learning first-hand embroidery techniques" that helped her perfect her craft.

Granted, there is lots of Oceanus in her wardrobe (which we are beyond envious of), but her every dress code is "jeans, trainers and a crisp white linen shirt". And though she gave us plenty of food for thought when it comes to styling, she's a big believer in "being yourself and wearing what you want - there are no set rules with fashion."

We caught up with the fashion mogul on dressing from day to night, how to take an outfit "up a notch" and how Coco Chanel inspires her designs.

The Holiday Set

Hannah Attalah

Agua de Alma is an emerging brand from Bali and they made these matching dresses for me and my daughter Daphne.

I love the layered style of this dress - it feels bohemian and romantic with the ruffled hem.

The Day to Night Look

This dress is from Oceanus' new collection. The Isabella dress is a perfect day-to-night look - I styled it with vintage cowboy boots and gold jewellery but you could dress up with some heels too.

Hannah Attalah

For Dinner or Dancing  

Hannah Attalah

I love this orange set from my friend's brand Chasing Unicorns. It has really beautiful gold embroidery and I love embroidery and embellishments on clothing. It really elevates a look.

This is a look that I would wear to dinner or out dancing.

For On The Go

This is another matching look from Agua de Alma. I love this print - florals are always a firm favourite for me when I'm in hot places.

I love wearing clothes that can be styled for day to night and that are easy to wear when rushing to meetings, shoots and to see friends.

Hannah Attalah

Evening Glamour

Hannah Attalah

I love the shape of this dress and the carefree feel - the volume on the arm is beautiful. It's by a Columbian brand called Mar a Mar.

This is another floral print but in a much larger motif. I styled with Gucci Horsebit heels in pink. These are so comfortable and I can wear them all night.

The Versatile Set

This is another new set from the Oceanus collection. When designing I always think about the wearability of pieces and how you can wear them in different ways.

This look is perfect with sandals, heels or boots.

Hannah Attalah

The Fashion Insider Low-Down:

Can you describe your personal style in a few words? How does it reflect your role in the industry?

My personal style can be defined as feminine and glamorous with a touch of individuality. As the creative director and founder of my brand Oceanus, I try to bring these qualities to each collection. Sustainability is a big thing for me for both my brand and what I wear so I love to support smaller, emerging brands.

What's your go-to outfit for a busy day of events and meetings? How do you balance comfort and style?

Comfort is so important for me when running around from meeting to meeting, I usually wear my favourite jeans (I love Loewe's Anagram wide legs) and a loose-fitting crisp white shirt and trainers. It's so easy to swap into a vintage camisole top and heels for the evening, Mach and Mach are my go-to at the moment.

What are your go-to brands? (other than your own!)

Loewe, and Alanui

Do you have any fashion icons or inspirations that influence your style choices? How do they inspire you?

I love visiting museums, galleries and vintage fairs because I always leave feeling inspired. I recently went to the Chanel exhibition at the V&A when I was visiting London. It was so amazing to see her use so many different fabrics throughout her career. I have always loved using 'unusual fabrics' throughout my collections and I found the whole event to be really inspiring.

As a child growing up in London, I was always mesmerised by the shop window displays in the West End and this was how my fashion designer dreams started. I would often visit ‘Alfie’s Antique Market’ in London. There was a vast collection of vintage and designer clothes, accessories and jewellery -  I loved seeing all of the Vivienne Westwood pieces. I have been fortunate enough to work in the studios of Jean Paul Gaultier and Zandra Rhodes, learning first-hand embroidery techniques which I have incorporated into my brand.

Weekdays can be hectic. What's your weekday workwear wardrobe like, and how does it differ from your weekend attire?

I usually feel the need to chill, unwind and relax on a weekend. We are lucky to have a swimming pool in our villa in Bali which gives me the chance to put on some Oceanus and relax.

Accessories can make or break an outfit. What are your must-have accessories, and how do you use them to elevate your look?

I love stand-out jewellery or chunky boots with a feminine dress - that can really take things up a notch. 

In the fashion world, trends are constantly evolving. How do you stay up-to-date with the latest fashion trends, and do you incorporate them into your wardrobe?

I'm always reading fashion magazines, keeping my eye on social media, visiting trade shows, and holding creative meetings with my team. I love visiting my factories around the world and seeing first-hand new techniques and fabrications. I've got a keen eye for upcoming trends and I like to mix these in my wardrobe with vintage and staple pieces. 

Many people admire the way fashion insiders put together outfits effortlessly. Can you share some of your styling tips for mixing and matching pieces?

Honestly, if you feel confident and comfortable in an outfit you will wear it effortlessly. I really believe in being yourself and wearing what you want, there are no set rules with fashion.

Fashion insiders often attend high-profile events and parties. What's your strategy for creating memorable looks for evening parties?

I love a stand-out dress, especially one that is completely hand-beaded - the way the light hits and it just sparkles is always a talking point. All of our dresses are made by hand and I can create bespoke pieces that haven't been seen before. 

The industry can be demanding. How do you balance comfort and style when you have long days of meetings and appointments?

I really thrive on my active, fast-moving, busy schedule and no two days are the same. My dress code is very much jeans, trainers and a crisp white linen shirt. If I'm travelling, I always take something a little more formal as you never know if you have to go to a last-minute event.

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