DeWAR Bespoke French Luxury since 1938

"Finding The Balance In An Ever-Changing World" By Tanja Beljanski
Reading time 6 minutes

I will never forget the day I met a beautiful young girl at her home back in Brussels. She was smiling, talking friendly, and bringing joy in each and every moment of our first conversation. But there was something much more to this, someone could say, simple afternoon meeting. Some time later I have realized it - this girl has the world in her eyes!

Sayana Gonzales graduated with a degree in bachelor of fine arts from Parsons School of Design in Paris, and later finished her MBA in luxury brand management from The London School of Business and Finance. Having lived around the world: in Buenos Aires (Argentina), Paris (France), Brussels (Belgium), and finally moving to New Delhi (India), Sayana has a vast international background, which she uses as a source of inspiration.

But let’s take a step back in time, precisely in 1938. when the story actually begins. This was the year when Vanina de War opened the doors of her luxury brand’s deWAR first boutique in Paris. Unfortunately, the Second World War came, and deWAR fled Europe, moving to Buenos Aires, Argentina. This is the city where Sayana Gonzales - Vanina’s granddaughter grew up. 

Maison deWar enjoyed great success until Sayana’s grandmother’s sudden sickness. The family decided to close the brand. For the past 15 years Sayana lived with one goal in mind: to reopen deWAR, and with it, those fantasy childhood years spent between fabric rolls and needles. Maison deWAR reopened in 2017, with Vanina’s granddaughter talking the legacy forward and reintroducing the brand. Ever since its reopening, Maison deWAR brings chic and comfortable resort wear made with love and care, with the essence to find balance in an ever-changing world. 

Since its reopening in 2017, the brand stands as and art form and works as melting pot between the East and the West. Providing the customers with her version of timeless and statement pieces for the modern, confident woman on the-go, this time Sayana concentrated on power-suits, little black dress, and her proposal of perfect travel look.

Keeping the legacy of traditional French tailoring alive, deWAR collection provides carefully crafted line, whispering class, sophistication and understated luxury. The collection caters to an international audience. Some of the silhouettes include Kaftans, mini dress, exaggerated sleeves, shirts made of 100% silk crepe, and fully embroidered cocktail jackets with assorted feathers and glass beads.

Sayana Gonzales designer and owner at deWAR

I have talked to Sayana again. This time we went on a journey of her becoming the woman in charge of Maison deWAR.

What made you decide to re-start your grandmother's brand? 

I can’t think of a particularly deciding moment. Growing up, I was very close to my grandmother, her atelier, and her employees. It was one of my favorite places to be. I always assumed that I was going to grow up close to them and, gradually, become a more important part of the team. It was very organic. Unfortunately, my grandmother passed away when I was only 9 years old, and my family closed down Maison deWAR. When this happened, it was made very clear to me that this was only something temporary, should I choose to continue with it. My mother has renewed the Maison deWAR trademark in Argentina ever since and the Atelier, located in Buenos Aires still belongs to my family.
I feel extremely lucky to had known at such a young age that having a fashion house is my calling in life, and every decision I have taken since, has been to get a little closer to this goal. 

Do you remember your grandmother well? Did she influence your love of fashion? 

Yes, I remember her confidence, I remember how people would look at her, I remember how she would always be perfectly dressed and styled for the occasion. Above all I remember her elegance.
My grandmother has influenced the way in which I want to rebuild her brand. One could say I am re-building deWAR in her fashion. Her Atelier was her second home, and her employees part of her family. Some of them are still part of mine. 

Can you take us through 20th century deWAR and deWAR of the 21st century? 

20th Century deWAR was eclectic, and fashion forward. My grandmother embraced the use of bright colors and patterns, while 21st Century deWAR is a little more understated, with a focus on timeless pieces and a usually monochromatic palette with a few pops of colors. Nevertheless, deWAR has always provided a carefully crafted line, with impeccable attention to detail and the outmost respect for fit. This is at deWAR’s core, and while fashion might change, our style remains the same. 

You have lived around the world, experiencing different cultures. How does this influence your work? 

I think this is one of my biggest inspiration points. Living around the world has given me an enviable variety in life: I am Franco-Argentinian and now an overseas citizen of India, thanks to my darling husband, Gaurav.
I am spoilt for choice in terms of culture, food, architecture, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. Having lived in Asia, Europe and South America has given me a broader perspective and an understanding of different ways of life. It has shaped my decision making process and has taught me to communicate more efficiently. 

What inspires you the most? 

Melting pots, collaborations, cross-cultural exchanges. In all their forms and shapes. I am obsessed.

How many collections per year deWAR presents? 

For the moment we present 2 full collections per year and we add what I like to call Mid-Season treat: usually we revisit the most successful looks of the season and give them a little twist, but it can also be a capsule collection. Last year we launched a limited knitwear collection and introduced our slogan, MAKE LOVE NOT WAR, LOVE deWAR. The goal for 2020 is to present four collections per year. 

What do you propose as the most modern luxury fabric?

Milk Fabric! It needs less resources for its production, it is eco-friendly, and it has a great silk like feel and touch. 

What is your favorite look for the modern woman? 

The deWAR suit, a.k.a the power suit.

How do you see the woman in this ever-changing world? 

Confident, strong, humble and ready to rule the world. 

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