The Designer

Hajar Gala launched Maison de Challie amid the glittering excitement of 1990’s Sydney, where she was a key influence in the genesis of Australian couture. Her Strand Arcade showroom attracted celebrity clients; and a reputation as a master couturier earned her international acclaim.

As one of the first designers to bring couture to Australian fashion, Hajar’s collections were a special feature at the celebrated Australian Couturiers Ball for many years. Her Black and White Collection and sensual hand-painted Silk Collection dazzled audiences. After featuring her 1997 collection at the Sydney Opera House couture extravaganza, Mondo Moda—a ground-breaking event for Australian couture—she was invited to show at Florence’s Palazzo Pitti. It was the first Australian collection to be shown in Europe, captivating international fashionistas from Rome to New York.

Since then, Hajar has been dressing celebrities from around the world. A favourite of red carpet stylists, she has dressed some of Australia’s most iconic figures, including Tara Morice, Kerri-Anne Kennerly and Melissa George, as well as Azerbaijani star Röya.

Born into Azerbaijani aristocracy, the young Hajar escaped Soviet-era drabness by delving into her mother’s heirloom cache of treasures. Magically, the bejewelled silver belts, exotic headpieces and startlingly swirled skirts had eluded the dead hand of utilitarian existence. Entranced by the geometric force and heft of the traditional Caucasus designs with their intricate and delicate contrasts, the emerging artist longed for more.

As a young designer, Hajar was schooled in the classic French method. The training was rigorous and detailed, allowing her to master the highly specialised techniques which enable the dramatic shapes and silhouettes of classic couture.

With her precise knowledge of the unseen ‘engineering’ within a couture piece, Hajar Gala’s work is grounded in powerful lines and structures which allow the magic of the design to emerge.

Hajar Gala’s most recent collection showcased at Paris Fashion Week, where her sensational gowns—designed and crafted in the centuries-old couture tradition —drew international acclaim. Her remarkable work continues to be highlighted in prestigious publications, including style bible Collezioni Haute Couture, which featured the 2018 collection in its latest edition.

But Hajar Gala’s magic does not stop with the dreamy chic of the fashion shoot. She is confident that the art and genius of couture can be a transforming experience for any woman; and she believes that every woman deserves the couture experience at least once in her lifetime.
Her bespoke creations deftly re-sculpt the silhouette to reflect the individual beauty of the feminine form, from sleek classicism to the volume and virtuoso drape of a fantasy gown.

Each Hajar Gala bespoke design begins with a shared vision. The couture experience is an intimate and nuanced process, as the client becomes the focus of Hajar’s artistry and skill. The finest of iridescent silks, satins, beaded gossamer, French lace and sheer organza are handpicked with an artist’s sensibility. They form part of a working archive, from which dreamy samples are draped, swirled and pinned. To realise a unique vision for the client, specially commissioned fabric lengths may be embellished, jewelled, tucked and dyed to Hajar’s stringent specifications.

The design then evolves through the time-honoured couture tradition of calico toile (a model of the proposed design) through to the last exacting details of stitching and style—whether for a fairy-tale gown or a timeless, elegant ensemble.

Meticulous fitting, along with mastery of cut and tailoring inform a creative vision founded upon classic principles. This ensures that each hand crafted piece emerges to express the client’s intrinsic style.

For the discerning bride or for a gala occasion, Hajar also offers a demi-couture option, where her breathtaking designs can be individually customised fresh from the runway.

Local and interstate clients may consult with Hajar Gala by appointment, either at the Canberra or Melbourne Maison. In the warm, welcoming space of the atelier, the discerning woman can experience the unparalleled fit and transforming magic of bespoke couture.

In addition to fully personalised couture, Melbourne clients may also purchase exclusive runway pieces, as well as select from Gala’s limited edition pret-a-couture range. At an accessible price point, these exquisite designs are within reach for every woman who longs to feel the power of true couture.

Interstate and overseas clients may purchase the pret-a-couture range, as well as runway designs through the Maison’s e-boutique.

Browse the e-boutique