From radiology to the runway

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Lebanese designer Naja Saade made bright birds take flight at Saudi Arabia’s first Arab Fashion Week.
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Lebanese designer Naja Saade is on his first visit to the Kingdom to show off his trademark exquisitely embroidered gowns at Arab Fashion Week in Riyadh.
Updated 13 April 2018

From radiology to the runway

LONDON: “Women in Saudi Arabia are very open to fashion and very aware of fashion trends around the world,” said Lebanese designer Naja Saade on his first visit to the Kingdom to show off his trademark exquisitely embroidered gowns at Arab Fashion Week in Riyadh.
The ready couture eveningwear he created for the event — under the theme “Tale of a Bird” — bore testimony to a master craftsman whose creative drive shines through. His label is known for intricate, handcrafted finishing and wonderful textures. At AFW, the color palette of Saade’s designs was mesmerizing: shades of royal blue, sky blue, pink, green, white, gold, purple and red reflecting the iridescent feathers of the birds that inspired the collection.
The two stunning couture wedding dresses he showed also demonstrated the superb quality and cut of his designs. Such high end, dream-like dresses, are the work of many hands. A wedding gown made for a top client, a member of a royal family, say, will be the result of up to 30 people’s labors.
The silk evening gowns in the ready couture collection are more affordable, but still offer the kind of refined elegance that is his signature.
Saade explained that the inspiration for the theme of his AFW work came from his idea that women, like birds, have the ability to adapt to their surroundings, wherever they are, yet always looking wonderful and unruffled in their plumage — reflecting their resilience.
Resilience is a quality that Saade has had to demonstrate many times to realize his long-held dream of becoming a fashion designer.
“From my childhood I was always drawing and making tailored dresses,” he said. But when it came to choosing a career, he trained as a radiologist, and worked for six years in a major hospital before realizing that he had to follow his heart and deciding to retrain, joining the prestigious CAMM Fashion Academy in Beirut.
His parents were always supportive, he said, despite there being no tradition of anyone in his family following a similar career.
“My parents were inspirational because they supported me in achieving my dreams. They kept all my work from my childhood — my drawings and even a dress I made. They kept these because they knew I was going to be a designer,” he explained.
Although Saade has many clients in Saudi Arabia, AFW was his first visit to the country. He sees the event as an important cultural moment and an opportunity to showcase creativity.
“Fashion is a part of culture. When I create my designs, I am not thinking about my career or commercial aspects. I am driven by passion,” he said. “I have come to Saudi Arabia to express myself as a creative person.”

The Six: Arab gowns on the Emmys red carpet

Updated 18 September 2018

The Six: Arab gowns on the Emmys red carpet

  • Hollywood stars took to the red carpet in Arab Designers
  • Stars wearing a host of designs by the region’s fashion heavyweights

DUBAI: The Emmys red carpet turned into a veritable catwalk for Middle Eastern designers on Monday night, with stars wearing a host of designs by the region’s fashion heavyweights.

Tina Fey

Fey glowed in a floral, lace and velvet gown by Elie Saab, part of his autumn/winter 2018 pret-a-porter collection. The gown featured pleats and a fitted waist in colors perfect for the cold season.

Yvonne Orji

Orji stunned in this black, fitted, velvet gown from Georges Chakra’s fall 2017 collection. With simple detailing and a tailored cut, the dress is flattering and feminine.

Kristin Cavallari

Cavallari wore a couture Maison Yeya Fall 2018 black dress. Simple but sophisticated with its different layers and hemlines, this sculptural off-the-shoulder look is a piece of art.


That gold carpet at The Emmys

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Chrissy Tiegen

Tiegen sparkled in a Zuhair Murad fall 2018 couture gown. With geometric antique silver motifs and long sleeves, the gown sparkled in all directions.

Keri Russell

Russell wore a Zuhair Murad two-piece outfit, a pleated skirt and peplum jacket. It had structured shoulders, feathers, a high slit and fitted midsection to accentuate her figure.

Sydney Sweeney

Sweeney radiated glamor wearing this feminine and delicate pale pink Reem Acra pre-fall 2018 strapless gown. The dress featured a beaded waist and sweetheart neckline.



Actress @Sydney_Sweeney wears #ReemAcraPreFall18 to the 2018 #Emmys.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #ReemAcra #SydneySweeney

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