Rula Jebreal steals the show in a Lebanese gown

Rula Jebreal wore a gown by Jean-Louis Sabaji. (Photo courtesy: Ammar Abd Rabbo)
Updated 01 July 2018
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Rula Jebreal steals the show in a Lebanese gown

DUBAI: Palestinian journalist Rula Jebreal stole the show at the ninth Beirut International Awards Festival over the weekend, wearing a stunning ballgown by Lebanese designer Jean-Louis Sabaji.
The US-based journalist was awarded the “Most Influential Media Personality” prize at the ceremony on June 29, as part of the annual event’s bid to honor distinguished personalities from various fields, including art, politics, culture, music, finance and the humanitarian sector.
The journalist, political analyst, author and screenwriter took to the stage — in Beirut’s Nejmeh Square — wearing the “Tree of Life” gown from the designer’s “Mesopotamia” collection.
The delicate embroidery showcases Mesopotamian mythology on silk tulle and the breathtaking gown was completed with twinkling glass beads and ornate sequin work. Harper’s Bazaar Arabia reported that the needlework took 400 hours to complete by a team of skilled artisans.
The artwork-cum-dress hails from Sabaji’s Summer 2018 collection, which is inspired by Istar — pronounced Ishtar — the Mesopotamian goddess of sexual love and high priestess of political power, according to the designer’s website.

“In this retrospective collection, Jean-Louis hails inspiration from the arresting aesthetics of a culture at the very dawn of civilization: Mesopotamia. (The collection depicts) the fantastical iconography around (Istar) in opulent adornment sparked by Babylonian astronomy — the earliest recorded,” the website reads.
The embroidery tells the tale of mythical beasts and celestial beings, including sphinxes, symbolizing supremacy, mermen and majestic lions.
It takes a commanding woman to wear such powerful iconography and Sabaji no doubt found the perfect model in the influential media persona.
Jebreal was born in Haifa and grew up in East Jerusalem. She was raised in an orphanage after the death of her mother and graduated with a scholarship from the Italian government to study medicine, according to her website. Armed with a degree in physiotherapy from Bologna University, she went on to make a name for herself in journalism and soon became the first foreign anchorwoman to broadcast the evening news in the history of Italian television.
Since moving to the US in 2009, she has been a foreign policy analyst for MSNBC and a contributor to the Daily Beast, Newsweek and Salon.com and has regularly appeared on CNN and Bloomberg.
In 2010, Jebreal released her first-ever novel, “Mira.” The work of literary fiction, about a young Arab woman who navigates her way through violence in 1948 Jerusalem, was translated into 15 languages and turned into a feature film, for which she wrote the screenplay.


Dolce & Gabbana cancels China show after racial row

Updated 21 November 2018
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Dolce & Gabbana cancels China show after racial row

  • ‘Foreign companies operating in China should respect China and respect Chinese people’
  • ‘We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorized posts. We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China’

BEIJING: Dolce & Gabbana canceled a long-planned fashion show in Shanghai Wednesday after an outcry over racially offensive posts on its social media accounts, a setback for the company in the world’s most important luxury market.
The Italian fashion house quickly issued a statement apologizing and saying the accounts as well as that of its namesake designer Stefano Gabbana had been hacked, but it did little to calm a brewing social media uproar in China.
Some of China’s biggest celebrities had been billed to attend the “Great Show” event, but on Wednesday one after another announced their withdrawal.
“Our mother country is more important than anything, we appreciate the vigor and beauty of our cultural heritage,” said the management of Wang Junkai, a hugely popular singer in boyband TFBoys, as they announced his withdrawal.
“I love my mother country,” actress Li Bingbing told her 42 million fans on Weibo.
The controversy arose after Dolce & Gabbana posted short clips on Instagram earlier this week showing a woman eating pizza and spaghetti with chopsticks that some deemed culturally insensitive.
It erupted into a firestorm after screenshots circulated of an Instagram user’s chat with the famously volatile Stefano Gabbana in which he used five smiling poop emojis to talk about China and launched insults at the country and its people.
Even China’s Communist Youth League jumped into the fray.
“Foreign companies operating in China should respect China and respect Chinese people,” the youth league tweeted to Dolce & Gabbana on Weibo.
Actor Talu Wang also tweeted on Weibo: “Respect is more important than anything.”
As the backlash escalated, Dolce & Gabbana took to Instagram and Weibo saying its account and that of designer Stefano Gabbana had been hacked and that its legal office was “urgently investigating” the matter.
“We are very sorry for any distress caused by these unauthorized posts. We have nothing but respect for China and the people of China,” the company said on Instagram.
Dolce & Gabbana said separately on its verified Weibo account that the show “has been rescheduled,” though it did not specify the reason nor did it give a new date for the event.
“We apologize for the inconvenience,” it said.
The controversy marks the latest backpedaling by a foreign company for offending Chinese consumers with advertising or information that insults China or clashes with Beijing’s official position.
Earlier this year, German automaker Mercedes-Benz apologized for “hurting the feelings” of people in China after its Instagram account quoted Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, seen as a separatist by Beijing.