Alessandra Ambrosio jets to Ibiza after Zuhair Murad show

Alessandra Ambrosio walked the runway for Zuhair Murad. (AFP)
Updated 07 July 2018
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Alessandra Ambrosio jets to Ibiza after Zuhair Murad show

DUBAI: Brazilian supermodel Alessandra Ambrosio jetted to Ibiza after opening Zuhair Murad’s Autumn/Winter 2018-19 show at Haute Couture Fashion Week in Paris last week.
It marked the first time the 37-year-old Victoria’s Secret model walked for the famed Lebanese designer, and she seemed more than happy about the honor.
“Thank you, @zuhairmuradofficial for letting me open your magical show,” she posted on Instagram shortly after the glittering catwalk show.
Ambrosio opened the show wearing a wintry embroidered dress with an attached cape. The outfit, which ended just above the ankle, was embroidered with floral motifs in red, gold and white and paired with chunky boots and a heavyset black belt.
The model then graced the runway in a dazzling silver gown, embroidered with sequins from head to toe and vamped up with triangular peekaboo cutouts at the waist.

ZUHAIR MURAD #hautecouture #pfw

A post shared by Alessandra Ambrosio (@alessandraambrosio) on

After the show, she indulged in a sweet snack and shared a snap on Instagram, before jetting off to Ibiza where she posed in the sea wearing a Brazilian football jersey. She shared the sizzling shot on social media, captioning it, “Brazilian vibes from Ibiza.”
Murad took inspiration from Imperial Russia for the latest collection, offering up regal looks with structured, fitted elements recalling tsarist fashion trends.
“The historical savoir-faire of Imperial Russia redefines contemporary elegance,” the design house posted on social media alongside a close up shot of a magnificent embellished cape worn by model Cindy Bruna.
The 23-year-old French model, who previously took on a starring role in “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets,” walked the runway in a heavily embroidered, tight-fitting gown with a cape that was attached at the neck. The model also showed off a fitted black dress covered in royal gold-and-red beadwork.
Murad wasn’t the only Lebanese powerhouse at Pairs Haute Couture Fashion Week — Elie Saab also showed off his Barcelona-inspired collection.
The famed Modernist architecture of Antoni Gaudi — and its organic lines — were the focus of many of the Lebanese designer’s gowns, the Associated Press reported.

Oversize rounded shoulders, which were sometimes dramatically raised from the body, were a new silhouette variation on the house’s bread-and-butter cinched waist looks.

The industrious Saab couture atelier had got to work to weave the signature crystals, sequins and pearls together to — as the program notes put it — depict “the sinuosity of organic forms.”
The swirling stone reliefs of the Musee des Arts Decoratifs venue, inside the Louvre palace, accentuated the clothes’ architectural lines.
Lebanese designer Rabih Kayrouz put on a vibrant show on Monday, sending models down the catwalk in Dorothy-inspired ginghams and daring pop art-style primary colors. Over exaggerated, frilled sleeves and a devil-may-care attitude toward mixing prints made his Spring 2019 ready-to-wear collection stand out.
Countryman Georges Hobeika took things in precisely the opposite direction. The Beirut-based designer unveiled a Fall/Winter collection that was teeming with feathers, tea-length skirts and frequent visual references to nature’s most elegant bird, the swan. Soft, pale pinks melted into luscious, deep violets and cobalt blues in a line that was feminine and not without its quirks.
Meanwhile, Lebanon’s Rami Kadi unveiled an Aztec-inspired collection of pastel-hued ball gowns, as well as a wedding dress that twinkled with embedded fairy lights, iridescent ostrich feathers and wispy metallic fronds.


‘Not your habibti’: Palestinian designer seeks to empower women

Updated 15 January 2019
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‘Not your habibti’: Palestinian designer seeks to empower women

  • Designer Yasmeen Mjalli sees the clothes as helping empower Palestinian women facing unwelcome male attention in public
  • Mjalli says that her fight against harassment of women is unconnected to the #MeToo movement

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: It’s only three words on a T-shirt or embroidered on a denim jacket in Palestinian designer Yasmeen Mjalli’s collection, but they carry a powerful message: “Not your habibti,” or darling.
She sees the clothes as helping empower Palestinian women facing unwelcome male attention in public.
“When a woman is exposed to so much harassment on the street, she begins to dress to protect herself, to hide herself as opposed to expressing herself,” the 22-year-old art history graduate says, leaning against the counter of her shop in Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.
On fabrics of muted colors and on canvas bags from her BabyFist label, she places messages in English and Arabic inside drawings of flowers and other designs.
“Every rose has its revolution,” one says.
Mjalli grew up in the US, where she lived with her Palestinian parents.
She started painting slogans on her own clothes when the family relocated to the West Bank and she found herself facing a different reality.
“I have experienced things like comments, really uncomfortable stares, the kind that make you feel very violated,” she said.
“I have been assaulted in the streets, people touching me,” she adds, catching one tattooed arm in her other hand to mimic being grabbed.
In August 2017, she launched her first collection and a few months later opened the Ramallah shop to complement her existing online sales.
“It’s not like the T-shirt is going to stop harassment,” she says.
But it’s “a reminder that you are part of something bigger that is working to empower women and to give back in some way and that is trying to have this conversation that challenges all of these structures which we are victims of too,” she adds.
The goal, Mjalli says, is to create a community.
Using Instagram, free workshops in her shop and public places where she sometimes installs herself with a typewriter, she offers Palestinian women the freedom to express their feelings and tell stories they cannot share elsewhere.
She donates around 10 percent of her fashion earnings to a local women’s group.
One project she funds sent a doctor and volunteers into schools to teach Palestinian girls about menstruation, a subject still largely taboo.
While defining herself as a feminist, Mjalli says that her fight against harassment of women is unconnected to the #MeToo movement.
“I don’t think it’s related even though it happened at the same time,” she said, though acknowledging that the movement gave her own efforts a boost.
“It’s a very American and it’s a very white feminism, and it’s not what we are doing here.”
All BabyFist garments are made in the Palestinian territories.
Jackets are sewn in Hassan Shehada’s Gaza workshop.
Among the sewing machines humming under florescent lights, Shehada shows a denim jacket embroidered with “Not your habibti.”
“I am proud that women wear the fruits of my labors and I am also very proud that they are labeled ‘Made in Palestine’,” he says.
In the past three months, he has made 1,500 items for BabyFist.
It was a breath of fresh air for Shehada’s business in the Gaza Strip, under an Israeli blockade for more than a decade and with endemic high unemployment.
“Working with BabyFist has given me back hope,” he says, adding that it has fulfilled a dream of exporting to Europe.
But manufacturing in Gaza comes at a cost.
Israeli restrictions mean jackets have been held up for weeks when the land crossing through Israel was closed due to mass Palestinian protests and clashes along the fence, Mjalli said.
“The border was closed indefinitively and we couldn’t get anything in or out,” she said. “It’s a constant battle.”
She says that around 40 percent of her sales are made in the Ramallah store and 60 percent online, mostly to the Palestinian and broader Arab diaspora.
Not everyone, however, is a fan.
Mjalli has come under fire from conservatives, who say she draws attention to women’s bodies by designing clothes that carry provocative messages.
Her criticism of some aspects of Palestinian society has also raised the hackles of those who believe that the struggle against Israeli occupation is the only legitimate public campaign.
For her, the fight for Palestinian independence and campaigning for women’s rights are intertwined.
“The occupation robs men in our society of any sense of control, any sense of masculinity which in turn affects women’s rights,” she says.
For Mjalli, there have been “already two or three generations of women that have had to suffer while we say: ‘OK, you can wait.’”