Natalie Portman well-suited to Hedi Slimane’s Celine collection

Natalie Portman at the IndieWire Honors 2018 in Los Angeles. (Getty Images)
Updated 05 November 2018
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Natalie Portman well-suited to Hedi Slimane’s Celine collection

DUBAI: Natalie Portman, who was one of eight artists “celebrated for their achievement in creative independence” at Thursday’s IndieWire Honors ceremony in Los Angeles, arrived sporting a daring wardrobe choice: A sharp black suit with a sheer cream blouse by French-Tunisian designer Hedi Slimane from his first collection as creative director for Celine.
How is a black suit daring? Well, other than flying in the face of the Hollywood convention of wearing glittery gowns to award shows, there is the whole issue of Slimane’s controversial collection for Celine.
Slimane, whose father is Tunisian, is known for his skinny suit silhouettes for Saint Laurent and Dior Homme. (The French designer is also known for ruffling the feathers of fashion conventionistas by meddling with the names of fashion houses: he dropped the “Yves” from Saint Laurent and the accented “e” from Celine.)
Carrying his signature look over to Celine, Slimane’s Spring 2019 collection for the label was met with a largely negative reception on the runway at September’s Paris Fashion Week. Some reviewers accused him of being a “one-trick pony,” while others lamented that he overrode the feminine legacy of its previous artistic director, the well-loved Phoebe Philo, with nary a trace of the brand’s DNA to be found.
So the fashion world has been watching and waiting for that all-important celebrity embrace. First up was Dakota Johnson, in a short sequinned red dress at the LA premiere of her movie “Suspiria” about a week ago. And now comes Portman’s endorsement.
Think what you want of Slimane’s Celine, Portman’s rock & roll tuxedo was a fitting choice. After all, she plays a pop star in “Vox Lux,” which has received positive reviews ahead of its general release next month.
“I’ve never worked with someone more prepared or daring,” Brady Corbet, her “Vox Lux” director, wrote for IndieWire ahead of the ceremony. “That commitment and daring is represented in the other equally significant aspects of her life, such as her outspoken political activism, as well as her own work as a filmmaker.”
As for her activism, in April this year Portman, who is an American-Israeli citizen, backed out of receiving the Genesis Prize in Israel, which was using deadly force against protesters on the Gaza border. “I chose not to attend because I did not want to appear as endorsing Benjamin Netanyahu, who was to be giving a speech at the ceremony,” she wrote on her Instagram account. “Israel was created exactly 70 years ago as a haven for refugees from the Holocaust. But the mistreatment of those suffering from today’s atrocities is simply not in line with my Jewish values. Because I care about Israel, I must stand up against violence, corruption, inequality and abuse of power.”
Portman chose a more conventionally feminine look for her December cover shoot for “Vanity Fair,” appearing in a metallic gown by Dior.


Tourism chiefs salute fashion designer for holding son’s wedding in Lebanon

Elie Jr. and Christina Mourad. (Social media)
Updated 23 July 2019
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Tourism chiefs salute fashion designer for holding son’s wedding in Lebanon

  • The tourism leader said the situation was to do with Lebanese ego, but he emphasized that wedding parties held in Lebanon could be better than those staged abroad on all levels

BEIRUT: Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab has been hailed by tourism chiefs for staging his son’s lavish wedding reception on home turf.
The influential Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafés, Night-Clubs and Pastries in Lebanon saluted Saab “for holding the wedding party of his son, Elie Jr., and the Lebanese bride, Christina Mourad, in Lebanon instead of abroad, as do tens of Lebanese leaders and lords.
“Holding wedding parties abroad has deprived the tourism sector as well as other sectors in Lebanon of important revenues that can revive the national economy,” the syndicate said.
The nonprofit body that represents restaurateurs, added that the glittering event had “turned the country into a huge wedding attended by more than 3,000 guests from inside and outside Lebanon.
“People shared their joy on social media, communicating Lebanon’s image of civilization and tourism to the world. This wedding filled Lebanese hotels, restaurants and nightclubs and stirred the economic cycle for more than 10 days before and after the wedding. We salute the man who loves peace and Lebanon a thousand times.”
Jean Abboud, president of the Association of Travel and Tourist Agents in Lebanon (ATTAL), told Arab News: “The syndicate’s stance comes in response to a phenomenon that emerged a few years ago. Distinguished people have been holding lavish weddings for their children abroad, where they spend millions of dollars. This has not only been done by politicians, but also businessmen and senior employees, as if it has become a trend or an added value.”
The tourism leader said the situation was to do with Lebanese ego, but he emphasized that wedding parties held in Lebanon could be better than those staged abroad on all levels. “We have outstanding wedding planners who get employed to plan weddings abroad,” he added.
Abboud pointed out that the tourist season in Lebanon this year had so far been promising with the number of visitors from GCC countries, and especially Saudi Arabia, up on 2018 figures. He added that the 2019 draft budget approved by Parliament last week had not put “any burdens on the tourism sector.”
Chairman of the Hotel Owners Association in Lebanon, Pierre Al-Ashkar, estimated the cost of wedding parties held by Lebanese people abroad to be around $400 million, including hotel accommodation, purchases and transportation, in addition to the expenses of the wedding itself.
He said: “There is no longer a difference between politicians and businessmen who choose to hold their children’s wedding parties abroad. It is true that these weddings are no more than a few hundred, but their expenses are huge and, therefore, deprive Lebanon of this money.”
Al-Ashkar pointed out that the number of tourists choosing Lebanon this summer had risen, highlighting a significant 30 percent increase in the proportion of visitors from Europe.
“However, the number of tourists from GCC countries, especially Saudi Arabia, has not been as we had wished,” he added.
“Maybe this is because these tourists, who have not been visiting Lebanon for five to seven years, now have business in other countries or investments in tourist places outside of Lebanon, especially as some countries now offer incentives to attract tourists carrying certain passports and residence permits.”