Katy Perry turns to Lebanon’s designer-to-the-stars Elie Saab

Katy Perry wore a gown by Lebanese designer Elie Saab. (AFP)
Updated 10 February 2019
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Katy Perry turns to Lebanon’s designer-to-the-stars Elie Saab

DUBAI: US singer Katy Perry showed off a whimsical floral gown by Lebanese couturier Elie Saab over the weekend at a charity awards gala honoring country singer Dolly Parton in Los Angeles.
Perry walked the red carpet in a caped gown from Elie Saab’s ready-to-wear Spring/Summer 2019 collection.
Parton became the first country singer to receive the MusiCares Person of the Year award at the event on Friday, taking to the stage with jokes about hillbillies.
Comedy played a large role in a night of all-star musical performances in Los Angeles to honor Parton for her music and philanthropy, hosted by country group Little Big Town.
Eight-time Grammy winner Parton, the singer and songwriter behind the hits ‘9 to 5,’ ‘Jolene’ and ‘I Will Always Love You,’ got the biggest laughs at the 29th annual gala for MusiCares, which helps members of the music industry in need.
Garth Brooks, Brandi Carlile, Miley Cyrus, Shawn Mendes, Kacey Musgraves, Willie Nelson, Katy Perry, Pink, Chris Stapleton and Don Henley were among those honoring the 73-year-old singer-songwriter two days before the Grammy Awards, the Associated Press reported.
‘I loved yee-hawing with my country (queen) @spaceykacey for (the) queen @dollyparton. I would never brave Friday night traffic in LA for anyone else,’ Katy Perry posted on Instagram, referring to her performance with country singer Kacey Musgraves.

(AFP)


Surprising Parton with her award and earning a standing ovation were Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt, who teamed with Parton for two successful ‘Trio’ albums. It was a rare public appearance for Ronstadt, who can’t sing anymore because of Parkinson’s disease, which Parton mentioned.
As Parton rushed to embrace Harris and Ronstadt, her award crashed to the floor. It appeared to survive intact.
Parton, whose career began with appearances at the age of 10 on radio stations in her native Tennessee, appeared to touch on some of the concerns of the #MeToo movement and sexual misconduct in entertainment and other industries, when she described entering the music business when it was a ‘man’s world.’
‘Buddy, I had a ball,’ she said to more laughs. ‘Because I have actually worked with so many wonderful men and I’ve never met a man that I didn’t like and I’ve never met a man whose a** I couldn’t kick if he didn’t treat me with the right respect.’
Friday’s gala raised $6.7 million for MusiCares, Recording Academy President and CEO Neil Portnow told the audience.
Parton was also honored on Sunday with another tribute at the Grammy Awards.


Pakistani tailor adds former US president to star-studded list of clients

Updated 15 February 2019
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Pakistani tailor adds former US president to star-studded list of clients

  • The 36-year-old outfitter has built a customer list of famous names from the sporting, show business and political worlds
  • His family enterprise was established more than 100 years ago and operated from large shop premises in Kolkata, India

KARACHI: It is probably safe to say that tailor to the stars Sarfraz Akbar has the market for celebrity clients all sewn up.

The 36-year-old outfitter has built a customer list of famous names from the sporting, show business and political worlds through his reputation for making high-quality garments.

And now Akbar, who works for his family business at shops in an affluent neighborhood of Pakistan’s port city of Karachi, can add a former American president to his star-studded client base.

During a trip to the US in July last year, he was invited by an American-Pakistani friend to meet with George W. Bush.

“I was super-excited when along with my wife and daughters we boarded my friend’s private jet and flew from Houston to Dallas,” Akbar told Arab News.

After taking measurements of the former US president, he returned to Pakistan and made several suits for him, before dispatching them to Dallas in December 2018.

“My happiness doubled when I got a call from the US informing me that the former president had appreciated my work after wearing the suits,” Akbar said.

Akbar’s father Mohammed said his son had built up a distinguished list of Pakistani personalities he has worked for. 

“By earning praise from George W. Bush, my son has not only made me proud but it’s also a matter of pride for all Pakistanis.”

The youngest of three brothers, Akbar has brought fame to the family name and business, his father added.

The family enterprise was established more than 100 years ago and operated from large shop premises in Kolkata. The family moved from the Indian city after the inception of Pakistan.

The business now has two shops under the “Ambassador” brand name in the Zamzama district of Karachi. 

“We could have opened dozens of outlets, but we believe in quality. The materials we use are imported and we focus on precision,” said Akbar. 

“It’s handmade, customized work. We don’t sell readymade stuff.

“However, we’re now getting people coming to us from other cities wanting to have their wardrobes from the tailor of George W. Bush. Some clients even ask to have their photos taken with me.”

Akbar said he has always had big ambitions. Following matriculation in 1999, he continued his studies but opted at the same time to focus on the family business with a view to taking it to new heights after his graduation.

When the Indian cricket team toured Pakistan during 2005-2006, Akbar made clothes for all the Indian players. 

“Almost all the Pakistani players including Wasim Akram, Misbah-ul-Haq, Sarfraz Ahmed and Shahid Afridi — the latter being a regular customer – have worn our wardrobes too,” Akbar said.

He also designed kurta shalwar clothing for West Indian player and Peshawar Zalmi skipper, Darren Sammy, during the last season of the Pakistan Super League.

Akbar also has a long list of political clients including Pakistan’s former leader Pervez Musharraf, incumbent President Dr. Arif Alvi, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, and Sindh Gov. Imran Ismail. “I made a waistcoat for Imran Khan after he was sworn in as the premier of Pakistan,” he said.

Summing up his achievements to date, Akbar said: “You can be proud of yourself and your family, but you just need to focus on your work and work hard.”