Designer Ali Xeeshan teams up with UN Women to challenge child marriage in Pakistan

The image of this young girl was a shock to the system and went viral on social media. (Photo courtesy: UN Women)
Updated 17 December 2017

Designer Ali Xeeshan teams up with UN Women to challenge child marriage in Pakistan

ISLAMABAD: At this year’s Pantene Bridal Couture Week, the king of putting on a show, Ali Xeeshan, used his platform to shine a spotlight on the epidemic of child marriages in Pakistan.
Hand in hand with UN Women, Ali’s finale had a young, school-aged girl dressed in a school uniform outfitted with bridal trappings, like borders and embroidery, walk the ramp. Adorned in the traditional jewels that, for generations, have marked one as a bride and with henna-painted hands, the image of this young girl was a shock to the system and went viral on social media.
Last year, Ali used his platform at bridal week to highlight the issue of forced marriage in Pakistan. This year, the tackling of the issue comes from the lack of improvement in the circumstances surrounding child marriage in Pakistan, even when there are countless organizations and groups fighting to change laws regarding it.
According to the UN Women’s official press release on the collaboration, Pakistan’s Child Marriage Restraint Act (CMRA) sets the legal age of marriage as 16 for women and 18 for men, but it is still estimated that more than 20 percent of women are married off before the age of 18 and three percent overall do not even cross the age of 15 before they get married. There have been efforts to increase the legal age of marriage from 16 to 18 for women across the nation, but this has faced criticism and resistance.
Jamshed Kazi, country representative for UN Women Pakistan, said: “It’s astounding how women aren’t allowed to drive or vote before the age of 18 and at the same time, they’re forced into this lifelong commitment way before they reach that age.”
The show was followed up by UN Women’s website directing people to head to www.thebridaluniform.com and urging those stopping by to learn more and sign a petition urging Pakistan’s Parliament to push the issue and have the marriage age for women to be upped to 18.
Proceeds from Ali Xeeshan’s collection will be donated to Pirbhat Women’s Development Society and Sujag Sansar, organizations striving to end violence against women and working against child marriages in Pakistan.


Celine Dion chooses Lebanese brand for album campaign

Celine Dion wears diamond earrings from Lebanese fine jewelry designer Ralph Masri. Supplied
Updated 17 November 2019

Celine Dion chooses Lebanese brand for album campaign

  • Celine Dion wore earrings from Lebanese fine jewelry designer Ralph Masri on the campaign shots for her newly-released album “Courage"
  • The Canadian crooner has sported looks from Middle Eastern talent on numerous occasions

DUBAI: It’s no secret that Celine Dion reveres designers from the region. The Canadian crooner has sported looks from Middle Eastern talent on numerous occasions — who can forget that canary-colored Maison Rabih Kayrouz power suit she wore last year? So it hardly comes as a surprise that Dion donned earrings from Lebanese fine jewelry designer Ralph Masri on the campaign shots for her newly-released album, “Courage".

The singer who gave us “My Heart Will Go On” rocked the Phoenician Script Bolt Earrings with Diamonds in the album artwork in addition to a fold-out poster that comes tucked inside the CD.

The Canadian crooner rocked Ralph Masri's Phoenician Script Bolt Earrings with Diamonds. Supplied

“This is so special to me on so many levels. First, for the obvious reason that Celine Dion is an icon I’ve always loved and this is an incredible honor,” the Beirut-based jeweler told Vogue Arabia.

The Central Saint Martins graduate, who launched his eponymous label in 2014, is known for his sophisticated, statement pieces. His geometric designs have been worn by the likes of Queen Rania Al-Abdullah, Gigi Hadid and Nicki Minaj.

Those who wish to take a style cue from the pop superstar will be pleased to know that the diamond earrings are available at his newly-opened Beirut flagship store.