DUBAI: “Our ‘Sphinx’ abaya was always destined for the stratosphere,” Lebanese designer Jean-Louis Sabaji wrote on Instagram on Tuesday. He wasn’t exaggerating.
On March 17, Sabaji’s gown was worn by one of the world’s most-famous people: Beyoncé. The US pop/R&B superstar — reportedly ranked fifth globally in Instagram followers (over 112 million) — accepted a humanitarian award for her extensive but low-key charity work at the Wearable Art Gala in Los Angeles’ WACO Theater Center dressed in Sabaji’s eye-catching Middle East-inspired outfit.
The gala is hosted by Tina Knowles-Lawson (Beyoncé’s mother) and her husband Richard Lawson and celebrates “the impact of art through fashion and philanthropy.”
Sabaji said on Instagram that his embroidered gown was “Inspired by a Goddess and created for Goddesses.”
“The ‘Sphinx’ abaya in silk double duchess is a tribute to the Mesopotamian solar deity Shamash,” he wrote, “boasting lavish embellishment in threadwork and glass beads.”
Beyoncé — attending the gala with husband Jay Z and daughter Blue Ivy — gave a tearful acceptance speech in which she credited her mother with teaching her “that there’s something more valuable than any dollar amount, and that’s time.”
She explained: “Time to put someone else first. Time to change the trajectory of a child, of a village, of a community. And time to tell another person that you matter to me, you matter to the world and that your contributions are important.”
The singer also touched on why her philanthropy is not necessarily widely publicized.
“I try to keep (it) quiet because I feel these things should come from the goodness of your heart, with nothing orchestrated as a campaign,” she said. “And if I’m honored, I keep it quiet because I feel like I could be doing more.”