DUBAI: On Monday night, the only two Miss Universe contestants from the Middle East took to the stage in Thailand to take part in the national costume show, where contestants pay sartorial tribute to their homeland. We take a look at six beauty queens from Lebanon and Egypt who have represented their country throughout the years.
Miss Egypt walked the stage at the 2018 Miss Universe national costume presentation in Thailand’s Chonburi province wearing a stunning gold-and-turquoise ensemble.
Miss Lebanon 2018 chose to represent her homeland by paying tribute to the cedar tree — traditionally associated with the Levantine country.
Miss Egypt took part in the national costume show wearing an elaborate turquoise-and-silver headpiece at the 63rd Miss Universe pageant in Miami in 2015.
In 2015, Miss Lebanon wowed crowds in Miami wearing a hot pink kaftan with embroidery on the neckline.
Miss Egypt 2010 posed with a scepter in hand at that year’s Miss Universe competition in Las Vegas.
Miss Lebanon 2005 also paid tribute to the cedar tree at that year’s competition in Bangkok. She took to the stage in a floaty gold bodysuit with sequin embellishments and a tree-shaped headpiece.
Zuhair Murad celebrates Jennifer Lopez’s birthday with fashion tribute
Updated 25 July 2021
DUBAI: Lebanese designer to the stars Zuhair Murad celebrated US singer Jennifer Lopez on Saturday, taking to Instagram to toast the queen of pop’s special relationship with the fashion house.
The hitmaker is known for her love of Zuhair Murad gowns and regularly hits red carpets, and the stage, in glittering outfits by the designer.
The fashion house celebrated the singer’s birthday on July 24 by releasing a short video of the numerous occasions she has donned a gown by Murad.
“Celebrating the beautiful Jennifer Lopez today, by reminiscing over some of our favorite #ZuhairMurad looks of hers,” the caption read. “Happy birthday @jlo! Cheers to your everlasting youth and to more #ZMxJLOMoments!”
Murad is one of Lopez’s go-to designers for special red carpet events and performances.
The “Let’s Get Loud” singer previously opened up about her affinity for Murad’s designs, describing the couturier as “probably her favorite designer” in a past interview with Venture Lifestyle.
“I discovered him years ago when I was doing a show, and I was so jet-lagged and I was up in the middle of the night watching Fashion TV, which they had in this country I was in,” explained the hitmaker. “He had this beautiful show and I was like, ‘who is this guy?’”
Lopez went on to explain the hurdles she faced when trying to get in touch with Murad, who doesn’t seem to have been a household name at the time.
“I came back (to the US) and I said, ‘Do you guys know Zuhair Murad?’ and nobody knew who he was, none of the stylists, nobody in the United States knew who he was. I was like, ‘You have to get me this dress for the Met Ball,” she said, referring to the Met Gala, an annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in New York and one of the fashion world’s most eagerly anticipated events.
“I wore his dress to the Met Ball and after that, I just started using him for everything — he designed my last tour — we just have a great relationship. He’s a beautiful man, a beautiful designer,” Lopez added.
US-Egyptian jewelry label Jacquie Aiche snaps up celebrity fans
Updated 24 July 2021
DUBAI: From British actress Emily Blunt, to US stars Justin Bieber and Khloe Kardashian, Egyptian-American jewelry designer Jacquie Aiche’s celebrity fan base expanded this week.
The label has quickly managed to emerge as a A-lister-loved brand, with stars like Kylie Jenner, Emily Ratajkowski and Shanina Shaik adorning themselves with the Los Angeles-based jewelry house’s signature diamond-encrusted body chains, anklets and stacked gemstone rings on the red carpet.
This week, Blunt showed off an ornate ring by the label while doing press interviews for Disney’s “Jungle Cruise,” her latest film in which she stars alongside Dwayne Johnson and Edgar Ramirez.
Blunt was dressed by Hollywood stylist Jessica Paster, who made sure to get mileage out of the ring by featuring it in several ensembles on the press tour, including outfits by Gabriela Hearst and Zimmermann.
For her part, Kardashian opted to show off a dainty body chain by the brand during a photoshoot for her label Good American’s latest swimwear release. She paired the jewelry, which wrapped around the torso, with a neon yellow swimsuit.
To wrap things up, Bieber showed off a pair of small hoop earrings by Aiche, which he paired with a red visor.
Aiche, who was born to an Egyptian father and an indigenous American mother, launched her eponymous label from her garage in 2008. She has since amassed an impressive celebrity client list that includes the likes of Rihanna, Selena Gomez and Katy Perry, whose stylists flock to her Beverly Hills showroom in droves to adorn their clients in her signature delicate earrings, finger bracelets and chokers ahead of red carpet events. The jeweler is also the brainchild behind Chrissy Teigen’s bespoke engagement ring from John Legend.
The part-Egyptian jewelry designer’s store in Los Angeles is full of jewelry items made from delicate raw quartz, tourmaline, moonstone and countless other special stones. Her pieces often feature Arab influences like hammered gold, amulets and the evil eye talisman, as well as natural elements such as turquoise, fossils and precious gemstones, which are a nod to her indigenous American ancestors.
Syrian designer Daniel Essa’s remarkable rise to success
In 2013, Essa fled his homeland for Europe to start over. Eight years later, his luxury footwear brand is globally acclaimed
Updated 22 July 2021
Rami Abou Diab
PARIS: Daniel Essa has become a household name. In 2018, Reuters highlighted his extraordinary journey: A Syrian refugee who founded a luxury shoe brand in France bearing his name. On June 3 this year, Essa was nominated for the Shoe Designer of the Year award at the Drapers Footwear Awards — the equivalent of the Oscars for shoes.
It’s been a meteoric rise for Essa. In 2013, he made the decision to leave Syria behind — and with it both his family and a successful career in the fashion world. He was a valedictorian at Esmod Damascus, a professor at the Arab International University, the host of his own television show for three years.
“Rebuilding everything was complicated. I didn’t start from scratch, but rather from minus 10,” he tells Arab News. Essa arrived first in Spain — a country where he was not familiar with the language. But he already had his heart set on a new project: to found his own brand of luxury shoes.
That project came together in France, where his first collection was launched in September 2017. “I took the time to do my research. Having an idea is not enough to launch a brand. I had to analyze the market, seek advice from influential and powerful people in the industry, like the former artistic director of Neiman Marcus, Ken Downing” he said. “It was the result of two years of work and preparation. I went to Italy to learn more about suitable raw materials and to have access to the best manufacturing workshops.”
Essa was set on launching his own brand rather than joining a major luxury house. His talent matched his ambition and he found immediate success, with orders coming from all over the world. In January 2018, he presented a collection at Men’s Fashion Week in Paris.
The brand’s success is based Essa’s ability to combine French elegance with Italian expertise in a striking harmony. “The brand’s clean and minimalist signature has been noticed and appreciated,” he says. “We were even the first to launch this sleek trend by highlighting haute-couture production. These are new, durable and customizable models.” All the elements of his collections are meticulously and subtly thought out, including the tongue and laces.
His brand — less than four years from its launch — is now on display in major boutiques around the world, including Printemps and Level Shoes in Dubai. “Level Shoes is a unique concept. It’s the only place where you can find the 250 best shoe brands,” Essa says. The designer stresses that his success is — above all — the result of hard work, which he considers fundamental to any project.
“True success is reaching a certain level and being able to maintain it. I am even more motivated than before,” he says. “Self-motivation is an inherent trait of my personality.”
Essa is certainly reaping the rewards of his dedication, as evidenced by his Drapers Footwear Awards nomination. The awards ceremony is scheduled to be held in London on September 23.
“Being a finalist is very important. It will be a great opportunity to meet the artistic directors of the biggest luxury brands or sports shoes,” he says. “Above all, I believe that this nomination proves that talent is stronger than money and all other obstacles.”
British-Moroccan model Nora Attal celebrates Eid with throwback family photo
Updated 21 July 2021
DUBAI: Moroccan-British model Nora Attal took a step down memory lane on Instagram to reflect on her Eid memories with her family.
The 22-year-old catwalker extended warm wishes to her 49,400 followers on the social networking platform with the message, “Eid Mubarak.”
And she posted a childhood family photo of herself wearing traditional Moroccan garb and posing with a sheep accompanied by a caption that said: “Me crying knowing the sheep would be slaughtered as tradition ... And now I’m vegetarian.”
Many other stars also used the photo-sharing service to send heartfelt wishes to fans on the occasion of Eid Al-Adha, which began on Monday.
"Eid Mubarak to all my friends and family that celebrate," wrote British hitmaker Dua Lipa on Instagram Stories.
Part-Palestinian model Bella Hadid shared on her Instagram Stories a post — also shared by Dutch-Egyptian-Moroccan model Imaan Hammam — that said: “Eid Mubarak you beautiful people.”
Her father, real estate mogul Mohamed Hadid, also took the time to wish Eid Mubarak to his followers, while reflecting on how grateful he was for his family.
Elsewhere, US producer Swizz Beatz took the opportunity to extend Eid wishes to his 4 million Instagram fans with an anniversary tribute post dedicated to his wife Alicia Keys.
He said: “Celebrating our 11-year anniversary month all month. The fact that we haven’t been back to the house in Corsica we got married at 11 years ago, until now, is crazy. Time goes by fast, make every moment count. Eid Mubarak.”
“Our discovery of beauty didn’t come from a place of ‘Oh, I have to wear makeup to look pretty,’” Simi previously told Vogue Magazine. “It was more ‘How can we use color in an interesting, fun and bold way?’”
The twins follow in the footsteps of celebrity peers, such as Kylie Jenner and Selena Gomez, who have launched their own beauty companies,
In the past, the globe-trotting sisters have fronted campaigns for brands including Off-White, Cartier, Michael Kors and 7 For All Mankind.
Meanwhile, their DJ career sees them traveling everywhere from the South of France and some of the Cannes Film Festival’s biggest parties, to California’s Indio Valley to play sets in front of eager crowds at the Coachella music festival.
They released their debut EP, featuring collaborations with the likes of Dev Hynes, in 2018.