Walk this way: Arab shoe designers snap up celebrity fans

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From Ashley Graham to Emily Ratajkowski, footwear labels from the region are earning celebrity fans. (AFP)
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From Ashley Graham to Emily Ratajkowski, footwear labels from the region are earning celebrity fans. (AFP)
Updated 08 June 2019

Walk this way: Arab shoe designers snap up celebrity fans

  • Lebanese shoe designer Andrea Wazen is known for her high-quality, handmade footwear created in Beirut
  • The up-and-coming label is known for its bright hues and razor-thin stiletto heels

DUBAI: Well-heeled celebrities from around the world have been sporting shoes by Arab designers as of late — from Kylie Jenner to model Emily Ratajkowski, there’s no shortage of famous fans when it comes to footwear labels from the region.

Last week, Ratajkowski showed off a pair of tan mules by Lebanese shoe designer Andrea Wazen, known for her high-quality, handmade footwear created in Beirut.

The model posed for photographs at a polo event in New Jersey wearing the simple Gloria mules by the Lebanese designer.

“When your ultimate girl crush wears your shoes,” the designer captioned a photo of the model, who paired the shoes with a fitted pencil skirt and orange crop top.

Wazen, whose sister is fashion influencer Karen Wazen, also saw her shoes worn by model Ashley Graham last week.

Graham wore a pair of slinky black heels with clear PVC accents to the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards ceremony, held last week.

The shoes, called the Dassy PVC pumps, accessorized a custom-made Christian Siriano dress, with puffed sleeves and a form-fitting silhouette.

“In custom @csiriano for the @cfda awards feeling like I just walked out of a fabulous Alfred Hitchcock film, darling!” Graham captioned a snap of her outfit on Instagram.

Wazen isn’t the only designer from the region to earn herself celebrity fans lately. Jordanian-Romanian shoe designer Amina Muaddi has also been in the spotlight, with the likes of Kylie and Kendall Jenner, Rihanna and British model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley showing off her heels in recent weeks.

Kylie boasted a pair of the Lupita glass slippers at the launch of her new skincare line, Kylie Skin, at the end of May, while her older sister Kendall finished off a skin-tight minidress with the Gilda rainbow sandals while in Cannes.

Back in April, beauty mogul Rihanna was spotted in New York — reportedly out and about with her Saudi beau Hassan Jameel — wearing a black coat with strappy white sandals by Muaddi, while Huntington-Whiteley has been an avid fan for quite some time and regularly takes to Instagram to show off Muaddi’s latest designs.

The up-and-coming label is known for its bright hues and razor-thin stiletto heels that often widen out into a squared block at the base of the heel. 


Regional label Les Benjamins makes its Paris Men’s Fashion Week debut

Les Benjamins unveiled its Fall/Winter 2020 collection. (Supplied)
Updated 18 January 2020

Regional label Les Benjamins makes its Paris Men’s Fashion Week debut

DUBAI: Les Benjamins is a street wear brand that is very proud of its regional roots — and it showed its latest collection at Paris Men’s Fashion Week on Friday at Palais De Tokyo.

Although it’s men’s fashion week, the brand showed looks for both men and women. The creative director and founder behind this young brand is Turkish designer Bunyamin Aydin, who previously collaborated with Puma. The brand, which is set to open a store in Dubai, is a regular fixture at pop up culture events in the region, including at Dubai’s annual urban festival, Sole DXB.

(Supplied)

Aydin spoke to Arab News about the inspiration behind his latest collection.

“I love unfolding stories from the East that are untold and redefining culture by moving it forward. It’s like giving an update on our culture.”

Friday’s show was an important moment for the 30-year-old talent — he has previously shown in Milan, but this was his debut catwalk presentation in Paris.

(Supplied)

“Paris is the center of the fashion world, it is where everyone gets together and it also a right place to take a message,” he said.  

The show made a clear statement about how fashion has now become more diverse, global and inclusive in its attitude with its international shapes and cuts, from smooth leather trench coats to jacquard knit dresses.

Les Benjamins’ Fall/Winter 2020 is inspired by the 1970s psychedelic rock moment in Turkey. “What I call the Wild Wild East,” the designer said.

(Supplied)

Colors such as mustard yellow and pomegranate red are a nod to the Middle East, while the use of tapestry details  speak of the creative director’s heritage.

The fashion show reflected how mindsets are changing as we start a new decade.