Arab designers spice up Venice Film Festival red carpet

Molly Sims’ Zuhair Murad gown was equally impactful from the back. (Getty Images)
Updated 02 September 2019
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Arab designers spice up Venice Film Festival red carpet

DUBAI: Stars from across the world have turned to Arab designers for their red carpet appearances at the ongoing Venice Film Festival.

From Romanian actress and model Madalina Diana Ghenea to Lebanese director Nadine Labaki, the international film industry’s leading ladies have been showing off a number of glittering ensembles from regional designers since the festival opened on Wednesday.




Madalina Diana Ghenea showed off a sparkling look by Zuhair Murad. (Getty Images)

Ghenea took to the red carpet last week in a sparkling nude-colored number by Lebanese designer-to-the-stars Zuhair Murad, which featured a gently scooped square neckline and no shortage of glittering silver embellishments, as well as a thin metallic belt at the waist.

US actress and model Molly Sims also showed off a gown by Zuhair Murad, but it was drastically different due to its pretty pink hue and cascade of rose-colored frills on the exaggerated shoulders. With a plunging neckline and beaded detailing on the flowy skirt, it stood out on the Venetian red carpet.

French model Gabrielle Caunesil opted for a vibrant gown by Lebanese designer Rami Kadi, best known for his edgy cuts and use of unexpected materials — he is a fan of plastic and glass. “Thanks @ramikadi for the beautiful dress, @renecaovilla for the princess shoes, @chopard and @armanibeauty for making me feel beautiful. It takes a village,” Caunesil took to Instagram to say.

Meanwhile, the director of Oscar-nominated film “Capernaum,” Labaki, chose a black gown by Lebanese talent Georges Hobeika.

The dress, which she showed off at Saturday’s screening of “J’Accuse,” featured a plunging rectangular neckline — which almost hit her navel — and gem encrusted details.




French model Gabrielle Caunesil opted for a vibrant gown by Lebanese designer Rami Kadi. (Getty Image)

Hollywood heavyweight Scarlett Johansson chose to show off a scarlet column gown by French fashion house Celine, designed by its French-Tunisian creative director Hedi Slimane.

The sweetheart neckline, hip-high slit and rouched material on the sparkling bodice combined to make it a standout look.

Johansson wore the Celine gown on the red carpet before Thursday’s screening of “Marriage Story,” a Netflix film about a couple — she plays an actress and he plays a theater director — with an eight-year-old son managing a bi-coastal separation and divorce.

Johansson stars alongside Adam Driver in the film that is competing for the Golden Lion award.

Although Johansson had her own experiences to draw on having most recently divorced French businessman Romain Dauriac in 2017, she said there was something of everyone behind the film in the brutally honest but tender character study.

 “It felt fated in a way,” Johansson said. “It came somehow at just the right time,” she told The Associated Press.


Celine Dion returns to Canada to kick off world tour

Updated 19 September 2019

Celine Dion returns to Canada to kick off world tour

  • The Grammy winner also recently announced the release of a new album titled “Courage”
  • She said in April that she felt motivated to create new music and hit the road after the 2016 death of her husband and manager

QUEBEC CITY: After living and crooning for years in Las Vegas, French-Canadian superstar Celine Dion returned home to Quebec to kick off her first world tour in a decade on Wednesday.
At 51, the Grammy winner also recently announced the release of a new album titled “Courage,” which will be her 12th in English and is due out on November 15.
The first single “Flying On My Own,” featuring her powerful vocals backed by techno beats, has already hit the airwaves, while three more dropped Wednesday: “Courage,” “Lying Down” and “Imperfections.”
Known for her blockbuster ballads, Dion said in April that she felt motivated to create new music and hit the road after the 2016 death of her husband and manager Rene Angelil.
“When I lost Rene, he wanted me back on stage. He wanted to make sure I was still practicing my passion,” she said. “I wanted to prove to him that I’m fine, we’re fine, we’re going to be OK. I’ve got this.”
So, after more than 1,140 concerts for 4.5 million fans over 16 years in Sin City, she bid adieu to the Colosseum at Caesars Palace with a final two-hour show.
“Courage is exactly the way I feel,” she told public broadcaster CBC at the time, talking up the upcoming tour of the same name.
“In the past three years, it has been difficult for me to talk to my children, to raise them, to lose my husband, wondering am I going to sing again... so much has happened, but at the same time I feel that I’m in control of my life.”
Some 60 dates in North American have been confirmed so far, her label said, with two arena shows in Quebec City on Wednesday and Saturday kicking off the tour, which will run through April 2020, and will be her first world tour since 2008-2009.
Her show was almost two hours of mastery, as she performed some of her greatest hits — from “I’m Alive” to “My Heart Will Go On” — as well as new material to an ecstatic crowd of roughly 20,000.
“It was really impossible to miss Celine at home,” Nicolas Delivre, a French university exchange student in Montreal, told AFP.
Donald Berard, from Quebec City, said he had grown up listening to Dion. “We love her like a member of our family.”
“Courage” marks the first album and tour in Dion’s long career without Angelil, who steered her success beginning in 1981 when he mortgaged his house to finance the young teen’s debut album.
The pair began a personal relationship in 1988 when she was only 19 years old, and married in a lavish ceremony in 1994. Angelil died of throat cancer at age 73.
In an interview with NBC’s Today show, Dion revealed that she longs for the hugs and laughs that come with a relationship, but added, “I’m not ready to date.”
The youngest of a family of 14 children raised in the suburbs of Montreal, Dion has sold 250 million copies of 23 studio albums in English and French, including collaborations with French singer-songwriter Jean-Jacques Goldman, Barbra Streisand and Stevie Wonder.
Back in Canada, she told the Montreal Gazette that the tour schedule was “a little crazy,” but that she had found time in advance to take in life’s small pleasures.
At a press junket last Friday, Dion told Radio-Canada: “There are good wines that age well, and there are good wines that age badly. I hope to be a good bottle of wine.”
“I’m not a new Celine,” Dion added. “I’m a continuity of myself.”