MUMBAI: When it comes to making a dramatic statement, Middle Eastern designers have become the go-to for celebrities across the world. From stars like Elie Saab to emerging talents like Masion Yeya, Arab designers were all over this year’s major events. Here are a few of the best red-carpet looks created by Arab designers in 2019.
The Lebanese designer is no stranger to the Oscars — his first outing was in 2002, when Halle Berry wore a sweeping burgundy ballgown by Saab as she won her Best Actress Oscar. Looking every bit a winner this year was Michelle Yeoh, in an Elie Saab off-shoulder gown with sequined bodice and full skirt that left the 56-year-old actress looking like Hollywood royalty.
Catherine Zeta Jones walked the Emmy’s red carpet in a striking cerise pink gown with cape effect from Beirut-based designer George Hobeika’s couture collection. The brightly colored cascading chiffon dress ensure the 49-year-old actress looked graceful as could be, and she completed the look with custom-dyed pink Stuart Weitzman platform sandals.
Another celebrity red-carpet favorite from the region is Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad, and when American actress Jessica Chastain wore a full beaded emerald green gown from his Couture Winter 2019/2020 for the Los Angeles Premiere of her film “It, Chapter Two” she dazzled like a jewel. It was the perfect choice for the redhead, and it ensured the fashion media took note of this premier.
MADIYAH AL SHARQI
TV reality star Khloe Kardashian took the meaning of “Diva” to a new level in her Madiyah Al Sharqi gold-wrap dress complete with curly blonde wig as she accompanied her mother Kris Jenner to legendary singer Diana Ross’s 75th birthday party. Al-Sharqi is the daughter of the ruler of Fujairah, Sheikh Hamad bin Mohammed Al-Sharqi, and the 29 year-old launched her eponymous label in 2012. As Kardahsian showed, her designs are beginning to gain international recognition.
Indian actress Aishwarya Rai Bachchan is a veteran of the Cannes Film Festival, and is known for making some bold red-carpet choices. This year, her white multi-layered gown by Beirut-based fashion house Ashi Studio — helmed by Saudi-born Mohammed Ashi — included feather, ruffles and a long train, and was a true head-turner. It wasn’t the first time the actress has chosen a gown by the Saudi designer for Cannes, and he is clearly one of her favorites.
There is no bigger showbiz event than the Oscars, and many of the attendees this year turned to designers from the Middle East for their big night out. But to be worn by a winner is every fashion designer’s dream, and Dubai-based Syrian designer Rami Al-Ali was lucky enough to achieve that dream when Hannah Beachler walked away with the Oscar for Best Production for her work on “Black Panther.” Bleacher was the first African-American to be nominated in this category, and for the historic occasion she sported a flamboyant flaming orange satin one-shoulder evening dress with a thigh-high split created by Al-Ali.
Jennifer Lopez is known to love labels from the Middle East — in a recent interview she said that Zuhair Murad was one of all-time favorites. But she’s also a fan of up-and-coming Egyptian label Maison Yeya, and selected a bright yellow dress from their couture collection for the red-carpet premiere of her film “The Hustlers” at the Toronto International Film festival. The multi-layered dress with ruffle effect and plunging neckline ensured that J-Lo did not disappoint.
There is no better endorsement for a label than to have living legend wear you for their comeback moment. At the American Music Awards 52-year-old Toni Braxton performed her 1996 song “Unbreak My Heart” in this stunning sheer white gown from Kuwaiti label Yousef Al-Jasmi. She arrived on the red carpet earlier wearing a beige, off-the-shoulder gown from another Kuwaiti label, Labourjoisie. Both dresses proved that this diva is truly fabulous at any age.
Cannes Film Festival is 12 days of non-stop red-carpet moments, so by the closing night, it’s often a challenge to keep the momentum going. US actress Elle Fanning made sure she was the one to beat at the closing ceremony, choosing a gown from Lebanese designer Reem Acra’s bridal collection. The champagne gown came with an embroidered cape and had an angelic feel. The youngest member of this year’s Cannes jury looked like a modern-day princess.