Stars look to Lebanese designers on music’s biggest night

Lily Singh wore a Georges Chakra design at the 2020 Grammy Awards. Getty Images
Updated 27 January 2020

Stars look to Lebanese designers on music’s biggest night

DUBAI: Since its inception in 1959, the Grammy Awards has continued to deliver memorable red carpet moments from the industry’s most revered musicians, many of which have been powered by design talent from the Middle East.

The 62nd edition of the annual awards ceremony, which took place at Los Angeles’ Staples Center on Sunday, was no different.

British-Pakistani actress Jameela Jamil stepped out on the red carpet to support her partner James Blake, who was nominated for Best Alternative album, and for the occasion donned a metallic blue gown by Lebanese designer Georges Chakra. The strapless shingle-layered design was plucked from the Beirut-born couturier’s Fall 2020 couture collection. The statement ballgown featured mesh paneling on the skirt and she paired it with lace-up heeled boots. To further amp up the glamour, the “The Good Place” star complemented her bold gown with a matching swipe of sapphire eyeshadow.

Jameela Jamil wore a Georges Chakra design at the 2020 Grammy Awards. Getty Images

The 33-year-old wasn’t the only well-heeled attendee to choose a design from the Lebanese fashion house during the awards show, however.

YouTuber Lilly Singh arrived on the red carpet wearing a chartreuse-colored, one-shoulder gown from Georges Chakra, which she accessorized with a transparent clutch filled to the brim with Skittles to share with reporters and photographers on the red carpet, because “sharing is caring,” as she wrote on her Instagram Story.

Elsewhere, regional designers also found a fan in actress Issa Rae, who took to the stage wearing a gold, plunging, animal-print gown by Lebanese couturier Zuhair Murad to present Tyler the Creator with the Best Rap Album award.

Hosted by Alicia Keys, this year’s Grammy Awards show opened with a tribute to basketball star Kobe Bryant, who died in a helicopter crash earlier in the day and whose Los Angeles Lakers team is based in the city’s Staples Center, which was the venue for this year’s Grammy Awards.

“We are literally standing here heartbroken in the house that Kobe Bryant built,” said Keys. “We never imagined in a million years we’d have to start the show like this.”

Teen sensation Billie Eilish swept the awards ceremony, winning all four top prizes including best new artist. R&B star Lizzo won three of her eight nominations, while country rapper Lil Nas X took two for his viral “Old Town Road” collaboration with Billy Ray Cyrus.

Lebanese teen Nour Ardakani is global pop group Now United’s first Arab member

Updated 21 September 2020

Lebanese teen Nour Ardakani is global pop group Now United’s first Arab member

DUBAI: The search for global music group Now United’s newest member is finally over. Enter Nour Ardakani, the 18-year-old singer from Lebanon, who is set to become the band’s 16th member – and first Arab – after an extensive, months-long search for talent across the Middle East and North Africa.

Ardakani was hand-picked by Simon Fuller, the man who founded popular British girl band The Spice Girls and created “American Idol.”

“I think you are absolutely wonderful, and I think you would be perfect to join the group. And I would like to invite you to be the next member of Now United,” Fuller told the singer and dancer in a video call.

“Seriously, it’s me? You picked me?” asked Ardakani, to which Fuller replied: “You got it.”

The singer, who currently resides in Beirut with her family, joins fellow group for the band’s latest single “Feel It Now.”

Founded in 2017, the multinational music group announced in November last year that they were looking for a new member from the MENA region.


A post shared by Nour Ardakani (@noursmusicdiary) on

Out of thousands of hopefuls in the Middle East and North Africa, 13 were shortlisted and invited to participate in a virtual audition last week in front of Fuller. Eventually, it came down to Ardakani and a 15-year-old Emirati singer, Alya Al-Ali.

Fuller picked Ardakani after hearing her recording of Now United’s song “Habibi.”