Maya Jama, Pixie Lott steal the show in Lebanese labels

British singer Pixie Lott wore a design from Beirut label Sandra Mansour for the 2020 BAFTAs red carpet. Getty
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Updated 03 February 2020

Maya Jama, Pixie Lott steal the show in Lebanese labels

  • On Sunday, the Royal Albert Hall brought together some of the world’s biggest names on the big screen as it celebrated a year of film

DUBAI: Playing host to the 73rd edition of the British Academy Film Awards (BAFTAs) on Saturday evening, London’s Royal Albert Hall brought together some of the world’s biggest names on the big screen as it celebrated a year of film. While viewers had their eye on who would take home the biggest prize of the night, we couldn’t help but keep our attention firmly on the red carpet as stars arrived dressed in their glittering best.

Among the sea of international labels donned by stars on the red carpet were a couple of standout designs from the region. British hitmaker Pixie Lott, who arrived at the ceremony with her fiancé Oliver Cheshire, wore an elegant white dress from Beirut-based label Sandra Mansour’s Spring 2019 collection. The sleeveless satin gown featured a high neck and tiered ruffles that fell just above her ankles. She elevated the midi-dress with a pair of gem-encrusted, barely-there sandals and a dazzling clutch.

Lott elevated the midi-dress with a pair of gem-encrusted sandals and a matching bag. Getty

Also eschewing Western labels in favor of designs from the region was Swedish-Somali presenter Maya Jama, who quickly slipped into a canary-colored, bejeweled gown from Lebanese design duo Azzi and Osta to attend the Vogue x Tiffany Fashion & Film after party for the BAFTAs. The sheer, off-the-shoulder number boasted long, billowing sleeves and a smattering of hand-embroidered purple, blue and white sequins up top.

The traffic-stopping look came after the 25-year-old shut down the red carpet wearing the world’s first augmented reality dress. The Richard Malone creation, which took 250 hours to complete, was crafted from ethically sourced fabric, including recycled, regenerative ocean waste, recycled wool and wadding from ex-factory waste.

Somali-Swedish presenter Maya Jama slipped into an Azzi and Osta creation for the afterparty. Getty

This year’s ceremony aimed to be the most sustainable event during this awards season.  Recognizing the frivolous nature of red carpets, the BAFTAs provided guests with instructions on how to minimize their carbon footprint before they even entered the Royal Albert Hall. Organizers also offered a plant-based menu and style notes detailing various sustainable fashion houses and tips and tricks to help the environment.

The London College of Fashion-based Centre for Sustainable Fashion created a sustainable overview, complete with a list of pre-approved brands, resellers and rental options, which was given to each attendee. Guests were encouraged to re-wear existing pieces and environmentally-friendly brands.

Saudi designer and musician: ‘You don’t need an excuse to fail’

Updated 26 February 2020

Saudi designer and musician: ‘You don’t need an excuse to fail’

  • An accomplished pianist, composer and artist Labeed Assidmi is known for his passion and hard work

DAMMAM: Saudi graphic designer, artist, musician and entrepreneur Labeed Assidmi is known for his passion and hard work.

Assidmi is a designer and art director for corporate events at Saudi Aramco. However, it’s not all he’s known for. An accomplished pianist and composer, he has been playing piano since he was a child and is often asked to perform at events. He also owns and operates the company Pinnizer, where he sells retro and Saudi-centric lapel pins.

He wants people to know that there are different levels to what he does and how he wants to be perceived. “I want to be known as a designer first, a musician second and a pin maker last,” he said.

His passion for design began with a trip to Disneyland, where he saw how effectively a logo could be used with the iconic image of Mickey Mouse. “They were so creative with it. It was everywhere; the hats, the shirts, the buses, the tickets and the food. It was never boring. I started to think about what kind of job a person could have that would allow them to create these things. I knew that that was what I wanted to do.”

After studying graphic design in the US, he returned to Saudi Arabia to pursue a career as a designer. He said that becoming a designer can unlock plenty of paths for aspiring creatives: “Design is like an airport, there are so many directions you can go in as long as you know the principles.”

His journey in music started in the fourth grade “on the half-functional keyboard that everyone had somewhere in their house during that era.” He tinkered around with it until he managed to teach himself a few simple tunes.

He started taking the piano more seriously in college, eventually composing songs.

“I always play my own songs, I don’t really like doing covers,” he said.

He finds composing and playing music cathartic, and an effective way of stretching his creative muscles without overexerting himself. “When I’m not making art, I’m making music, and vice versa. I love the piano, it’s my escape from everything,” he said.

He also supports local musicians and wants to see more people enter the field. “I do perform sometimes at my own events, but lately I’ve been trying to give local talent a chance. I know how many of them are out there that just need someone to take a chance on them and give them their big break.”

As for Pinnizer, he said that pin collecting had started growing in popularity as a pastime in the Kingdom, but he knew that there were few places to get pins with imagery familiar to his generation. “I found a gap in the market and decided to capitalize on it by creating designs with characters and symbols that were familiar to us,” he said.

Assidmi designs all the pins himself, and works with a company in China to produce molds for them, which he then sells on his website. He has created pins with iconic images of the past such as the old logos of Saudi TV and Saudi Airlines, as well as anime characters like Grendizer and Maroko.

“When people see my pins, and their voice goes up an octave when they give that nostalgic little ‘oh my God!’, I know I’ve succeeded,” he said.

He admits that balancing the triple workload and still managing to make time for himself and family is tough, but he has ways of getting around it.

He believes that compartmentalizing different aspects of your life into “pillars” can help people see the bigger picture and avoid getting too caught up in one thing.

Assidmi hopes that he can be an inspiration to future generations of Saudis, especially people who want to enter a creative field but don’t believe in themselves.

“My purpose is to leave a legacy that inspires people, to have people see what I’ve done and realize that this is something that they can do to. That’s how I want to be remembered.”

Shop Pinnizer at or follow Assidmi on Instagram @labeed and his work at and @pinnizer