‘Mulan’ star Liu Yifei has a real-life princess moment in Elie Saab

The ‘Mulan’ actress wore a fairytale-worthy Elie Saab gown for the film's world premiere in Los Angeles this week. (Getty)
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Updated 11 March 2020

‘Mulan’ star Liu Yifei has a real-life princess moment in Elie Saab

DUBAI: This week in Los Angeles, the world got a preview of Disney’s latest live-action remake, an action-packed retelling of “Mulan” directed by Niki Caro. The global premiere served as an official Hollywood debut for the film’s lead star, Chinese-American actress Liu Yifei, who stunned in an Elie Saab couture gown.

The 32-year-old actress and her stylist Samantha McMillan chose a gold Elie Saab gown for the premiere from the Lebanese designer’s Fall 2019 couture collection replete with a rising phoenix motif rendered in gold embroidery and sequins.

Liu explained the significance of the phoenix print to USA Today, saying: “They are my inspiration for the movie. It’s a symbol of Mulan’s spirit… it’s something meaningful.”

But the extravagant ballgown wasn’t exactly easy to move around in. “It’s a very big dress. It’s very hard to walk in it,” she added. Indeed, the dress was so overwhelming, it required a few aides to get the star photo ready on the red carpet.




The magical gown was replete with replete with a rising phoenix motif rendered in gold embroidery and sequins. (AFP)

The magical gown featured a built-in corset, gold brocade and an expansive train.  Heavy on the sequins and sparkle, the strapless number made for a fashion moment worthy of a Disney princess.

Once inside the ceremony, Yifei switched into another gilded number from yet another Lebanese couturier. The actress opted for a plunging Zuhair Murad gown covered with beaded embellishments and adorned with a sheer cape.




Yifei switched into another gilded number from yet another Lebanese couturier. (AFP)

Yifei plays the titular character in the upcoming film, which is a live-action remake of the beloved Disney cartoon from 1998. Yifei was chosen out of a pool of 1,000 other actresses for the lead role after a year-long casting process. While she is a well-known actress in China, “Mulan” is Yifei’s first major role in a US-based film.

The actress was joined at the premiere by many of her “Mulan” castmates, including actors Tzi Ma and Donnie Yen, and other celebrities such as Christina Aguilera, Chrissy Metz, Jaimie Alexander and Lana Condor, among others. Actress Ming-Na Wen, who originally voiced Mulan in the 1998 film, also attended the premiere.


Gigi Hadid takes part in UNICEF campaign with a sweet treat

Gigi Hadid was challenged by fellow model Halima Aden to take part in UNICEF’s #UCanLearn campaign. File/AFP
Updated 1 min 48 sec ago

Gigi Hadid takes part in UNICEF campaign with a sweet treat

DUBAI: It’s no secret that US-Palestinian-Dutch model Gigi Hadid loves to cook. She routinely takes to her social media to share videos and photographs of the mouth-watering dishes she’s cooked up — she even has a separate highlights section of Instagram Stories entitled “From My Kitchen” on her account dedicated to showcasing the delectable treats she has cooked up, such as corn cakes, carrot cake, pesto pasta and curry chicken salad.

This week, the 24-year-old decided to post a banana muffin recipe on her Instagram Stories, however, this time it was for a good cause.

Hadid took to her social media to announce that she had been challenged by fellow model Halima Aden to take part in UNICEF’s #UCanLearn campaign, which aims to teach children staying at home something new via at-home videos while schools are closed.

The part-Palestinian model shared a detailed recipe for banana muffins. Instagram

The part-Palestinian model shared a detailed picture and description of the banana muffin recipe. She also wrote a caption saying, “@halima challenged me to @unicefusa’s #UCANLEARN initiative, where we can all share something for someone else to learn at home during this unprecedented time!”

Meanwhile, for her part, Aden posted a clip to teach kids how to sing her favorite song with her. “I want to teach you something new, like my favorite song ‘Jambo’,” said the Somali-American model from her kitchen in Minnesota. “It’s a song that brought community together. It’s the first song that I learned when I was seven living in Kenya. ‘Jambo’ is a very popular ‘welcome to our country’ song for our guests,” she explained.

The 22-year-old then nominated models Ashley Graham, Carolyn Murphy and Larsen Thompson, as well as “Game of Thrones” star Nathalie Emmanuel, among others, to participate in the challenge and keep children learning amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Thompson was quick off the bat and responded to Aden’s nomination with a similar video of her own singing “Jambo.”

“Thank you so much for nominating me, Halima. I hope you guys sing and have so much fun with this song,” she said before asking Coco Rocha, Yara Shahidi and Ava Michelle to step up and take part.