Georges Hobeika proves his gowns are coveted the world over

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Updated 18 October 2020

Georges Hobeika proves his gowns are coveted the world over

DUBAI: Lebanese couturier Georges Hobeika has proven yet again that his designs are coveted the world over, with leading ladies from the US, to Paris and China’s Hunan region showing off his gowns in recent days.

First up was US singer and actress Jennifer Hudson, who was photographed in Los Angeles for Entertainment Weekly wearing a pastel number from Hobeika’s Spring/Summer 2020 couture collection.

The gown featured a lilac tulle skirt, topped with a mint green neckline and flowing tulle cape in the same fresh shade.

Over in Paris, German influencer Leonie Hanne treated her 2.7 million followers to a video in which she can be spotted wearing one of Hobeika’s glamorous creations, also from his Spring/Summer 2020 couture collection.

The trend-setter filmed herself posing in a Parisian hotel room in an array of spots — from standing on the bed, heels and all, to draped in a bathtub — all while wearing a sunshine yellow ballgown.

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That feeling when wearing a stunning dress...

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“That feeling when wearing a stunning dress,” she captioned the video.  

The ruffled, tiered skirt and oversized, asymmetrical frill on the neckline make this dress worthy of even the most glittering red carpet, but the influencer had to settle for her luxurious hotel suite given the international lull in fashion events.

That wasn’t the case in China over the weekend, however. Actress Guan Xiaotong managed to hit the red carpet at the opening ceremony of the China Golden Eagle TV Art Festival on Oct. 16 in Hunan Province wearing an ice blue gown by the Lebanese fashion house.

Sparkling embroidered flowers adorn the pleated tulle skirt, topped by a nude bodice in the show-stopping gown that also hails from the same collection.

Hobeika’s Spring/Summer 2020 couture collection was unveiled in Paris in January and is a reflection of the designer’s favorite inspirations — “the force of nature,” “the ecstasy of freedom” and the “philosophy of entertainment” — according to the show notes.

The collection also came with exquisite, well-placed embroidery in a rich palette of neutrals and playful tones, as well as luxurious materials such as satin duchesse and silk chiffon — elements that have made the Baskinta-born designer revered by the royals and red carpet stars that make up his loyal clientele.

Indeed, celebrities constantly turn to Hobeika to dress them in his creations for some of their most important events. Case in point: Singer-turned-actress Jennifer Lopez who chose an elegant off-the-shoulder black gown for the 2020 Screen Actors Guild Awards and before that, a cream-colored, backless gown encrusted with gems at the 2020 Critics’ Choice Awards.

‘Black Beauty’: Mending broken spirits in yet another retelling of a classic

The film begins with the sorrowful story of how Black Beauty (voiced by Kate Winslet) is taken away from her family. (Supplied)
Updated 30 November 2020

‘Black Beauty’: Mending broken spirits in yet another retelling of a classic

CHENNAI: English author Anna Sewell wrote her only novel “Black Beauty” between 1871 and 1877, at a time when she was quite ill and could hardly get out of bed.

Often considered a children’s classic, it has sold a whopping 50 million copies and was actually directed at adults — Ashley Avis’s reimagining of “Black Beauty” for Disney+ underscores this in an enormously poignant way, although this sixth incarnation (the last being Caroline Thomson’s rather disappointing 1994 version) may have lost some appeal. 

An autobiography of a wild horse captured in the American West and tamed, Avis’s film begins with the sorrowful story of how Black Beauty (voiced by Kate Winslet) is taken away from her family and brought to Birtwick Stables, run by John Manly (Ian Glen). Despite his experience as a horse whisperer, he is unable to tame Beauty. It takes his teenage niece Jo Green (Mckenzie Foy) to calm the magnificent creature.

Green, who comes to live with her uncle after the death of her parents in a car accident, succeeds largely because of her ability to treat Beauty not as an animal but as another soul capable of feelings. She says early on in a teary moment that like herself, the horse has lost its family. This understanding and the bond that follows are beautifully captured by Avis, also the writer. 

What may serve as an important point of novelty is the gender switch. Beauty is now a female mustang, not a male as in the tome or adaptations. This may have been an intelligent ploy to establish a still warmer camaraderie between Green and Beauty. Only Green can soothe Beauty, who can help the girl get over her terrible loss.

But then the horse has to live through several masters after Manly finds he can no longer afford her. Beauty experiences as much care as cruelty, but as Winslet observes at the beginning: “A wise horse once told me that a mustang’s spirit can never be broken.”

While Winslet’s voiceover seems useful, there are moments when it is distracting. Also, Avis’s inclusion of a fair amount of modernism in her narrative — with swanky cars rubbing shoulders with horse-drawn carriages on the streets of New York, where Beauty is taken — may seem confusingly improbable. “Black Beauty” is charming, but what could have added a zing to it is greater drama. Most of the time, the storytelling is flat.