THE BREAKDOWN Hayat Nazer — ‘Lady Liberty of Lebanon’

Hayat Nazer is a Lebanese artist and activist. (Supplied)
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Updated 05 November 2020

THE BREAKDOWN Hayat Nazer — ‘Lady Liberty of Lebanon’

  • The Lebanese artist and activist discusses her new sculpture near Port of Beirut, constructed using debris from the August 4 explosion there

DUBAI: On the day of the explosion, I was on my way to Beirut. I was shocked and in denial. I couldn’t believe what happened. I called for volunteers through my social media, providing them with brooms to go to people’s homes and help them clean up.

We went to their homes to remove the broken glass, adjust their furniture and fix damaged doors. We didn’t know where to put the pieces of glass, so I took them home, which is also my atelier.

Before the explosion, I had begun this sculpture, which was about a woman as a vase. I heard the song “Lady of the World, O Beirut,” which was moving and made me think that Beirut is a woman, for many reasons.

I saw the destruction and broken glass all around me and started putting them in this sculpture, which I remade. I included a red blanket of mine — its red color symbolizes blood and those who died.

I wanted to include a clock and, by coincidence, I found a broken one on the ground — stopped at 6:08 — and placed it in the sculpture. I also went into people’s homes in the Karantina, Gemmayze, and Mar Mikhael areas, asking them to give me broken things that they didn’t need anymore.

I would tell them that I wanted to collaborate with them. In my work, I always loved the idea of collaboration — hand in hand, just like how we have to build this country together.

I wanted to create a memorial, so they gave me their most valuable objects that brought tears to my eyes. A man gave me a toy he used to play with when he was young, a woman gave me a shell that she kept from the days of the civil war, and another woman gave me a lighter that she saved and polished. It belonged to her husband, who was killed in the war.

I would like to take these people’s memories and make a bigger memorial — a replica of this statue — because this explosion was enormous, affecting Lebanon and all of us.

Nicole Scherzinger wows in Georges Chakra design

Updated 24 November 2020

Nicole Scherzinger wows in Georges Chakra design

DUBAI: Singer and television show host Nicole Scherzinger was spotted wearing a design from our neck of the woods this week to promote the hit show “The Masked Singer.”

The “Don’t Cha” hitmaker, who serves as a judge on the show alongside singer Robin Thicke, comedian Ken Jeong and model Jenna McCarthy, wowed viewers with a white, statement-making Georges Chakra pant suit from the Lebanese designer’s Spring 2019 couture collection.

The look boasted a plunging blazer with metallic details on the shoulders and sleeves and a cascading train. She paired the top with coordinating white, flared trousers. Scherzinger  elevated the look with a dusting of metallic, eye-popping powder across her lids to compliment her ensemble.

Chakra is one of Lebanon’s top couture designers. His gowns have graced runways in Paris and red carpets in Hollywood, while the entertainment industry’s top talent like Gabrielle Union, Jennifer Lopez and Letitia Wright regularly don his creations.  His designs have even been featured in films and television shows like “Gossip Girl” – Blake Lively’s character Serena van der Woodsen tied the knot in a dramatic strapless tulle gown designed Chakra in the show’s series finale. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the Aug.4 Beirut explosion, Chakra didn’t unveil his Fall 2021 couture collection during the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode’s official Haute Couture week this year, but presented it in a digital format instead.

Much like his previous collections, the Fall 2021 couture offering was an amalgamation of expert tailoring, volume, ruffles, traces of lamé and rich fabrics such as lace, velour de soie, silk organza and gazar.

Meanwhile, Scherzinger isn’t the only A-lister to champion the Lebanese couturier in recent weeks. 

Model and cookbook author Chrissy Teigen was recently spotted wearing an all-white ensemble at a Pennsylvania rally for president-elect Joe Biden and vice president-elect Kamala Harris’ election campaign where her husband John Legend was performing. 

The look featured a tailored Chloe blazer worn over a bodysuit paired with a tulle tiered skirt from Chakra’s Fall 2020 couture collection. 

The designer’s creations also found a fan in British actress Kate Beckinsale, who recently attended this year’s Monte Carlo Gala for Planetary Health in Monaco wearing a white, asymmetric gown, which was plucked from the designer’s Fall 2019 couture collection.