Red carpet glamour returns as stars put on a show at the Academy Awards

Carey Mulligan shimmered on the red carpet at the 93rd Academy Awards. (AFP)
Carey Mulligan shimmered on the red carpet at the 93rd Academy Awards. (AFP)
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Updated 26 April 2021

Red carpet glamour returns as stars put on a show at the Academy Awards

Carey Mulligan shimmered on the red carpet at the 93rd Academy Awards. (AFP)

DUBAI: Red carpet glam was back at the Oscars with Andra Day and Carey Mulligan shimmering in award-worthy gold and Maria Bakalova among several stars in bright white princess gowns during the pandemic era’s first big parade of fashion.

 

E! News host Giuliana Rancic looked ethereal in a pale pink, beaded look by Lebanese designer Rami Al-Ali, complete with decadent draping on one shoulder. Another Arab offering saw US actress Nicolette Robinson show off an all-black look by Zuhair Murad, with a bow detail on the waist.

Meanwhile, South Korean actress Youn Yuh-Jung accepted the Best Supporting Actress Award for her internationally-acclaimed role in “Minari” wearing an elegant dress by Dubai-based Egyptian womenswear label Marmar Halim. The quilted, navy blue gown was plucked from the brand’s Fall 2017 collection and featured two oversized pockets on the skirt.

Renowned costume designer Trish Summerville, who is best known for her work on “The Hunger Games” and “Mank,” also opted to wear a creation from a designer from our neck of the woods. For her part, Summerville chose a black and silver mesh gown from Lebanese designer Tony Ward’s Fall 2021 ready-to-wear offering. 




Nicolette Robinson showed off an all-black look by Zuhair Murad. (AFP)

TV host Erin Lim showed off a striking red number, with fringe detailing on the skirt, by Lebanese couturier Georges Chakra.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Erin Lim Rhodes (@erinlim)

In fact, there was a strong showing of reds, along with belly-baring midriffs, the latter including Zendaya in standout yellow by Valentino and more than 183 carats of Bulgari diamonds from ears and neck to her fingers at the Los Angeles ceremony.




Zendaya (AFP)

Day dressed all the way up in a daring look cut to the thigh on one side with a cutout at the waist. It was custom Vera Wang made of actual metal, paired with a dainty pair of drop earrings tipped with yellow diamonds from Tiffany & Co. Mulligan stunned in gold Valentino couture, a midriff look with a tiny metallic top and a huge ball skirt.

With nominees scattered around the world, the red carpet was far less hectic.

“Calm. If people were here they would know how absolutely groundbreaking calm is,” said Viola Davis, dressed in a stunning white custom look with intricate cutouts in a snug bodice that fell to a princess skirt.

The designer? “Alexander McQueen, baby,” Davis told E!.




Viola Davis. (AFP)

Bakalova, the breakout star of “Borat: Subsequent Movie Film,” also brought princess, also in white, with a bit of subdued sparkle and a plunging neckline that fell to a tulle skirt, thanks to Louis Vuitton. She snagged a pair of stunning chandelier diamond earrings for the evening.

Regina King, who opened the show, went for light blue Louis Vuitton with winged shoulders and silver stripe embellishments.




Regina King. (AFP)

“Regina King delivered the red carpet fantasy that award season viewers have been missing when she showed up in a sculptural, custom-made masterpiece from Louis Vuitton. While the baby blue color and the wing-like shoulders gave off an ethereal vibe, the modern neckline screamed high-fashion,” said Irina Grechko, senior fashion editor for the millennial-focused lifestyle site Refinery29.com.

Riz Ahmed, Leslie Odom Jr. and Daniel Kaluuya, in a Bottega Veneta tux, were among many of the guys who went without ties. Ahmed was in Prada and Odom in Brioni.




Riz Ahmed and his wife Fatima Farheen Mirza. (AFP)

Travon Free, who co-directed the short live-action winner “Two Distant Strangers,” mixed Hollywood fantasy with real life. He wore a black-and-yellow Dolce & Gabbana tux lined with the names of those killed by police brutality in the United States.

Reese Witherspoon got the red memo, in Dior, along with Angela Bassett in a red look with statement poofy shoulders and Chopard rubies and diamonds. Bassett’s train gown was by Alberta Ferretti.

Presenter Laura Dern wore a look with a white feathered skirt and a black, long-sleeve mock turtleneck top, while Margo Robbie went full Hollywood in body hugging silvery Chanel.

Oscar performer H.E.R. made a red carpet appearance in cobalt blue custom Dundas. It included a hooded cape and a flared jumpsuit. Her round signature shades were by Bonnie Clyde.




H.E.R. (AFP)

Diane Warren and Odom kicked off the carpet in two trend colors: white and gold, Warren in a Valentino tuxedo white with a sequin turtleneck and Odom in a glistening gold double-breasted tux — gold shirt included.

“I’ve never been dressed by a designer before,” Warren told E!. “How cool is that?” A small Swarovski frog adorned her collar.

Odom walked the carpet with spouse Nicolette Robinson. They recently welcomed a second child.

“I am a lucky, lucky man,” he said, while Robinson was grateful for no baby spit up.

Amanda Seyfried chose vibrant red from Armani Prive, her hair in an Old Hollywood side-swept updo. It was among a slew of classic princess cuts, hers a strapless look with a plunging neckline. Halle Berry was a loner in mauve, unfurling her light-as-air train on the carpet with her hair in a short crop.




Amanda Seyfried. (AFP)

New mom Emerald Fennell, best director nominee for “Promising Young Woman,” smiled bright in a flowing spring green and lilac gown. Lately, she’s been making up personas to match her outfits. She topped off the look with sparkly lilac eye shadow. Her look included all-over sequin embroidery and ruffle details.

“So tonight I am Susan your pottery teacher who has a business opportunity for you which is absolutely not a pyramid scheme,” she said.

This pottery teacher wore Gucci.




Emerald Fennell. (AFP)

Other stars chose elegant black for the pandemic-era Oscars. Some were in bright oranges and pinks.

Nominee LaKeith Stanfield chose a custom black jumpsuit with a belt and wide-lapeled button-down underneath by Saint Laurent. Another statement maker among the men: Colman Domingo of “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom” in a hot pink suit by Versace.

All told, Grechko said, Hollywood was due for the final and splashiest carpet of the Zoom-heavy, leisurewear-accented pandemic awards season.

“After a year of virtual red carpet shows, it’s clear that celebrities were ready to bring their A-game to the red carpet, with high-on-glamor looks dominating the night. From Maria Bakalova’s Grace Kelly-esque look, made with 100 meters of tulle, to Carey Mulligan’s oversized, liquid gold-like skirt train, celebrities understood the assignment and brought back fashion in a big way,” she said.


Meet the Saudi architect designing the metaverse

Digital artist and architect Sattom Alasad expresses and explores her Saudi heritage through her work. (AN Photo)
Digital artist and architect Sattom Alasad expresses and explores her Saudi heritage through her work. (AN Photo)
Updated 22 January 2022

Meet the Saudi architect designing the metaverse

Digital artist and architect Sattom Alasad expresses and explores her Saudi heritage through her work. (AN Photo)
  • Sattom Alasad wanted to use online spaces dominating people's lives to provide a tranquil, otherworldly escape
  • These digital spaces are also a way for Alasad to express and explore her Saudi heritage

LOS ANGELES: Saudi architect Sattom Alasad has expanded from designing physical buildings to virtual ones.

Collectively known as a metaverse, digital spaces like Alasad’s allow users online to immersively interact with the environment and each other, and the technology world is looking at them as the next big thing.

“A lot of big companies are investing millions of dollars to own digital land so it’s only natural that the digital real estate is also going to go up in value and is going to be in demand,” digital artist and architect Alasad said. “So as an architect, I am trying to actively participate in developing and designing that digital world for us.”

Metaverse development has been pushed forward due in part to the increased number of people working and interacting remotely during the pandemic.

Alasad wanted to use the online spaces dominating people's lives to provide a tranquil, otherworldly escape.

“A lot of what was going on in the world around us was weighing down on us, so I wanted to take that as an opportunity to start developing my dream world,” she told Arab News.

“I’m currently working on translating my designs to be sold as NFTs where the owner can choose to host the spaces in the metaverse or the digital world where they can be experienced fully and immersively through virtual reality.” 

These digital spaces are also a way for Alasad to express and explore her Saudi heritage, incorporating familiar design elements from her home.

Of all her projects, the one closest to her heart was a collaboration with the charitable collective of MENA region creators, Ya Habibi Market.

“Creating and sharing art is an incredible way to meet and connect with other creatives who live in LA whether they’re from Saudi or other parts of the Arab world.

“So in some ways I found it I would say more empowering to try to connect and understand my culture while being away from it.”


US social media star Brittany Xavier shows off Arab accessories label 

US social media star Brittany Xavier shows off Arab accessories label 
Updated 22 January 2022

US social media star Brittany Xavier shows off Arab accessories label 

US social media star Brittany Xavier shows off Arab accessories label 

DUBAI: US YouTuber Brittany Xavier has been spotted wearing a pair of sunglasses from Lebanese influencer Karen Wazen’s eponymous accessories line By Karen Wazen.

The social media star, who has over 1.7 million Instagram followers and more than 4.6 million TikTok supporters, opted for the Ellis shades, a pair of rectangular-frame sunglasses in black. 

The 34-year-old blogger, famous for her fashion, beauty and digital marketing-related blogs, wore a full leather suit, which she paired with a hot purple bag by Spanish luxury fashion house Loewe, as she strolled down the streets of Los Angeles.  

On her YouTube channel, which has around 443,000 subscribers, the full-time content creator documents her life with her husband, Anthony Xavier, and her two daughters, Jadyn and Poppy Xavier. 

She started her career in 2013. “I started my blog as a hobby in hopes of turning this into my full-time career,” she said in one of her YouTube videos. 

The mother recently welcomed her second child, Poppy, whom she gave birth to 14 years after her first girl. 

Meanwhile, Dubai-based entrepreneur and influencer Wazen launched her debut collection of eyewear in December 2018. The first line came in acetate and stainless steel and in an array of colors, from neon to tortoiseshell.

Less than a year after the official launch of her brand, her designs were picked up by major e-tailer Farfetch, which became the first online platform to offer her eyewear collection.

Now with a large collection of stylish shades, the label has gained the nod of approval from international celebrities including British-Albanian singer Dua Lipa, reality television star Kourtney Kardashian, French model Cindy Bruna, and American singer Becky G, along with a number of regional influencers and trendsetters such as Lebanese blogger Nathalie Fanj, Lebanese-Canadian actress Cynthia Samuel, and Iraqi influencer Deema Al-Asadi.

Among her loyal customers is US music sensation Demi Lovato, who championed the designer’s pieces multiple times. 

The two-time Grammy nominee owns Wazen’s Glamorous shades, a pair of cat-eye-shaped sunglasses in green lenses and a clear frame, and a pair of Kennys, which are rectangular-shaped with brown lenses and a transparent frame.


‘I’d Do Anything for Love’ singer Meat Loaf dead at 74

‘I’d Do Anything for Love’ singer Meat Loaf dead at 74
Updated 21 January 2022

‘I’d Do Anything for Love’ singer Meat Loaf dead at 74

‘I’d Do Anything for Love’ singer Meat Loaf dead at 74
  • The beefy Texas-born singer distinguished himself in the late 1970s with his soaring vocal range and lavish stage productions
  • After a career rut, Meat Loaf enjoyed a revival with his biggest success in 1993: the single "I'd Do Anything for Love (But I Won't Do That)"

WASHINGTON: US singer Meat Loaf, famous for his “Bat Out of Hell” rock anthem, has died aged 74, after a career in which he sold more than 100 million albums and appeared in scores of movies.
“Our hearts are broken to announce that the incomparable Meat Loaf passed away tonight with his wife Deborah by his side,” read a statement on his Facebook page early on Friday.
“Daughters Pearl and Amanda and close friends have been with him throughout the last 24 hours.” No cause of death was given.
The beefy Texas-born singer distinguished himself in the late 1970s with his soaring vocal range and lavish stage productions.
His 1977 “Bat out of Hell” album, which reportedly sold some 43 million copies, is one of the highest-selling ever.
After a career rut, Meat Loaf enjoyed a revival with his biggest success in 1993: the single “I’d Do Anything for Love (But I Won’t Do That)” topped the charts in 28 countries and won him a Grammy Award.
“We know how much he meant to so many of you and we truly appreciate all of the love and support as we move through this time of grief in losing such an inspiring artist and beautiful man,” it said.
“From his heart to your souls... don’t ever stop rocking!“
Tributes poured in, including from former US president Donald Trump, and stars such as Cher, who tweeting she was “Very Sorry For His Family, Friends, & Fans.”
“R.I.P Meatloaf. Love and prayers to all his family and close friends,” tweeted singer Boy George.
Adam Lambert, the lead singer for Queen since 2011, described Meat Loaf as “a gentle hearted powerhouse rockstar forever and ever.”
“You were so kind. Your music will always be iconic,” Lambert said on Twitter.
Born Marvin Lee Aday on September 27, 1947, Meat Loaf’s early years in Texas were rough.
“I’ve forgiven my father for trying to kill me with a butcher’s knife,” he once told The Telegraph.
But the bullying at school over his weight — the nickname Meat Loaf came early — was followed by the devastating loss of his mother to cancer while he was still a teenager.
Not long after, he was on his way to New York, looking for ways to channel the angst and histrionics into performance.
There, he teamed up with musician and playwright Jim Steinman, who provided the wild, theatrical backing music to accompany Meat Loaf’s bellowing voice.
Meat Loaf’s other hit singles include “Paradise by the Dashboard Light” (1977) and “I’m Gonna Love Her for Both of Us” (1981).
Meat Loaf had started off seeking acting work — winning parts in “Hair” and the original cast of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” and its film adaptation.
Throughout his career, he also had several small parts in TV shows and films, including “Wayne’s World” (1992).
His role in the 1999 cult classic “Fight Club” highlighted his acting prowess in one of the decade’s most critically acclaimed films.
In 2016, he released a new album — his first since 2011 — and returned to a busy schedule after a two-year gap in touring, a string of health scares and speculation he would retire.
The singer had collapsed onstage at least three times since 2003, including once in Canada in 2016 after suffering from dehydration while singing “I’d Do Anything For Love.”
He was one of the few major US musicians outside of the country genre to support the Republican Party actively.
In the lead-up to the 2012 election that Barack Obama ended up winning, Meat Loaf campaigned for his challenger Mitt Romney.
Meat Loaf also became friends with Donald Trump after appearing on the latter’s reality television show “The Celebrity Apprentice.”
Trump described the singer as “smart, talented, open, and warm” in a statement Friday.


Syrian arts, culture festival opens in London

Syrian arts, culture festival opens in London
Updated 21 January 2022

Syrian arts, culture festival opens in London

Syrian arts, culture festival opens in London

DUBAI: The Syrian Arts and Culture Festival, a new multidisciplinary event showcasing the country’s creative talents, has opened in London.

The inaugural event, running until Feb. 4, brings together established and emerging artists, filmmakers, performers, and musicians to offer audiences alternative narratives and perspectives on Syria, its people, and its culture.

The SACF is a project by Zamakan, a non-profit platform that aims to create opportunities for artists, cultural workers, and creatives from West Asia and North Africa, and Marsm, a London-based events company.

Upcoming events feature a performance by Syrian musician Ibrahim Keivo. (Syrian Arts and Culture Festival)

SACF is a transliteration of the Arabic word saqf, meaning roof or ceiling, a word which is also used to represent the limit of something. According to the website, the festival, “aspires to be a creative platform where limits can be pushed and boundaries are broken.”

For the opening night, the festival presented two solo performances by the acclaimed Syrian classical guitarist Ayman Jarjour and and Palestinian ney (a type of flute) virtuoso Faris Ishaq.

Upcoming events feature screenings of Syrian filmmaker Omar Amiralay’s movies, a traditional food workshop, and a performance by Syrian musician Ibrahim Keivo.


Meet Saudi beauty guru Hessa Alajaji: The face behind Han Makeup

Meet Saudi beauty guru Hessa Alajaji: The face behind Han Makeup
Updated 21 January 2022

Meet Saudi beauty guru Hessa Alajaji: The face behind Han Makeup

Meet Saudi beauty guru Hessa Alajaji: The face behind Han Makeup

DUBAI: Saudi makeup artist Hessa Alajaji’s beauty brand Han Makeup, which she has been working on since 2017, is finally here much to the delight of makeup aficionados. 

“Our goal is to have a brand that covers all the products that anyone would need when doing their makeup,” said the content creator who co-founded the brand in an interview with Arab News. “We have started with makeup brushes as we have noticed a lack of sets that give you the requirements that you need.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by HESSA ALAJAJI (@han.alajaji)

Alajaji first gained popularity on social media, where beauty lovers flocked to her Instagram account for creative shots of colorful, otherworldly makeup looks and sneak peaks of the artist’s life. With more than 35,000 followers on Instagram, it was time for the creative talent to translate her know-how into a business.  

The pandemic slowed down the artist’s production plan, but she said it allowed her to test the brushes with several leading makeup artists and users who “all praised the quality” of her set. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by HAN (@han.makeup)

Priced at 450 SAR, the set features 10 brushes that will help makeup lovers create knife-sharp eyeliner looks, natural looking eyebrows, and softly blended eyeshadows.

The set, which is made out of natural and synthetic hair, also has larger tools that can be used to contour, highlight, conceal or to apply foundation.   

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by HESSA ALAJAJI (@han.alajaji)

The feedback on her release “exceeded” her expectations. “Clients loved the brush set and we have been receiving amazing feedback. We love that our brushes were a part of the most memorable moments of our clients like their wedding day, engagement party, New Year’s Eve, etc.,” she said.

The Riyadh-based entrepreneur, who has collaborated with international brands like Sephora, is currently working on developing three new products. “We want to venture into cosmetics in 2022 and launch a few products,” she teased. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by HESSA ALAJAJI (@han.alajaji)

As of now, her products are not manufactured in Saudi Arabia, but the beauty guru said she hopes to produce her brand in her home country one day. 

“We secure different samples from factories across the world like Italy, Korea, China, etc., and we proceed with the best quality we get. Quality is the determining factor not location nor the “made in” label,” she added. 

Alajaji said she has always had a passion for arts. “That passion grew with me as I got older and I started discovering makeup when I was in high school. I fell in love with it from the beginning as it allowed me to express my creativity and art,” she said.