Arab designers hit the right note on music’s big night

Lady Gaga at the 2019 Grammy Awards. (AFP)
Updated 11 February 2019

Arab designers hit the right note on music’s big night

DUBAI: There was wild, there was wacky and then there was Cardi B — the Grammys parade of often out-there fashion kicked off in a downpour Sunday in Los Angeles and some of the music industry’s finest opted for looks from the Middle East while rapper Cardi B stole the night with her mind boggling gown.

Cardi B had a spot of trouble walking in a sculpted look that evoked a mermaid in the half shell, pearls included, the Associated Press reported. It was hatched in 1995 by Thierry Mugler and featured a sculpted shell that erupted from the rapper’s waist.


@manfredthierrymugler @muglerofficial #MuglerArchives @gismondi1754 @kollincarter

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US singer Bebe Rexha wore a voluminous scarlet gown by Bahraini label Monsoori, while up-and-coming star Ella Mai opted for a billowing blue gown by Lebanon-based Ashi Studio. For her part, Ashlee Simpson wore a feathered jumpsuit by Lebanon’s Georges Chakra in a silver and nude palette.



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Lady Gaga turned to the maestro of the moment, Hedi Slimane. The creative head of Celine, who is of Tunisian descent, designed a stunning sequined look with a structured frill that the Grammy winning star chose for her big night.

Michelle Obama also popped up in a metallic outfit onstage, while Jennifer Lopez donned a huge white bejeweled hat and figure-hugging gown.

The Lopez topper pointed to a popular accessory of the evening — statement hats. It had a brim for miles and was embellished to match her dress of the same shade. She appeared relaxed in her Ralph & Russo look as she posed for photographers with boyfriend Alex Rodriguez, who wore a multicolored dress jacket.

Katy Perry, meanwhile, arrived in a pink Balmain confection that prompted comparisons to a cake topper.


@balmain : @johnshearer

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The former first lady’s look was custom by Sachin & Babi. Lending a hand opening the show, she earned a rousing welcome from the crowd in Los Angeles, the Associated Press noted in its report.

There were attendees dressed as butterflies, neon looks and several outfits with long capes in unusual places, on jumpsuits and short dresses. Never shy fashion-wise, Janelle Monae also wore a wide-brim hat, pairing it with a short dress that had high pointed shoulders, courtesy of Jean Paul Gaultier.

Top nominee Kacey Musgraves wore an ethereal belted gown in a nude hue with a daring fan-like bodice, by Valentino, while Camila Cabello appeared cozy in a long-sleeve sparkler of a bright pink gown with a high neck and open back, done by Armani Prive.

Purple was an It shade of the evening. Grammy winner H.E.R. sparkled in the collar in a gown made for her by Coach, with sunglasses in the same shade.

“It makes me feel like I’m shinin’. I feel like a star,” she said.

It was certainly a sparkling evening to remember, with metallic finishes, sequins and fine embellishment proving to be as popular as ever.


A tribute to late photographer Irving Penn goes on show in Beirut

Updated 13 February 2019

A tribute to late photographer Irving Penn goes on show in Beirut

DUBAI: The Beirut-based Mina Image Center is hosting a showcase of works by late American fashion photographer Irving Penn, marking the first time the iconic artist’s snaps have been show in the region.
Set to run until April 28, after it kicked off on Jan. 16, the exhibition focuses on ­­ Irving Penn (1917-2009), who is recognized for his high fashion images and for his portraits of the artists, writers and celebrities who defined the 20th century.
The exhibition in Beirut is titled “Untroubled” and draws inspiration from an exhibition organized by the Pinault Collection in 2014 at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.
The exhibition explores Penn’s technical and artistic commands — a set of self-devised rules he is famous for scrupulously sticking to in order to create almost flawless images.
Photos showcased in the exhibition hail from four decades of Penn’s repertoire, but rather than arrange them chronologically, the curators in Beirut chose to loosely arrange them by subject matter.
Trained as a painter, with photography as a side hobby, Penn studied commercial art and was hired in 1943 as assistant to Alexander Liberman, art director of Vogue magazine. The photographer soon established himself as the most innovative professional in the field and went on to produce his own distinctive style.
His photographs often feature simple backdrops of paper or canvas and tend to focus on the subject — be it a celebrity or a cigarette butt — with an almost scientific, unflinching glare.
“The image is decontextualized, intense and demanding of attention,” the Mina Image Center notes on its website.
Penn was known to experiment with printing techniques and investigated innovative ways to produce photographs throughout the 1960s, including platinum-palladium printing.
Practiced in the early 20th century, the platinum process created an image that is virtually unlimited in its tonal variation. The aesthetic possibilities of the platinum printing process inspired Penn to revisit earlier work and re-print images in a range of styles. The constant reworking of his photographs formed the basis of Penn’s creative approach, according to the Mina Image Center.
The Mina Image Center is a non-profit organization that aims to showcase photography and artworks from the region and around the world in its space in Beirut.