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

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

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

GRAMMYs

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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.

 


The MENA fashion designers dressing up social causes

Updated 24 August 2019
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The MENA fashion designers dressing up social causes

  • How designers in the MENA region are making a different kind of fashion statement
  • The ethical fashion movement is spreading to the Middle East and North Africa

CAIRO: Fashion is about far more than just trendy outfits. The growing demand for ethical clothing is one example of how designers are seeking to leave a legacy beyond the runway.

The ethical fashion movement is spreading to the Middle East and North Africa. Recent initiatives include Talahum by UAE-based designer Aiisha Ramadan, who created coats that transform into sleeping bags for disadvantaged and refugee communities living without proper shelter.

In 2016, Cairo hosted ICanSurvive, an event to commemorate World Cancer Day. As part of the project, 32 cancer survivors were paired with fashion designers to help them create the outfit of
a lifetime.

“I consider this to be one of my biggest achievements,” said Egyptian couturier Ahmed Nabil, 28, one of the volunteers at ICanSurvive. “I still can’t let go of the moment I saw her crying from happiness when she got to wear her outfit at the event.”

Though a transformational experience for Nabil, this was not his first attempt at thought-provoking designs. He was only 23 when he launched his company, Nob Designs, in 2014 to begin a journey of exploration by designing clothes for unconventional causes and experimental concepts.

The company sells a diverse set of fashion pieces with designs that aim to inspire conversation. Nabil’s creations are much like art pieces at a gallery, but instead of being displayed on canvas, they are exhibited on t-shirts, tops, dresses and abayas.

His latest collection combines street fashion inspired by underground culture with Arabic calligraphy. The Halal Project endeavors to blur the lines between conservative and edgy to demonstrate that fashion designs can be accessible to anyone.

“It’s all about the idea of accepting one another regardless of differences,” Nabil said. “My main aim for this project is a call for all people to peacefully coexist.”

Nabil added that the shift towards tolerance is not something that just the general public needs to work on. Fashion designers themselves are sometimes biased in their perceptions.

Many millennial designers, particularly in Egypt, remain wary of exploring modest fashion, despite the trend’s rising popularity. Sometimes it is because they want to avoid defining themselves as conservative instead of being considered modern and trendy.

Fellow Egyptian designer Sara Elemary, who has been running her Sara Elemary Designs label for nearly a decade, agrees.

“Modesty is a big thing in Egypt. I can’t understand why they are neglecting it,” she said. “A woman doesn’t have to be in a headscarf to wear modest clothing. There are so many famous designers for whom modesty plays a big role in
their work.”

Meanwhile, events such as Dubai Modest Fashion Week have been promoting the concept and encouraging budding designers in the region to consider this trending domain.

“I believe that there’s a problem with modest fashion, but over the past two years, that issue has started to diminish as designers have incorporated more modest designs in their collections,” Nabil said.

The next step for him is getting into the couture domain with his long-awaited project, Nob Couture. The look of the new collection is still a mystery, but he seems determined to continue sending messages and starting discussions through his designs, which he said are inspired by his life experiences.

As for designers in the region, the time is ripe for them to start supporting the causes they believe in through their work. Whatever topic or fashion style they decide to pursue, they need to be fearless in triggering conversation in the Arab world with their creations.