Tourism chiefs salute fashion designer for holding son’s wedding in Lebanon

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Elie Saab. (Reuters file photo)
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Elie Jr. and Christina Mourad. (Social media)
Updated 23 July 2019

Tourism chiefs salute fashion designer for holding son’s wedding in Lebanon

  • The tourism leader said the situation was to do with Lebanese ego, but he emphasized that wedding parties held in Lebanon could be better than those staged abroad on all levels

BEIRUT: Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab has been hailed by tourism chiefs for staging his son’s lavish wedding reception on home turf.
The influential Syndicate of Owners of Restaurants, Cafés, Night-Clubs and Pastries in Lebanon saluted Saab “for holding the wedding party of his son, Elie Jr., and the Lebanese bride, Christina Mourad, in Lebanon instead of abroad, as do tens of Lebanese leaders and lords.
“Holding wedding parties abroad has deprived the tourism sector as well as other sectors in Lebanon of important revenues that can revive the national economy,” the syndicate said.
The nonprofit body that represents restaurateurs, added that the glittering event had “turned the country into a huge wedding attended by more than 3,000 guests from inside and outside Lebanon.
“People shared their joy on social media, communicating Lebanon’s image of civilization and tourism to the world. This wedding filled Lebanese hotels, restaurants and nightclubs and stirred the economic cycle for more than 10 days before and after the wedding. We salute the man who loves peace and Lebanon a thousand times.”
Jean Abboud, president of the Association of Travel and Tourist Agents in Lebanon (ATTAL), told Arab News: “The syndicate’s stance comes in response to a phenomenon that emerged a few years ago. Distinguished people have been holding lavish weddings for their children abroad, where they spend millions of dollars. This has not only been done by politicians, but also businessmen and senior employees, as if it has become a trend or an added value.”
The tourism leader said the situation was to do with Lebanese ego, but he emphasized that wedding parties held in Lebanon could be better than those staged abroad on all levels. “We have outstanding wedding planners who get employed to plan weddings abroad,” he added.
Abboud pointed out that the tourist season in Lebanon this year had so far been promising with the number of visitors from GCC countries, and especially Saudi Arabia, up on 2018 figures. He added that the 2019 draft budget approved by Parliament last week had not put “any burdens on the tourism sector.”
Chairman of the Hotel Owners Association in Lebanon, Pierre Al-Ashkar, estimated the cost of wedding parties held by Lebanese people abroad to be around $400 million, including hotel accommodation, purchases and transportation, in addition to the expenses of the wedding itself.
He said: “There is no longer a difference between politicians and businessmen who choose to hold their children’s wedding parties abroad. It is true that these weddings are no more than a few hundred, but their expenses are huge and, therefore, deprive Lebanon of this money.”
Al-Ashkar pointed out that the number of tourists choosing Lebanon this summer had risen, highlighting a significant 30 percent increase in the proportion of visitors from Europe.
“However, the number of tourists from GCC countries, especially Saudi Arabia, has not been as we had wished,” he added.
“Maybe this is because these tourists, who have not been visiting Lebanon for five to seven years, now have business in other countries or investments in tourist places outside of Lebanon, especially as some countries now offer incentives to attract tourists carrying certain passports and residence permits.”


Fashion’s bad boy Jean Paul Gaultier bids farewell to the catwalk

Updated 17 January 2020

Fashion’s bad boy Jean Paul Gaultier bids farewell to the catwalk

  • The affable Frenchman brought an often elusive sense of fun to the world of fashion
  • His reputation as a provocateur brought him both fame and contempt from other fashion designers

PARIS: French designer Jean Paul Gaultier, known for dressing stars like Madonna and who cultivated an irreverent image as the industry’s “bad boy,” said on Friday that a fashion show in Paris next week would be his last.
Gaultier, 67, did not detail what would happen to his namesake brand, owned by private Spanish fashion and fragrance group Puig, only saying in a brief statement that it would continue to exist.
“I will be celebrating my 50th anniversary in fashion with a major Haute Couture fashion show,” Gaultier said in short statement.
“Be reassured that Gaultier Paris will go on, with a new project which I am the instigator, and that will be revealed to you very soon,” he said.
His fashion firm could not be reached for further comment on whether Gaultier would be appointing a successor as creative chief, or what his plans were.
The affable Frenchman, who will be celebrating his 50-year-career in the industry with his swansong runway show next week, brought an often elusive sense of fun to the world of fashion.
Some of his tongue-in-cheek collections in recent years included one themed around cigarettes, which he presented as a dig at overly moralistic attitudes.
Gaultier, who has also designed costumes for films and co-presented cult television show Eurotrash, has long been known for pushing boundaries in fashion, blurring the lines between men’s and women’s clothing.
One of the few household names in high fashion, Gaultier emerged as one of the leading young talents in French fashion during the early 1980s, shaking up the establishment with wild designs drawn from street culture, punk and the club scene.
His reputation as a provocateur brought him both fame and contempt from other fashion designers. He is best known for the sailor-style, white and blue striped tops that Gaultier often wears himself.
In recent years he had dropped more regular collections, focusing on producing one-of-a-kind ranges presented during Haute Couture fashion weeks in Paris.
His brand still produces perfumes.
Gaultier made his first steps in the industry as an apprentice of French designer Pierre Cardin in the 1970s, going on to present his first individual collection in 1976.
He later also worked as a designer for Hermes, which used to own a large stake in his label before selling it to Puig in 2011.