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Lebanese Designers Double the Wow Factor Dose at Paris Haute Couture Week

Get ready to be bedazzled by what these top four Lebanese designers created for the most coveted runway.


Zuhair Murad

Taking part in Paris Haute Couture Week means you have made it to the most select circle of designers. And with designers having to meet criteria approved by the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture, like designing made-to-order, having a workshop in Paris and employing at least 20 full-time technical people, it’s definitely not an easy accomplishment. Yet in recent years, tremendously talented Lebanese designers have been making exceptional headway in the elite club, upping the region’s status in the fashion world.

Here’s how Elie Saab, Georges Hobeika, Georges Chakra and Zuhair Murad raised the Middle Eastern fashion industry’s profile at Paris Haute Couture autumn/winter 2017-2018.

A Medieval Fairytale at Elie Saab

Elie Saab

Medieval magic reigned during the Elie Saab show, where valiant princesses and queens who are out to conqueror served as inspiration. The Lebanese designer’s show notes talked about “fallen kings, defeated by a fearless and heroic sisterhood . . . bright and brave warrior queens they were, are, and forever will be.” Just imagine “Game of Thrones” and the strong females on the show like Sansa Stark.


Elie Saab

Despite the empowering message behind the collection, there were loads of feminine touches with long- flowing capes, encrusted bodices, diadems, Lady of Shalott-style jewelled headbands, pearls, diamante, sequins and gold embroidery. Unlike other designers, Saab stuck to long evening dresses fit for any grand occasion, and there was an array of them, whether bustier, peplum or straight column with a crisscross front. A-line skirts, ornately embroidered jackets and trousers also featured in the beautiful collection. The couturier, the only non-European foreign member of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture who has dressed A-listers like Angelina Jolie and Beyoncé, used materials like velvet, silk, mousseline, satin, lace, fur and tulle. When it came to the colour scheme, there were jewel tones like ruby red and forest green, as well as shades of blue, pink and black.  


Elie Saab


Elie Saab

An Ode to Andalucia at Georges Hobeika

Georges Hobeika

Lebanese couture star Georges Hobeika presented a sophisticated and flamboyant fairytale come to life collection, with glamorous gowns sure to catch A-list celebrities’ attention. The collection had a vibrant energy, which is inspired by Andalucía and the great architectural styles that have been coming out of the region throughout the ages. Just imagine those majestic castles and fortified enclosures in Granada, Cordoba or Seville.


Georges Hobeika

The models sashayed along majestically in the long dresses that seductively showed off the arms with dropped shoulders, cleavage with deep necklines and legs with high slits. The dresses or skirts, jumpsuits and pants were often accompanied by enchanting capes and, as we are talking about the land that brought us the Flamenco, graceful boleros.


Georges Hobeika

The celebrated designer, whose bright and exquisite couture designs are often donned by Middle Eastern royals and celebrities like Aishwarya Rai, chose colourful and evocative patterns inspired by nature, paisleys, ruffles, generous pleats, large buttons, sparkling crystals, decorative cuffs and fine shaped collars to help decorate the pieces. Plus, aerial lace and embroidery evoked the moucharabieh windows that illuminate the interior of the Alcazaba.


Georges Hobeika

The colour selection was varied with shimmering cool hues like tan and light pink or darker shades like royal purple, dark burgundy and midnight blue. Exquisitely crafted bags and bright jewels, which featured floral and arabesque motifs, elevated Hobeika’s stylistic exploration.


Georges Hobeika


Georges Hobeika


Georges Hobeika

Modern Sophistication at Georeges Chakra

Georges Chakra

The tone of Beirut-based Georges Chakra’s collection was set by the first dress; the entirely sequined piece was youthful and sexy with colour blocks. The collection seemed to be made for every self-assured and graceful woman with a fearless side. However, Chakra made sure she is still in touch with her romantic side.


Georges Chakra

The modern and stylish silhouettes included short and long asymmetrical skirts, well-defined corsets, ruffled skirts, ballerina styles and draping. Lebanese Chakra, who has been showing his couture collections at Paris Fashion Week since the mid-90, opted for materials like glistening velvet, flimsy mousseline and embroidered tulle.


Georges Chakra

For decorative accents, the Lebanese maestro went for embroidered flowers, crystals, Swarovski stones and feathers, which highlighted the sleeves or trains of the mysterious pieces.


Georges Chakra

Additionally, we saw bejewelled thigh-high boots that added more drama and sophistication to the looks. The hues leaned more on the darker side with Prussian blue, imperial green and violet making their marks. Additionally, there were colours like amber and burnt orange and touches of black, white, bronze and silver.


Georges Chakra


Georges Chakra


Georges Chakra


Georges Chakra


Georges Chakra

A Re-Creation of the Gibson Girl at Zuhair Murad

Zuhair Murad

Zuhair Murad’s ethereal gowns seemed to come straight out of a fable thanks to their elegant, floating designs. The Lebanese designer was inspired by the Gibson Girls of the early 20th century. To get a clearer idea, the Gibson Girl is an iconic representation of the beautiful, socially confident and independent American woman, famously created by American illustrator Charles Dana Gibson.


Zuhair Murad

Murad, who has dressed red carpet celebrities like Celine Dion and Jennifer Lopez, came up with some spectacular surprises. He introduced the thistle, an Edwardian symbol of devotion, on a long chiffon dress and matching silk cape and as a shimmering floral appliqué on a light pink sheer dress.


Zuhair Murad

Plus, his love of make-believe was apparent in the glamorous creations that combined classy embellishment with daring features like low-cut necklines, see-through Victorian-esque designs and plunging backs. The elegant gowns mostly came in powdery pastel shades and some black, while floral tiaras were another highlight of the show. 


Zuhair Murad

The designer included some leather and fur accents and continued his love affair with sheer styles and extravagant embroidery. “When you see the dresses of this collection, you feel that it’s maybe heavy or that there’s a lot of embroidery or ornament, but in reality it’s very light,” the designer said while speaking about the collection in an interview with “Women’s Wear Daily.” “Women now want to fly, want to feel comfortable, sensual and happy.” Enough said!


Zuhair Murad


Zuhair Murad


Zuhair Murad

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