Bollywood dresses the Lebanese way!

Increasing number of Bollywood stars have been sporting creations by Lebanese designers. Shagun Shah takes a look at this latest trend.

It may have been on the global radar for over a decade, but Lebanon’s fashion scene is having another moment. The country first stole international style headlines when designers like Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Reem Acra and Rabih Kayrouz began making couture gowns for Hollywood celebs. Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Rabih Kayrouz, a trio of Lebanese designers whose unique couture and ready-to-wear creations have taken the international fashion scene by storm.What is it like to live in a pressure cooker? If you want a real answer to that question, you might want to ask someone from Lebanon.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan rocked in Rami Kadi’s floral gown at Cannes 2016
Aishwarya Rai Bachchan rocked in Rami Kadi’s floral gown at Cannes 2016

Although it is one of the Middle East’s most beautiful countries – after all, Beirut was known as the “Paris of the Middle East” in the 1970s – it has also been ravaged by war for decades. Beyond their heritage, these designers are tied together by a common thread: their creations are magically spun from glittering embroidery and embellishment. They truly create magic! The Middle East is known for its artisans and craftsmanship. They work on embroideries and hand works of all sorts. In Lebanon, we they’re a salad bowl of so many communities and each one specialized in some craft: from the Armenians to the Druze and the Palestinians to people in Saida or Tripoli or Baalbeck. There is so much to explore. Plus, they’re survivors. So they teach themselves skills and professions to stay afloat and that is an advantage!

Elie Saab, the spiritual grandfather of this new generation of Lebanese designers, was the first to break out when Halle Berry wore one of his couture gowns to the 74th Academy Awards in 2002. Since then, his fame has opened doors for other designers like Georges Hobeika, Zuhair Murad, Reem Acra, Rabih Kayrouz, and Jean Louis Sabaji. Although they all represent the category of feminine eveningwear, they each have their own unique aesthetic and story to bring to the table.

Katrina Kaif vowed in Georges Chakra’s strapless gown during ‘Fitoor’ promotions
Katrina Kaif vowed in Georges Chakra’s strapless gown during ‘Fitoor’ promotions

Bollywood is closely connected to Lebanon fashion. Priyanka Chopra walked Oscars red carpet in Lebanese designer, Zuhair Murad’s, creation. She looked ravishing in a structured cage bustier mermaid dress in white silk tulle adorn with 3D shimmering climbing flowers. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan on the other hand, made her third and the last appearance of 2016 Cannes Film Festival during the premiere of ‘From the Land of The Moon (Mal De Pierres).’

The L’Oreal global ambassador chose to wear a delicate applique-detailed floral gown designed by Lebanese-American fashion designer Rami Kadi. Katrina Kaif during ‘Fitoor’ launch wowed in a win coloured strapless dress by Beirut-based Lebanese designer Georges Chakra. The well-crafted, glamorous garments that the designers create have become a celebrity hit. With a perfect combination of detailed volume and luxury, Bollywood clearly loves this trend.

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Bollywood’s top celebrity stylists speak:

Ashley Rebello: I think that these designers have done a fabulous job and that’s why people love them. Their designs are very appealing and the embroidery is just amazing. It looks a little closer to our designs, the fabric, the colour and embroidery. It feels close to home.

Hasnanin Patel: The other evening I met one of the head designers from one of these designers, the amazing thing is most of their work happens out of India. I think it’s amazing that this stamp of Lebanese designers with their out of world aesthetics, mind captivating precision, is actually a beautiful reflection of our own country and harmonious marriage between the two countries!

Sayali: I think this trend is definitely growing. As the styles coming from Arabic country, the look and the feel is very elite and royal. Beautifully embellished dresses are just not to wear but to experience beautifully handcrafted designs. Designers like Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Georges Hobeika’s outfits have been worn and loved by many Bollywood celebs.


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