When Arab fashion names rule the red carpet

When Arab fashion names rule the red carpet
Image Jessica Chastain in Zuhar Murad at Cannes

Here are the five Arab designers we think you should have you eye on

By Sujata Assomull

Published: Thu 15 Jun 2017, 8:41 PM

Last updated: Thu 15 Jun 2017, 10:45 PM

Names like Elie Saab and Zuhar Murad are firmly on the international fashion map. Be it the Oscars or the Cannes Film Festival, you know that at least one A-list celebrity is going to be wearing these labels. They have really paved the way for designers from this region to be seen as global. In the past months, Janelle Monae made her Oscar debut in a striking Elie Saab and at Cannes Film Festival, panelist Jessica Chastain made sure her final appearance in a white and red beaded Zuhar Murad. Aishwarya Rai Bachchan's choice of a Michael Cinco blue Cinderella style ball gown (a designer who Jenifer Lopez and Carrie Underwood have worn before) at Cannes placed her in many a best dressed list. The Indian actor also wore a black ensemble by Beirut-based label Ashi Studio. It seems that that Arab designers have finally arrived. From bags to shoes, you can now dress homegrown from head to toe. And here are the five Arab designers we think you should have you eye on.

DIMA AYED: The Lebanese-origin Dubai-based designer is already known with the city's fashion set. She launched her eponymous fashion label six years ago, while still working in the hospitality industry. Known for her curves, she makes clothes for real women, with real bodies and real lives- and that's why she has become the go-to designer for so many girls. The 37-year-old is the head of public relations and marketing at a luxury fashion ecommerce site, where she has launched her capsule line for summer. It includes drop waist dresses, open kaftans, metallic pajamas styled trouser suits and shirt dresses. (Prices start at around Dh1600, themodist.com)


Known for her evening clutches Lilian Afshar, started her line three years ago, and these are boxes of beauty. They blend the Middle East's love of geometry with a feel of European Art Deco. It's like holding sculpture in your hand. Known for use of arcylic, L'Afshar has become one of this region's cult brands. Among those who turn to this brand for that perfect finishing touch on the red carport are Sonam Kapoor, Queen Rania or Jordan and Kate Beckinsale. And for brides-to-be a personalised L'Afshar clutch with either your initials or wedding date inscribed on the cover of your bag makes for a special keepsake. (Prices start at around Dh3,000. For more information, www.lafshar.com)


One of the best selling accessory designers in Dubai, Amanda Navai is Iranian and has worked in the luxury industry for years. Her label Amanda Navai is known for its use of python leather. But another must have is one of her chokers. This style of neck piece made it fashion debut in the 1800s and for the last few seasons, the choker has proved that it is accessory that made a firm comeback. Chanel, Dior and Pucci all have chokers in their collection. Amanda Navai's has been spotted on the neck of beauty expert Mona Kattan, singer Lalya Kardan and fashion consultant Rosemin Manji. Handmade with brass and pearl details, on a python leather ribbon it combines edge with elegance. (Available at Harvey Nichols, Bloomingdale's and Boom and Mellow, Dh950)


The Dubai Mall's Level Shoes recently added the Saudi Arabian designer to their collection. While Sara Al Yahya shoes are made in Italy, her design studio is based in Riyadh and her design philosophy is rooted in Arab culture. At college, Al Yahya focused on interiors. A love of architecture is apparent in her shoe collection. The geometric mesh, a part of Islamic design culture is a recurring theme in all her Spring 2017 collection. With names like Sheikha and Maha, her sandals are proud of their Eastern heritage. She manages to marry The West's need of simplicity with touches of the East's love of opulence. She tests every prototype on her own feet before she sends them to production-so you are also ensured of comfort- what more can a girl ask for? (Prices start at around Dh3,000. For more, www.saraalyahya.com/)
THE BUDGET BUY: There is more to high street than Zara, Mango and H&M, there now a few homegrown labels worth checking out. Namshi.com is this region's go-to site for high street, and they have a handful of local private labels. Among these is ELLA, a brand that blends contemporary chic with elegance, it is all about the new modern take on modest dressing for the young girl about town. Their floral dresses are simply a must for summer, playful yet full of panache the best thing about them is that they are easy on the pocket.
(ELLA on www.namshi.com, Floral dresses around Dh129)


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