WEDDINGS

Exclusive: Sandra Mansour’s New Bridal Collection Is a Celebration of Hopes, Dreams, and the Beautiful Uncertainty of Life

Exclusive: Sandra Mansour’s New Bridal Collection Is a Celebration of Hopes, Dreams, and the Beautiful Uncertainty of Life

Photo: Aly Saab
For couturier Sandra Mansour, the past few years have been anything but easy. As was the case for creatives all over the globe, the onset of coronavirus brought with it a avalanche of challenges, and just as the world began navigating its way through a new era shadowed by a pandemic, Lebanon saw one of the worst disasters in its history—the Beirut blasts of August 4, 2020, which saw some of the city’s most-loved creative hubs suffer heartbreaking levels of damage. The statistics were astounding: Close to 200 dead, 6,000 casualties, and 300,000 people left homeless, and in Mansour’s case, the tragedy resulted in a maison engulfed in flames, years of hard work reduced to rubble. “I will always cherish my boutique’s location, with its marble mixed terrazzo floor and traditional characteristics,” the much-loved designer had shared with Vogue Arabia at the time. “The tragic events of August 4 will forever echo in my heart, but I will always keep on building and believing in the power of my dreams. That is the only way forth – to overcome and create light.”
Photo: Aly Saab
True to her words, Sandra Mansour has risen from the ashes like a phoenix, presenting the world this season with an unapologetically bold bridal collection that sings of victory. Named ‘Ad Astra Per Aspera’, the brand new line of ready-to-wear wedding ensembles celebrates the uncertainty of existence via intricate hand-and-thread embroidery, unexpected elements like pops of red and blazing gold suns, and artful drapes. “After the pandemic I wanted to create a collection filled with hope and dreams,” the designer shares with us during a special chat, describing how she leaned on “the delicacy of Lyon lace and lightness of tulle to pave the way for a lifetime of bliss amid a universe of doubt.” The result? A line of wedding ensembles that seem to have it all, from buttery soft gowns that stand the test of time, to sheer wedding numbers doused in glistening pastel 3D blooms, sharp ivory blazers, and when you least expect it, romantic scarlet pieces that demand to be admired.
Photo: André Wolff
With As Astra Per Aspera, Mansour paves the way to a brighter, lighter, gleeful future, rebuilt on a foundation stronger than before. Below, find out everything about the bridal collection that’s bound to make it to your dream wedding list.

Ad Astra Per Aspera — this is the inspiration behind your newest creations. How did you stumble upon this phrase, and what makes it so important to you? How does it translate in your bridal collection?
The inspiration behind this collection was from the Book of Miracles. The ready-to-wear bridal collection takes after its title, which denotes that our aspirations take us to the stars, to radiate a spectrum of subtlety and craftsmanship that spells out a new chapter in the story initiated by its Renaissance-inspired predecessor.
This is your first bridal collection after two difficult years. How has your journey through it been?
The past two years have been a challenge globally but a great learning curve. Deciding not to design a bridal collection during these times was a personal choice because bridal is unique. Bridal portrays peace, unity, love and hope, and for me now was the perfect time to bring it back.
Photo: André Wolff
Each collection you put forth tells a personal story. What’s the story behind this bridal collection?
This collection is dear to my heart mainly because the fabric and hand embroidery used were part of the unharmed inventory that were in the atelier on the day of the August 4 explosion. Giving them a new life was extremely emotional and a sign of resilience to me.
Second chances, miracles, and the idea of bliss are some of the themes that stand out in the pieces of Ad Astra Per Aspera. How did you reach these themes? What part of your personal life inspired you to create a collection that explores such deep points?
The Book of Miracles is the main inspiration for this collection and has allowed me to look at art in a different way. Living in the world we live in, with all of its changes, having an escape to dream is essential. While designing this collection I fully immersed myself in a different paradigm.
Photo: Tara Sakhi
This bridal collection spans from classic white wedding gowns to unexpected looks featuring gold suns and red tones. What’s your take on wearing unconventional hues on one’s wedding day?
Bridal for me is an expression of feeling, and ones feelings aren’t limited by colors. A bride wants to feel unique on her day and beauty isn’t conventional. I aspire to make any women feel special on her day.
How would you describe the Sandra Mansour bride?
The Sandra Mansour bride is an empowered woman, a woman who isn’t afraid to express herself, yet a women who is soft and sophisticated. There is no single description… She is a woman that looks at our collection and feels connected.
Photo: André Wolff
Your journey grew from a love for painting to now designing, and it seems like every creation tells a story. Is your designing process the same as when you create art? Do you share your visions and thoughts in the same way through both? What’s different?
Yes, creating a collection is like art. I don’t set boundaries to my designs. I like to explore the fabric, colors and patterns to create something that moves me. The difference is that both art and clothes are interlinked, yet designing a collection requires a further step, which is reconnecting to reality in order to make the dress wearable.
Art—and therefore fashion—has a knack for reaching out and leaving a lasting impression on everyone it touches. What’s the message you’d like to send with your designs?
My message would be for every women to feel that what she wears expresses and represents her. To know that there are no boundaries and no norms and that clothes are not simply pieces to wear, but art to connect with.
Lastly, what’s next for Sandra Mansour?
Many plans are in store for the brand, how they will manifest will show in time.
Photo: Aly Saab
Photo: André Wolff
Photo: André Wolff
Photo: Aly Saab
Photo: Aly Saab
Photo: Aly Saab
Photo: Aly Saab
Photo: André Wolff

The Secret Messages Hidden in Avril Lavigne’s Heart-Shaped, and Jennifer Lopez’s Green Engagement Rings

The Secret Messages Hidden in Avril Lavigne’s Heart-Shaped, and Jennifer Lopez’s Green Engagement Rings

Avril Lavigne and Mod Sun. Photo: Instagram.com/avrillavigne
In a week that saw the engagements of two much-loved singers—Avril Lavigne and Jennifer Lopez—also come two unique rings with jewelry inspiration in tow.
Photo: Instagram.com/avrillavigne
On Thursday, Canadian star Avril Lavigne announced her engagement to fellow musician Derek Ryan Smith, known as Mod Sun, who popped the question in Paris on March 27. Given that engagement rings with an emotional meaning have been a trend for long, and that Lavigne is known for her stand-out pop punk style, the ‘Sk8er Boi’ singer’s rock had to be just as special. While in the City of Love, against a romantic backdrop of the Eiffel Tower, Mod Sun asked Lavigne to marry him with a heart-shaped diamond ring. What’s more, the ring is also marked with a personalized inscription. “It has the words ‘Hi Icon’ engraved in it, which were the first words he ever said to me,” the 37-year-old told People. “And it has Mod + Avril on the inside. He knew from the very beginning I wanted a heart-shaped diamond because on the day we met, we had matching heart-shaped pavéd rings on. We’ve worn them every day since, so it’s only fitting to have a heart-shaped engagement ring. I love it so much.”
Photo: Instagram.com/avrillavigne
Mod Sun enlisted Lavigne’s friend and designer Caryn Alpert at the celebrity-loved XIV Karats for the custom-made ring. “He knew that he really wanted to do something with hearts and have the most dazzling, biggest, flawless heart-shaped ring for her,” Alpert told Page Six of the 5-carat stone set in a royal setting and featuring little diamond hearts on the band. “They also have a connection to France and royalty and he wanted it to look like a crown too, so there’s a lot of beautiful detail around the heart shape itself,” said the designer.

Major announcement!!!! https://t.co/G5oGxtX0z5 pic.twitter.com/HTIqbHMJ2M
— jlo 💍 (@JLo) April 9, 2022

While Lavigne’s sparkler made headlines for its distinct shape, Lopez’s did the same for its extraordinary color. The star announced her engagement to actor Ben Affleck for the second time, via her newsletter On the JLo, and showed off her ring which appears to be a 8.5ct natural green diamond set on a silver band. According to an older newsletter from Lopez, the color of the stone is particularly meaningful. “I always say the color green is my lucky color. Maybe you can remember a certain green dress,” the 52-year-old had written, referring to her viral moment in the iconic Versace jungle print dress. “I’ve realized there are many moments in my life where amazing things happened when I was wearing green.”
Lopez’s engagement ring as seen in the announcement video
Previous engagement rings received by Lopez have been equally noteworthy, with Affleck presenting her with a ring featuring a pink stone set between two diamond baguettes for their first engagement.
Read Next: Jennifer Lopez Reveals What Her Dream Proposal Looks Like

Crash Landing on You Star Son Yejin Wore an Elie Saab Bridal Gown for Her Wedding to Hyun Bin

Crash Landing on You Star Son Yejin Wore an Elie Saab Bridal Gown for Her Wedding to Hyun Bin

Hyun Bin wearing Tom Ford, and Son Yejin wearing Elie Saab. Photo: Instagram.com/vast.ent
Son Yejin and Hyun Bin have tied the knot today, as confirmed by the agencies of the Korean stars. The couple, known for playing each other’s love interest in the hit show Crash Landing on You, got married on March 31 in a private ceremony held in Aston House, Grand Walkerhill Hotel, Gwangjin-gu, Seoul.
The official announcement was made by Bin’s management, Vast Entertainment, via two photos of the couple, wearing different outfits in each. In one, Yejin can be seen wearing a gown picked from the Spring 2022 Bridal collection of Elie Saab, the Lebanese designer known for his dreamy pieces. This particular one from the couturier features a sleeveless, fully embellished bodice, lightly cinched at the waist with a delicate belt, and a puffy tulle skirt embroidered with a spattering of petals. Wearing minimal makeup, Yejin’s hair is tied back in an elegant low bun, with a few loose curls framing her face. The photo also sees Bin standing next to the smiling bride, holding her hand, and wearing a silk Tom Ford suit with a cream-colored blazer, black pants, cummerbund, and a bowtie.

For those who have kept up with the couple’s on-screen-turned-off-screen relationship, the selection of the princess-style wedding dress must come as no surprise, especially given Yejin’s announcement of their engagement. Posted on February 10, the actor’s confirmation of the happy news described their relationship as a fairytale-like story. “Boy meets girl, recognizes each other in the crowd, promises to build a future together…” read the post. “It happened so naturally… But, isn’t that destiny?”
Photo: Instagram.com/vast.ent
In the second, more formal, picture, the couple stand against a backdrop of pink and white roses, once again holding hands and wearing matching white ensembles. This time going for a modern design, Yejin is wearing the Camellia wedding dress from Vera Wang‘s Bridal Spring 2022 collection. While the top features a one-shoulder corseted bodice with wrappings of tulle, the skirt also comes with a delicate layer of the same fabric on top of lace. For this look, the bride swapped the bun for a half-up-half-down hairstyle adorned with a floral band.
Read Next: 17 Brand New Korean Series to Look Forward to on Netflix This Year

Karen Wazen and Lojain Omran Make a Case for Bright Colors and Feathers at Kris Fade’s Wedding

Karen Wazen and Lojain Omran Make a Case for Bright Colors and Feathers at Kris Fade’s Wedding

Karen Wazen. Photo: Instagram.com
What do you wear to a spring wedding at an outdoor venue? Karen Wazen and Lojain Omran may just have the perfect answer. The two attended the nuptials of Lebanese radio host Kris Fade earlier this week in Dubai, and served covetable wedding guest style at the same time.
Wazen and Elias Bakhazi. Photo: Instagram.com
Showing love to one of the season’s sought-after colors, Wazen was dressed in a lime green number from Taller Marmo—the Dubai-based brand known for its breezy kaftans and feather-trimmed pieces. This particular crepe dress worn by the mother-of-three featured a one-shoulder neckline and came with feathers that lined its kaftan-style bat sleeve all the way down to the floor-grazing hem. Allowing the electric-hued piece to be the star of her outfit, the entrepreneur chose to go without any accessories, but did bring in a little drama to her look with a smoky eye. Her hair too complemented the dress, and was worn down in romantic beachy waves, parted in the middle. Wazen was joined by husband Elias Bakhazi, who put a sweet spin on couple’s dressing by opting for a pair of sunglasses from his wife’s eyewear brand to go with his navy blue suit.
Lojain Omran with Ebraheem Al Samadi. Photo: Instagram.com
Feathers were favored by Omran as well, who also wore a dress in another one of the season’s much-loved shades. The Saudi presenter’s look for the weddings featured a hot pink form-fitted dress, with sleeves adorned with layers and layers of fine feathers. While her makeup for the evening matched her dress with the help of a bright pink lip, the rest of her ensemble leaned towards color-blocking and included a dark green handbag and dazzling jewelry with emeralds.
As summer weddings in Dubai start filling up calendars, you may want to bookmark these two ways of wearing saturated-hued and feather-trimmed dresses.
Read Next: Girly to Grunge: Karen Wazen Sported Two Surprisingly Different Outfits Within 24 Hours in New York

Mona Kattan Wore Two Beautiful White Gowns for Her Wedding to Hassan Elamin

Mona Kattan Wore Two Beautiful White Gowns for Her Wedding to Hassan Elamin

Mona Kattan and Hassan Elamin. Photo: Instagram.com/monakattan
It’s official, Mona Kattan is now married to Hassan Elamin. The happy couple tied the knot on a special date, February 22, 2022, after getting engaged in December 2021. The beautiful and intimate ceremony attended by some of the Kayali co-founder’s close friends, and sister Huda Kattan, took place at the opulent Raffles the Palm, Dubai.
Photo: Instagram.com/monakattan
Ahead of the wedding, the Iraqi-American beauty mogul couldn’t help but share her excitement with her Instagram followers, and started the day off with a quote by Polish-American pianist Arthur Rubinstein that resonated with her. “I have found that if you love life, life will love you back,” read the words inside a pink heart.

Dressed in a lavender silk lounge set and a delicate choker, the bride-to-be offered glimpses of the preparations—from decor including flowers in a heart shape in her room, to various congratulatory treats such as a tiered tray of white and gold cake, donuts, and macarons, and a pyramid of chocolate popcorn. As for her wedding cake, it kept with the white color theme of the ceremony and featured three tiers with lace detail embossed fondant, and a topper that showed the groom carrying the new bride in his arms.
Photo: Instagram.com/monakattan
Kattan brought in her friend and Dubai-based makeup artist Hindash for her wedding look: a soft glam with golden smoky eyes, and a nude pink lip. After only teasing her wedding dress, Kattan finally revealed the gown, which was a one-of-a-kind piece from Vera Wang, selected from luxury bridal boutique Esposa Privé. Kattan looked every bit the glowing bride in the off-shoulder number, which featured a fishtail silhouette and a floor-grazing hem. The long train made of tulle and adorned with pearls was attached with a glittering tiara on her head, which matched her necklace and chandelier earrings.
Photo: Instagram.com/monakattan
Given that she had six wedding dresses to choose from, Kattan slipped into another bespoke white number by Esposa Couture for the katb ketab ceremony. This one too was a figure-hugging dress with an off-shoulder neckline, but was made entirely of lace, and came with embellishment along its waistline. At the end of the night, the couple was seen joining guests for dinner—welcomed with cheers and sparklers—and were entertained by UAE band Noon, led by musician Abri.
Below, take a look at more pictures from Kattan and Elamin’s wedding.
Huda Kattan. Photo: Instagram.com/huda
Photo: Instagram.com/monakattan
Photo: Instagram.com/monakattan
Photo: Instagram.com/monakattan
Photo: Instagram.com/monakattan
Photo: Instagram.com/monakattan
Photo: Instagram.com/monakattan
Photo: Instagram.com/monakattan
Photo: Instagram.com/monakattan
Photo: Instagram.com/monakattan
Photo: Instagram.com/monakattan
Photo: Instagram.com/monakattan
Read Next: Mona Kattan on Having Immigrant Parents and Why Little Girls Shouldn’t Be Entered into Pageants

7 Major Engagement Ring Trends You Will See Everywhere in 2022

7 Major Engagement Ring Trends You Will See Everywhere in 2022

Over in Paris, Viltier’s offering is made for those on the hunt for a fabulously unique engagement ring. Even rings that were not designed with the intent of becoming an “engagement ring” – as such – have become the ideal choice. “We do have a ring that initially was not created thinking it would become an engagement ring, but it has been chosen as an engagement ring by many of our clients because it features a big, unique, coloured stone, which is a good alternative to diamonds,” says Thomas Montier Leboucher.
Hancocks London yellow diamond ring, Hancocks London
Gee Woods Asscher cut diamond ring with baguettes, The Cut London
Bear Brooksbank vintage Cartier diamond ring, The Cut London
Viltier Brulante ring, Viltier
Lily Kamper rainbow sapphire ring, The Cut London
Chaumet Liens D’Amour ring, Chaumet
Good things come in threes
Sometimes, less is more. On occasion, more is more. Whatever your preference, rings with multiple dazzling stones are becoming increasingly popular. Trio settings – a sparkling hat trick, if you will – are a timeless engagement ring style. Trilogy settings are entrenched in symbolism: the three stones represent the past, present and the future.
Modern takes on the classic three-stone engagement ring are a winning option for those who can’t pick between gemstones or want maximum impact. Be it a classic diamond flanked by sapphires or vice versa – or an offbeat rainbow stone arrangement – a band can never be too crowded.
Jessica McCormack mini diamond vine ring, Jessica McCormack
Ruberg diamond cluster ring, The Cut London
Conscious mindset
With any purchase, there comes a responsibility. Conversations regarding transparency, sourcing and sustainability have been brought to the fore of the jewelry conversation this year and 2022 will truly put this to the test. No longer can people buy with disregard for the environment or ethical practices involved in the making of their goods – and for jewelry, especially.
“If the brand doesn’t have a sustainability agenda or sustainability credentials, then for many consumers – millennials in particular – it will just not be viable,” McKinsey partner Alexander Thiel said on the McKinsey on Consumer and Retail podcast earlier this month.
Together with Tyler Harris – an associate McKinsey partner and expert in various fields, including jewelry – he conducted a 96-page report entitled State of Fashion: Watches and Jewellery, that details changes in consumer behavior in the watches and jewelry sector, specifically the “sustainability surge”.
Origin is more important than ever – customers are keen to know where the raw materials come from. “I’ve seen a marked increase in enquires for lab-grown diamonds, as well as a lot of clients wanting to reset inherited or heirloom diamonds,” says Baxter. “If clients are unsure about lab-grown, I always suggest finding an antique diamond as a more sustainable alternative.”
Thelma West rebel rose ring, Thelma West
Viltier Scintillante ring, Viltier
Toi et moi is a shape to keep an eye on
Toi et moi rings – a coiled band, with two gemstones nestled side by side where it meets around the finger – dominated the market in 2021. Emily Ratajkowski and Ariana Grande were responsible for the toi et moi hype, but it’s been a romantic style for some time. Napoleon Bonaparte proposed to Joséphine de Beauharnais with one in 1796 – a gesture that inspired Chaumet’s Joséphine Duo Éternal collection. “The symbolism of two stones in one ring is full of romance,” says Baxter, who has witnessed piqued interest in the style.
Toi et moi engagement ring styles have grown in popularity. Jemma Wynne
Bespoke pear and emerald cut diamond open ring, Jemma Wynne
Toi et moi ring, Katkim
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk 
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17 Gorgeous (and Comfortable) Block-Heeled Wedding Shoes That Are Perfect For Modern Brides

17 Gorgeous (and Comfortable) Block-Heeled Wedding Shoes That Are Perfect For Modern Brides

Amsale Bridal Spring/Summer 2021
If you’re currently planning your wedding and your venue includes some tricky terrain (cobblestones, lawn, parquet), block-heeled wedding shoes are the answer to your sartorial prayers. Regardless of your style of dress (from romantic tiers of tulle to a simple minimalist slip) or the level of formality, the block heel exudes all the elegance necessary to see you from “I do” to first dance.
If you’re a fan of flats, there are plenty of low-heeled offerings that will provide the same sense of comfort but with a gentle uplift. Although if it’s height you’re after, opt for a higher block style safe in the knowledge that you can dance the night away wobble free. The addition of crystals or pearls will add just enough sparkle to delight and dazzle, while the simplicity of a sleek strappy sandal never fails to win our vote.
Shop Vogue’s edit of 17 block-heeled wedding shoes that will last long past the big day, here.
GucciSlide sandals with horsebit, £610, available at Gucci.com.
Loeffler RandallCamellia pleated bow heels, from £295, available at Loefflerrandall.com
Miu MiuCrystal-embellished patent-leather shoes, £830, available at Matchesfashion.com.
ReformationEleonora slingback block heel sandal, £228, available at Thereformation.com.
GinaUtah embellished leather sandals, £665, available at Selfridges.com.
Manolo BlahnikSatin Martamod sandals, £795, available at Harrods.com.
Emmy LondonFlorence bridal shoes with satin bows, £465, available at Emmylondon.com.
Prada65 patent-leather sandals, £515, available at Net-a-porter.com.
Jimmy ChooAmara mules with pearl embellishment, £725, available at Jimmychoo.com.
Dear FrancesTye mules, £395, available at Dearfrances.com.
Russell & BromleyBlock heel sandals, £215, available at Russellandbromley.co.uk.
Valentino GaravaniRoman stud sandals, £750, available at Valentino.com.
René CaovillaChandelier sandals with crystals, £1,130, available at Renecaovilla.com
AeydeAnni leather sandal, £225, available at Aeyde.com.
Roger VivierBikiviv strass mules, £660, available at Rogervivier.com.
AquazzuraMoondust sandals, £755, available at Aquazzura.com.
Malone SouliersSana leather slingback sandals, £445, available at Matchesfashion.com.
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk 
Read Next: This Lebanese Footwear Designer Has Found a Fan in Megan Fox

Here’s Why Princess Diana Never Wore Hats on Her Visits with Children

Here’s Why Princess Diana Never Wore Hats on Her Visits with Children

Photo: Getty
The reason why Princess Diana didn’t wear a headpiece in her visits to children has been revealed, and it is a heartwarming one. Claudia Acott Williams, curator of Kensington Palace‘s new exhibition, Royal Style in the Making on June 3, stated the reason as “you can’t cuddle a child in a hat.”
According to Williams, the late Princess of Wales also abandoned the royal protocol of wearing gloves because she liked to hold hands when visiting people or shake hands and have direct contact.
The exhibition in the London palace, showcasing some of Princess Diana’s most memorable outfits to commemorate her passing 20 years later, features the sketch of a blue floral dress she wore when visiting children or hospitals. Designed by David Sassoon, it became known as her “caring dress” because she knew that children loved the bright, floral pattern. Williams adds that the Princess wore big costume jewelry because “she would pick children up and they would play with it.”
Photo: Getty
“She understood how what you were wearing could really convey warmth… it could reinforce hierarchy or it could undermine hierarchy and create more of a relationship,” says Williams.
Matthew Storey, curator at the Historic Royal Palaces, says that the example “really illustrates just how carefully she considered the people she would meet when selecting outfits for her many public engagements.”
Also included in the exhibition is Princess Diana’s wedding dress, loaned by her sons Prince William and Prince Harry, which is on public display for the first time in more than 25 years. The gown, which the late Princess Diana wore to marry Prince Charles at London’s St Paul’s Cathedral on July 29, 1981, was designed by David and Elizabeth Emanuel. It has a fitted bodice overlaid with panels of antique Carrickmacross lace originally belonging to Queen Mary.
Photo: Getty
The dress is on display with the princess’s 7.6-meter sequin-encrusted train, which is the longest in British royal history to date.
The exhibition will be closed on Thursday, July 1, on what would have been Princess Diana’s 60th birthday.
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