Among the many stars walking the 75th Cannes Film Festival, Fatima AlBanawi stood out by serving up a brilliant style moment at the Top Gun: Maverick premiere. The Saudi actor and filmmaker represented the region wearing a showstopping piece by Lebanese couturier Rami Kadi, styled by fellow Saudi entrepreneur and consultant Rawan Kattoa.
The custom hand-made piece by Rami Kadi was a form-flattering white silk chiffon gown embroidered with holographic threads that caught the light and camera flashes in all the right ways. On the red carpet, AlBanawi was seen working the cameras by tossing around the dress’ long cape, which came with feathers. While the former Vogue Arabia cover star chose to go sans necklace to best show off the dress’ off-shoulder neckline, the rest of her bling came via dainty Cartier earrings and rings. AlBanawi’s beauty look for the occasion was equally remarkable, as she sported a fresh, tousled bob with complementing glowy skin, and a hint of a smoky eye.
After having started her Cannes Film Festival red carpet appearances on a high note, the star is sure to follow it up with another look worth keeping an eye out for.
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Ramadan brings with it a slew of modest dressing inspiration, and this week did not disappoint. While Tunisian favorite Dorra Zarrouk took over our feeds in a traditional jebba in Saudi Arabia, Rym Saidi has us falling in love with jewel tones in a sapphire blue kaftan for Bulgari’s iftar night. And if you needed any more sartorial guidance for the Holy Month, Vogue Arabia’s kaftan round-up has all the inspiration you may need.
Oversees, one of Instagram’s favorite moments was the wedding of Nicola Peltz and Brooklyn Beckham, which took place at the bride’s oceanfront Palm Beach estate. Of course, the new Mrs Beckham’s Valentino couture gown (which came with a show-stopping train) was a noteworthy pick, but mother-of-the-groom Victoria Beckham had her own show-stopping moment when she walked down the aisle with husband David Beckham in a custom-made liquid silver gown. As per British Vogue, “The fabric was inspired by the reflection of the moonlight on the ocean at night.” Beckham wore the all-eyes-on-me piece with a diamond necklace, which used the very stone David had gifted her at Brooklyn’s christening.
As the week progressed, fashion enthusiasts got another interesting piece of news to ponder—the reveal of the Met Gala 2022 theme. This year, for “In America: An Anthology of Fashion,” the dress code will be gilded glamour, white-tie. Another fashion celebration that was worth noting was the Fashion Institute of Technology’s annual awards gala, which honored the likes of Serena Williams, and raised over $1.5 million. Over in Greece, designer Rami Kadi had a special moment of his own, showcasing a series of eclectic looks from his Lucid Algorithms collection at Athens Fashion Week.
For more fashion updates from this week, start scrolling.
Kate Middleton in Alexander McQueen. Photo: Instagram.com/dukeandduchessofcambridge
If there’s one thing that we all know, it’s that Zendaya never ceases to impress on the red carpet, whether she’s wearing a gown to a premiere or just being her unapologetic self on a day off. This week, the CFDA fashion icon and award-winning actor lived up to our expectations once again at the Euphoria premiere. Zendaya stole the show when she arrived wearing a vintage strapless black and white striped Valentino dress that paid tribute to iconic ’90s supermodel Linda Evangelista. To put it simply, she made red carpet history.
Not too long after, Her Majesty Queen Rania was also seen making a sartorial statement this week. Known for her modest, yet always fashion-forward ensembles, the Queen stepped out in a traditional Jordanian keffiyeh in order to meet the country’s youth on January 11. Because what better way to show one’s appreciation for their country than by donning its traditional attire with pride?
On the other side of the globe, another lady from the royal family was also seen having her share of fun playing dress up. The Duchess of Cambridge commissioned Alexander McQueen’s Sarah Burton to make three custom ballgowns for her 40th birthday portraits. The pictures captured by Paolo Roversi showed a beaming Kate Middleton painting a picture of elegance in her dreamy McQueen creations.
What better way to wrap up this week’s hottest Instagram posts than with a look back at its biggest fashion launches? The week kicked off with the Yeezy Gap collection engineered by Balenciaga. ICYMI, rapper and designer Kanye West is joining forces with the creative director of Balenciaga (Demna Gvasalia) to work on a special project at Gap that aims “to create utilitarian fashion for all.”
Another exciting venture that caught our eye was the playful Balmain x Barbie collaboration, followed by Rami Kadi‘s upcoming line titled ‘Lucid Algorithms’, which marks the designer’s first human-computer collaboration. Scroll for a closer look at all the action that went down over the past seven days.
Photo: Courtesy of Rami Kadi
Once more, Lebanese designer Rami Kadi is stepping out of the norm and embarking on an elusive project that pays tribute to building connections between the human and computer mind. A year before Covid-19 stormed the world, Kadi was the first-ever Middle Eastern designer to present a cyber fashion show. This time, his work stretches way beyond that. His new collection, ‘Lucid Algorithms’ demonstrates the first ever human-computer collaboration of its scale, and is reshaping the stigmas around the relationship between reality and the digital sphere.
Kadi often challenges design barriers by working on new concepts that have never been applied before. For ‘Lucid Algorithms’, the designer conceptualized the main elements that would create the basis of his new line, then fed them into a special algorithm, understanding how the artificial mind breaks down physical beauty. The collection of 40 ensembles features the visuals that were co-created with the algorith.
Rami Kadi’s digital-physical collab will be showcased at Paris Fashion Week, during which he will also conduct a private viewing of his SS 2022 collection, that releases on January 25. This private viewing highlights how the gap between traditional couture and modern age technology can be bridged.
For the house of Rami Kadi, 2022 is all about digital innovations. In case you missed it, the Lebanese designer will also be releasing his first NFT collection on February 2. This collection will act as the first step towards a new journey that the house plans on following in the following years, and reflects its commitment to the metaverse. The launch will follow the mint by a week, where 120 tokens will be available to purchase on Rami-kadi.com, making him the first designer to launch a collection on the Cardano blockchain.
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In honor of Aishwarya Rai Bachchan’s 48th birthday today (November 1), we pay homage to the Bollywood beauty (who somehow looks better every year) by rounding up her most memorable fashion moments while wearing designs by regional couturiers.
Every year during the Cannes film festival, the Indian star gravitates towards glamorous creations from the likes of Lebanese designer Elie Saab and Dubai-based Michael Cinco. Who can forget in 2009 when the Bride and Prejudice actor stepped out on the red carpet wearing a grey, one-shouldered gown by Elie Saab? Indeed, it’s still one of her most unforgettable fashion moments nearly 10 years later.
The mother of nine-year-old daughter Aaradhya also shows her appreciation for young emerging talents from the Arab world, such as Lebanese couturier Rami Kadi, whose elegant designs she wore to the Cannes Film Festival on separate occasions. Memorably, at the 2016 edition of the cinematic event, the former Miss World winner stole the spotlight in a flower-embellished, off-the-shoulder gown by the Beirut-based designer. She would go on to turn heads in one of his creations again, in 2018, when she stepped out in front of the cameras donning a sequin-embellished, strapless gown that proved her status as the Queen of Cannes. For her appearance in 2019, she opted for an embossed holographic laser leather number by Lebanese couturier Jean-Louis Sabaji. The fluorescent gown caught sunlight in all the right ways, changing colors from gold and orange into green and yellow.
In the gallery above, we take a look at the Bollywood star’s fiercest fashion moments while donning creations by Middle Eastern designers on the red carpet. Happy birthday, Aishwarya!
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Since starting his design career in 2011, Rami Kadi has become one of the best known Lebanese designers to represent the region on a global scale. With his dazzling creations becoming public event go-tos, he has dressed multiple models, actors, and A-list stars walking the red carpet. Think Tunisian actor Dorra Zarrouk‘s iconic pale bedazzled dress at the Cannes film festival this year, or Aishwarya Rai Bachchan‘s crystallized off-shoulder number at the 71st edition of the festival, with an interesting amalgamation of sharp-fit structures and flows.
Who can forget the time Lebanese singer Myriam Fares was in Dubai at a royal wedding donning a pink, floral embellished, off-the-shoulder gown with a voluminous overskirt signed Rami Kadi from his May Blossom capsule collection? Or the Oscars 2019 afterparty when Kendall Jenner stepped out in what might be her boldest look, wearing a barely-there gown for the occasion? Kadi, the brainchild behind the daring creation, did not disappoint, with a cut-out halterneck and sky-high slits on either side, making it one of the best looks of the night. The glittering number had first appeared on the designer’s last Spring 2019 couture collection.
The UNEP Goodwill ambassador also counts the likes of Beyoncé and Jennifer Lopez as fans in his ever-growing list of VIP clientele and has marked 10 impressive years in couture. In celebration of his birthday today (August 16), we round up his best celebrity looks.
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Giambattista Valli. Photo: Courtesy
When best actress nominee Cynthia Erivo stepped out for the virtual golden Globe awards in February wearing a luminous neon Valentino SS21 Haute Couture gown, towering silver platforms, and white leather gloves, she made it clear: while red carpet season might have changed, post-pandemic glamor had arrived. Pierpaolo Piccioli delivered another showstopper in April at the Oscars for best actress nominee Carey Mulligan, whose golden couture gown, embroidered with thousands of sequins, took 350 hours to create and further heralded the triumphant return of wide-skirted, OTT glitz.
1930 Screen Star Jean Harlow. Photographed by G. Rosson
After more than a year of WFH leggings, Zoom tops, and face masks, there has been a renewed appetite for joyful, optimistic, and event dresses that evoke a sense of occasion, says Libby Page, senior market editor at Net-A-Porter. “Bestselling brands include Zimmermann, Chloé, Valentino, and Alex Perry, all of whom showcased vibrant gowns and prints that are meant for a sense of occasion,” she adds. “We believe it is a result of the incredible optimism among our customers as they fall back in love with the joys of dressing up.” Buoyed by the global vaccine rollout and countries slowly opening up again to travel and socializing, audacious dressing is back in rotation.
Carey Mulligan at this year’s Oscars. Photo: Getty
A return to glamour after times of despair is nothing new – culture always responds to trauma, with fashion usually leading the way. The horrors of the first world war and the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic – collectively killing an almost unfathomable 70 million people – was followed by the Roaring Twenties, as if so much sadness could only be washed away with fringed flapper dresses, a daring bob hairstyle, and jazz. Everything came crashing down in 1929, followed by the Great Depression – which Hollywood answered with fur, diamonds, and sultry starlets like Vivien Leigh and Jean Harlow. In 1947, Christian Dior bid adieu to the austere fabrics and designs that characterized the 1930s and 1940s with his lush New Look, its acres of fabric signifying an end to rations and restraint.
Chanel Spring 2021 Couture. Photo: Courtesy of Chanel
The 2000s, however, have seen glamor slowly slip away in favor of street style and athleisure, reaching a fleece-lined nadir during the 2020 lockdowns. forget putting on a ballgown – the entire planet was barely putting on deodorant anymore. What even was the point? But fashion is about the future, even when it references the past. And the point is this: life, and hope, and beauty will always return. Those tracksuit bottoms might be cashmere but they can never compete with the sheer fantastical thrill of being enveloped in an unreasonable amount of tulle, silk, or taffeta. Where would Cinderella be without her gown? Still scrubbing the hearth, probably. Gowns are transformative and restorative – and our post-vaccine future is nothing if not full-on dazzling, with ballgowns taking center stage.
Menna Shalaby at the 2020 El Gouna Film Festival. Photo: Amina Zaher
For her recent ninth wedding anniversary celebrations, Lebanese fashion entrepreneur Karen Wazen Bakhazi stepped out in a neon yellow jacquard Dior gown, the classic silhouette punched up with a vivacious 2021 hue. “I wanted to wear something special to mark the occasion, with a feminine, princess-inspired mood,” she says. “I miss dressing up, and this was such a nice opportunity to wear a dress like this again! I love wearing gowns, they’re always my favourite thing to wear to mark special moments.” Designers both regionally and internationally have also started stepping away from passionless practicality to show revived ballgowns, including Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera, Schiaparelli, and Dior. Zuhair Murad and Elie Saab, too, have returned with live couture shows featuring fantastical creations. For his SS21 collection, Lebanese couturier Rami Kadi included a show-stopping pearled ivory ballgown embroidered with crystals and ostrich feathers, as well as a jacquard gown with Disney fairies whimsically embellished across the asymmetrical skirt. “I want women to feel the best of themselves, as if this is their favorite version: strong, confident, feminine, and fierce,” Kadi notes. “After the pandemic, we are seeing a return to authenticity. Owning a couture piece is like owning a master painting; a piece that you will forever sustain and cherish and that your children and grandchildren can inherit.”
Viktor and Rolf Spring 2021 Couture. Photo: Team Peter Stigter
For those of us not willing to go full Met Gala at brunch and completely forgo the ease of wear we’ve become accustomed to this past year, the ballgowns of this new era masterfully blend glamour and comfort. At Carolina Herrera, Wes Gordon showed dresses in cotton, without boned bustiers, while Wazen chose her Dior frock partly because “it was cut to a midi length, so not only did it feel special, but it was ultra comfortable to wear.” This season’s gowns are not just for weddings and the red carpet; they are made for movement, with the full skirts also handily providing a built-in social-distancing mechanism. “Overall, designers have demonstrated a positive outlook for the season as they move towards more sophisticated fabrics and standout details in their collections,” reflects Page about Net-A-Porter’s occasion wear. “One of our bestselling gowns continues to be the exclusive Oscar de la Renta strapless metallic brocade gown retailing for £10 845 (about AED 48 600) – we sold multiple units in just one day earlier this year. In terms of occasion footwear, Amina Muaddi is the queen.”
Oscar de la Renta. Photo: Courtesy of Oscar de la Renta
Times have been bleak – but take a peak underneath and you’ll see a slip of gown waiting to be unleashed. We want to dress up and celebrate, not continue as if nothing happened. We want to bask in the gloriousness of life; take urgent pleasure in the moment; go from effortless to effort-full. And what could be a better dress to do that in than a ballgown?
Rami Kadi. Photo: Supplied
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Originally published in the July/August 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia
Rami Kadi in his atelier photographed by Tarek Moukaddem
Lebanese designer Rami Kadi is all set to celebrate the 10-year anniversary of his eponymous fashion house. On June 9, Walk of Cairo (WOC) will host the couturier for a fashion show, making it the first time Kadi has been welcomed by the Egyptian pedestrian high street destination. Kadi’s latest SS21 Retrospective 10 collection and a selection of iconic dresses from the FW21 Dessiner le Vide collection, among other exclusive designs, will be presented. Along with the show, there will be an exhibition that commemorates the fashion house’s journey of iconic and unique moments and designs spanning a decade.
The fashion show will be styled by renowned regional celebrity stylist, Yasmine Eissa, whose work has been featured on top regional and international media platforms.
Speaking to Vogue Arabia about his 10-year anniversary, Kadi shared that the last decade has been one of experimentation, learning, and growth. “We have explored themes ranging from the individual to the collective, inspiring ourselves from festivals, books, films, events, inanimate objects, and many others,” he says. “During those 10 years, we have been fortunate to receive the support of many celebrities and influencers, with whom we retain sincere relations, and to who we are utterly grateful. Similarly, the press has been a supportive force, featuring us in print and on screen, and to those people in the press industry we owe a great deal,” he adds. As such, Kadi believes that it is only natural that the Retrospective 10 collection be dedicated to the 10-year mark, and the event thank all the people that have worked with his fashion house and brought it success.
Kadi expresses his excitement to celebrate the anniversary in the chosen location of WOC, calling it a luxurious space with a beautiful landscape and architecture. “Cairo and Egypt in general have a vast culture and are known well in the fashion and cinema industry, so I’m very excited to be there and have my show there for the first time,” he tells Vogue Arabia. “I’m mostly looking forward to meeting my customers because we’ve never done anything in Cairo,” he adds.
Myriam Fares in Rami Kadi. Photo: Courtesy of Rami Kadi
At the early age of 25, in May 2011, Kadi started paving his professional designer career, with the launch of his own showroom and his first atelier in the heart of Beirut. Looking back, Kadi fondly recalls three memorable moments that he considers the highlights of his career. “The first one was in 2014 at the beginning of my career when Myriam Fares wore my design. This built momentum for my career as people started to know about the brand and who I am. The second time was my debut fashion show in Paris, during the couture week, and the third time was when Kendall Jenner wore my design at the Vanity Fair Oscar’s party,” he says. Having had significant international reach and recognition already, Kadi’s eponymous label has also been worn by Rachel McAdams and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan.
Kendall Jenner in Rami Kadi. Photo: Getty
This kind of widespread support was especially crucial in the wake of a majorly heartbreaking setback in Kadi’s, and many other celebrity-loved designers’, career when his atelier was left shattered with broken glass and scattered with fabric after the August 4 explosion in Beirut.
Kadi grappled with the tragedy by launching limited-edition T-shirts embroidered with feminist messages, to support families who were affected by the deadly blast, and a number of celebrities, including Shakira, Jennifer Lopez, Kourtney Kardashian, purchased the designer’s shirt to show support for Lebanon.
Just two months after the devastating damage, Kadi and his team bounced back bravely to unveil a new collection laced with poignant hope, the FW21 Dessiner le Vide. He dedicated the collection to the resilience of his country, using the pieces to highlight the holes left by the tragedy. As a proud Arab designer and representative of the Middle East internationally, his goal is to compete with international fashion designers and be at their level, and to be known as an “international Arab designer.”
The designs of the collection to be showcased at WOC were created by digging into years of archives of his work. Ultimately, the selection process was based on two key criteria: signature status and endorsement. The former denotes a dress that can be easily recognized as Rami Kadi Maison de Couture, whether in terms of cut, embroidery, or treatment, while the latter denotes a dress that was worn by a major celebrity or that was met with popular or critical acclaim.
Kadi’s Retrospective 10 label consists of 10 pieces, and in contrast with the chromatic boldness that usually typifies his fashion house, Retrospective 10 bases itself on metallic colors such as gold, silver, platinum, and bronze. While this collection is to go on display in the WOC, Kadi says that his favorite collection so far is Tourbillon Celeste. “It was inspired by a very special experience I had in Venice that’s very close to my heart,” he shares. “I was inspired to recreate it in my own way and the way I dream of it.”
Rami Kadi fall 2019 couture. Photo: Patrick Sawaya
Indeed, Kadi’s decade-long journey in the fashion industry has been like no other, brimmed with defining moments of stardom and vicissitude. Having come a long way since inception, the most notable changes that Kadi has observed in the industry over the years are that most designers are opting for sustainable fashion and cruelty-free materials, using less exotic skin. “The industry is being more environmentally friendly and that’s a good step for the future,” the UN Goodwill Ambassador tells Vogue Arabia. Reminiscent of the time he started out and how he overcame numerous hurdles courageously over the span of his work, Kadi states that ambitious fashion designers and fashion students may dream of a lot, but the industry is not as easy to break into as it may seem. “My advice for aspiring fashion designers is that they need to be up to date of every single detail in this industry and to work really hard to be recognized in the fashion world,” he adds.
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