As I was packing my case ready for a weekend of wedding festivities, I suddenly had a thought: what do the Lebanese wear? The only images that I could conjure up were of lycra-clad, breast-baring plastics (well, Lebanon is the cosmetic surgery capital of the Middle East, if not, the world) - yes, such a stereotype I know...naughty me. But then I thought about all the celebrated designers coming out of Lebanon: Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Abed Mafouz... Worn by the creme de la creme of celebrities, these designers are doing a lot to put Lebanon on the fashion map.
Elie Saab Couture SS'10
Elie Saab has got the red carpet market covered. Known for his lavish and luxurious gowns, there's not a girl I know who wouldn't kill to own a piece of Elie - i'm thinking this cute little suit would do just fine. Fans include Halle Berry (who catapulted him to success after her 2002 Oscar win), Beyonce, JLo, Rihanna, Liz Hurley, Catherine Zeta Jones...just showing how diverse the designer is.
Jennifer Lopez in Zuhair Murad
Ok, I know i've shown this pic before, but I just LOVE this dress! Zuhair Murad is another red carpet magician and the celebs are just devouring his gowns. His understanding of the female body is simply phenomenal and his flamboyance makes each of his dresses stand out a mile. What else do you need?!
Following in the footsteps of Elie and Zuhair, is Abed Mahfouz. Displaying more Lebanese talent for designing utterly luxurious and mega glamorous, red-carpet worthy gowns, Abed ticks all the boxes.
A glittering Abed Mahfouz creation
Abed sells 200-250 dresses a season at a cost of roughly $16,000 each, with some reaching $100,000!! While the rest of the world is still suffering from recession penny-pinching, the wealthy customers from the oil-rich Gulf are spending, spending, spending, raising the profiles of these designers a thousand fold.
It looks like the recent period of political peace in Lebanon has done great things for these designers, who have taken the opportunity to revive Lebanese Haute Couture. And they've done a bloomin' good job in my book. Their aim is for Lebanon to become the fashion capital of the Middle East and i've got a feeling they are going to achieve that very soon.
Miss Magpie loves all things sparkling, luxurious and OTT (I must have been a Lebanese fashion designer in my past life)...I know I am going to have an amazing time in Beirut. A full report will follow next week, so watch this space!
Note to self: Def pack metallic gold Vivienne Westwood to compete with the Lebanese decadence....