Fashion of Arabia Week #2: Denim, Black Abayas and Dominique Hourani

 Arab Business released its 100 Arabs Under 40 list, which included a few entertainers and beauty icons in addition to superachievers in business, science and technology. Congrats Nancy Ajram (#19) for being the highest performer/culture icon on the list! Also congrats to Sherine Abdel Wahdy (#84), Tima Shomali (#88), Diala Makki (#89), Huda Kattan (#94) and Myriam Fares (#99).

Trends of the week: denim; black abayas; kindergarden-inspired ensembles and Dominique Hourani.

Myriam Fares pre-performance in Kuwait

Labourjoisie Dress. Christian Louboutin shoes. Aurore Ezzedine jewelry.

Queen of the Stage indeed. Myriam is beyond perfect and I love the attached hood.

Myriam Fares performing in Egypt

Myriam’s crop top is composed of hundreds of tiny Evil Eyes, and this look is guaranteed to have all eyes glued to her. She looks like an Arab 70s mermaid (those are bellbottoms, FYI).

Haifa Wehbe in Egypt 

Roberto Cavalli shirt and pants. Givenchy bag. D&G sunglasses. Van Cleef and Arpels necklace.

Haifa also embraced the 70s with these fabulous boho pants, although I don’t think any freewheeling 70s chick could have afforded any of the individual pieces she’s wearing. Trust MJK to be decked out completely in international designer duds.

Rafeaa Al Hajsi in Dubai

dolce and gabbana dress. abaya from jetaime boutique

 Black abayas were popular this week, but few ladies seemed to know how to style them properly besides mega-stunning Rafeea. I mean, seriously, how hard can it be? It’s black, it’s flowy: how can you get it wrong? Rafeaa draped her abaya over an exquisitely ruched dress and proved that even abayas can be sexy. 

 Dana Wolley in New York City, USA 

Manolo Blahnik pumps. Chanel purse.

  Such an enchanting look. The star on the dress completely makes the outfit. Dana might be searching for a wedding dress, but I’d be happy enough to wear that if I were her.

Nancy Ajram performing in Cairo 

Isabel Marant dress.

Super “Vixen” Nancy! I love it when the musicians wear dresses they can actually move in (see Shaza’s look from last week). This is the bad-gal version of Nancy, and I love it.

Ola Farahat in Dubai

Pretty in pastels, and perfectly appropriate for meeting your in-laws, going to work or attending a garden tea party, although I doubt Ola’s doing any of those.

Mahtab Jamali in Dubai, UAE

So freaking chic it hurts. Mahtab (who designs Katayoon London) was one of the first accounts I ever followed on Instagram, and I have continously been blown away by how chic and unbelievably gorgeous she is. (BTW, that man candy is Dana Mashalahpoor, an Iranian male model!)

Hadia Ghaleb in Egypt 

Elliat cape (Australia). Topshop shirt. Sass and Bide jeans. House of Holland sunnies. Zac by Zac Posen purse.

 Hadia decided to have an impromptu fashion shoot alongside a highway, obviously because her outfit is so freaking fabulous (although I am resolutely against peep-toe shoes). If I were the driver of that truck I’d honk (even though that is so rude and sexist) because I LOVE that shirt and spring cape.

Alanoud Badr in Dubai 

 Alanoud thankfully is NOT having an impromptu roadside fashion shoot, because a million truck drivers would definitely be honking at her in this sexy look! That skirt is so cool, the sandals look great with her tan and she looks smoking.

Layla Hadioui in Marrakesh, Morocco

Fouzia Naciri caftan (Casablanca, Morocco).

A modern take on the Moroccan caftan. I’m loving the sheer sleeves and sequined outerskirt. I just discovered Leila, so congrats lady for instantly making it onto my Fashion Radar!

Joelle Mardinian in Dubai

Top by Two Songs (LA). Moschino jacket.

Badass 80s Madonna. That teeshirt says “Selfmade,” which definitely describes Joelle’s insane work ethic. It’s a little too costumey-was she heading to an 80s party?-but I applaud her risk taking.

Tima Shomali in New York


OK, this dress is admittedly on the plain side. But I wasn’t aware of Tima until I read about her in the 100 Arabs under 40 article, and I’m impressed she’s here in NYC for this Women in the World Summit! She looks event-appropriate and excited to be here.

Layla Abboud in Geneva, Switzerland 

Givenchy purse.

High-voltage designer. You can’t look at Layal without being blown away by the opulence of the look. Lucky she’s in Zurich where everyone’s wealthy or else she might get robbed. But what I’m dying to know: is it really that cold still in Zurich that it requires a coat that heavy, or is Layal just using the opportunity to wear her coat one more time before spring is fully sprung?

Mimi Le Blanc in Paris, France

Finally, an Emilio Pucci dress with pizzazz! Mimi shows up last week’s Pucci fans Haifa Wehbe and Shayma Helal by choosing the design house’s signature bright prints, and it’s divine. I’m also in love with the unusual color of the sunglasses and purse.

Alanoud Badr in Dubai, UAE

Ugh I wanted this H&M jacket so bad, but it turns out it’s also over $100, which is too ridiculous for a fast-fashion brand. Lady Fozaza doesn’t have to worry about prices like I do but she created a great look out of several pedestrian brands, giving us pedestrians some hope at looking stylish! Also, she appears to have jumped on the tchitchdoll bandwagon.

Sofia Al-Asfoor in Doha, Qatar Again with the 70s boho-pants trend, updated in black and white. That gorgeous handbag is part of Sofia’s eponymous label, which she needs to start selling stateside immediately, even though I don’t have thousands of dollars to spend on a bag so I don’t care if she does or not. *le sigh*

Sheida in Dubai, UAE 

Kooky elegance is how I’d describe this. Sheida actually pulls off those cat-eye glasses, and that Mickey Mouse-print shirt looks like she unearthed it from 90s mom’s closet, but she totally took it in a different direction with the Valentino pumps that has (but former 90s mom who frequented Disney World probably doesn’t).

Haifa Wehbe in Egypt

Christian Louboutin heels.

 Haifa looks more ready to meet the Queen than the MJK that she is: this dress is elegant and fairly modest, but also fairly boring. She looks flawless as always, but come on, where’s the drama?

Hind Bahraini performing in Qatar

Monique Lhuillier dress.

Hind is the Female Tin Man. This literally looks like a dress made out of tin foil, albeit girly pink tin foil. What’s even more strange is that I actually am drawn to the dress, despite generally disliking the color pink, 50s housedress shapes and material that looks as shiny as tinfoil.

Sherine in Egypt


This dress looks a bit too heavy for Spring, like Sherine was just too excited to wait ’til Fall to wear it so she threw it on. She certainly is glowing, but that’s (likely) because she just got named one of the Top 100 Arabs under 40. So, in conclusion, Sherine can wear whatever she damn wants!

Huda Kattan in London, UK

 Huda is the World’s Top Beauty blogger, so she doesn’t post too many photos of her outfits. Apparently being in London and being named one of the 100 Arabs under 40 inspired her to shoot below the neck. I like the skirt, but the top isn’t anything remarkable, and I’m not sure why she paired that sparkly necklace with such a zany print.

Shatha Sabt in Doha, Qatar

Shaima Royal Collection abaya (Bahrain)

  Only Gulf girls seemed to know how to wear their black abayas (see the bad Lebanese versions below). Shatha looks supremely elegant and regal and I love it.

Alice Abd AlAziz in Lebanon 

Clothes from The Kript (Lebanon)

 This Sister looks like she’s headed to Coachella, not strolling down a Beirut street in spring! Then again, she probably hopped out just to take the pic 😛 I personally would rock this look during the summer but I think those batshit crazy sunglasses are just too out there for my liking.

Roz  in Petsmart, USA

This is what a model looks like when she goes shopping for dog food. Roz looks a frosted pink snowcone, and I know I shouldn’t like this outfit on a grown woman, but she looks so cute. I also want to kidnap her adorable Pomeranians.

Rolla Safa in Lebanon 

 Like Alanoud, Rolla also chose a statement-print skirt, this one with the Mona Lisa dressed up as….er, I can’t tell, but she’s got a flower wreath and a pink wig on. It’s an interesting design, and while Rolla attempts to play it down with a button down and plain pumps, I think she should have played it up.

Amal Maher in Egypt

Stare into my pants: you’re getting sleepy, aren’t you? Amal’s got her Plan B ready in case people don’t want to buy her upcoming album: simply hypnotize them!

Diana Karazon and Rafeea Alhajsi in Dubai, UAE

Diana and Rafeea agree to take on the black-and-white trend, with Rafeea winning the competition hands-down (sorry Diana, but you can’t compete with a supermodel). Both ladies look elegant, but Diana’s huge pumps are terrible and I can’t discern whether she’s wearing a necklace or her shirt has an embellishment along the neckline.

Hind Bahraini Performing in Qatar 

Another performance, another dress made of crazy stiff material for Hind. I think those shoes are unnecessary, but her dress looks like the night sky, so she gets a pass.

Dominique Hourani in Dubai, UAE

….And this is what Dominique wears when she actually buys or, um, wins (?) a Nissan car. That crop top looks a bit dangerously high, and she looks like she’s the bride at an extremely casual wedding.

Diala Makki in Dubai

Diala has a thing for wearing short Herve Leger dresses, but she should have left this one on the rack: that is one seriously hideous dress. The only reason this doesn’t scream Epic-Windstorm-Disaster is because Diala is beautiful. But I expect better from one of the 100 Arabs Under 40!

Dominique Hourani in Dubai

A 90s teenager might have worn this dress to her friend’s Sweet Sixteen. Dominique, however, wears it while pretending to snack on Proteinworld Shakes. Times have changed.

Dominique Hourani with Suzy Matar of Dar Layali at her runway show in the UAE 

Suzy Matar dress.

In all fairness, Dominique was probably not behind this fashion choice, since she was in Dubai for Dar Layali’s fashion show (that’s the designer Suzy Matar next to her). I don’t hate it, but I don’t remotely like it (except for the color).

Elissa on the season premiere of the X Factor in Dubai

The X Factor Arabia is probably going to be as big of a snooze this season as it was in the past, if Elissa’s dress is any indication. I like the bodice, but the bottom is just unappealing, and did she need to wear black tights?

Diana Karazon in Dubai, UAE

Joudesign teeshirt and bag (sold across MENA and in Italy).

 Take it down a notch, Diana. Tired of wearing black-and-white, Diana threw on this absolutely insane combination of statement pieces. If she took away those gangsta-wannabe gold necklaces and swapped the hideous platforms for flats this look would be so less outrageous, although the color of that skirt is also an affront to the eyes.

 Rola Saad in Lebanon

Somehow crop tops made it to the Middle East. I still can’t imagine roaming about anywhere in the Middle East in a crop top, although Rola apparently does it with ease. Add about 6 inches to that shirt and this outfit would have been more pleasing.

Dominique Hourani at a children’s Qu’ran reading competition in the UAE

Viabesco Fashion dress (UAE designer).

I swear, Dominique dominated the fashion scene this week, and not always in the best of ways (but I love her anyway!) Social media was abuzz over Christian Dominique’s attendance at an Islamic Qu’ran-reading competition, questioning her sincerity since she usually favors “immodest” get-ups. But at least they didn’t question her dress, which was appropriately demure and modest for the event, if a tad ugly.

Dominique Hourani in Dubai, UAE


 Dominique demonstrates for us how one goes wrong with a black abaya with this bathrobe-tie concoction. I think it’s the puffy sleeves that really do this look in, along with those white dots. LOVE her purse though.

Arwa in Beirut, Lebanon

Dress from Debi.r

Was Arwa spray-painted into this dress? IDK, it just looks like it’s made out of some shiny waxy material. Really don’t like the print, nor do I approve of that spray-paint make-up job.

Reine Sabty in Lebanon

Valentino bag and shoes.

The other major trend of the week was denim dresses. Yes, you read that right. Reine’s version was the least offensive of the crop, since it kind of just looks like she wore a denim shirt without pants. I should also start a count of how many women wear those Valentino shoes…

Romina Mattar in Lebanon  Denim Disaster #2. I mean, did Romina sew on those patches during her Girl Scout class? Why are these boutiques even selling such ridiculous dresses for grown women?

 Wiam Dahmani at the Hotel La Paloma, Tetouan, Morocco

Speaking of ridiculous, HOW does one wear this to a fashion awards show? How?? Wiam, you and whoever organized the show should be downright ashamed. What about a gorgeous beaded caftan? A sparkly princess gown? Why pompoms, and pearl earrings, and a gold watch that look like they belong to your grandmother? Why??

Donia Samir Ghanem in Dubai, UAE

Elissa’s co-judge also decided to hit the snooze button while choosing her look for the X-Factor season premiere. Actually, Donia’s look is less boring, but decidedly more stupid: she looks like a kindergardner, for crying out loud!

Tala Samman in Dubai, UAE

 S*ce Dubai, a trendy Dubai boutique, is perhaps responsible for the denim disaster trend’s migration to the UAE: they designed a special denim capsule collection. Tala may have a cute smile and even cuter flats, but nothing can save this awful dress.

Paola Elsitt in Beirut, Lebanon

Denim Disaster #4: From the neck up she looks stunning; the rest is so aggressively ugly, I don’t know why she chose this outfit for a business marketing meeting. Actually, I kind of love the shoes, but they didn’t help this look.

Aline Khalaf in Beirut 

The worst of all the denim I saw this week. What is this?? Is Aline a kindergardner who got paint all over herself in art class or a famous musician? I’m starting to think the former, not the latter.

Annabella Hilal in Beirut, Lebanon

Adidas sneakers. Tchitchdoll.

Annabella the Clown is here and ready to entertain at Lebanon’s child birthday parties! I think that blazer is really fun, and the jeans are fine, but worn together with those awful shoes and that Tchitchi doll she wore with last week’s outfit, she proves that, off the red carpet at least, she desperately needs a stylist.

Maya Williams In Dubai


 Favorite dress? Who is she kidding? How can you possibly call yourself a fashion blogger and consultant when you choose to wear something as ill-fitting and stupid as this? Sorry Maya, but you look like an overgrown kindergardner who’s obsessed with neon magic markers. 

Arwa in Beirut, Lebanon


Arwa also proves that one can go terribly, terribly wrong with a black abaya. This is a sad, wrinkly, misshapen mess with half-hearted sparkles that no maa3lema on the street would go near. I hope she didn’t wear this out of the house.





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