Fashion of Arabia #3: Tchitch dolls, kitsch and sequins

What’s goin’ on: The kickoff of “wedding season,” which included the huge wedding of society couple “Malek and Reef” at the ancient Bahia Palace in Marrakesh, Morocco; a Ralph Lauren Spring/Summer showing in Dubai; the premiere of Salma Hayek’s animated film The Prophet in Beirut, Lebanon; and several birthday celebrations.

Fashionista of the week: Hadia Ghaleb, with 3 outfits this week

Trends: Tchitchi dolls, kitschy streetwear and sequins

 Hadia Ghaleb in Cairo, Egypt

This is EPIC. That half-gown is intriguing, I love the heels, and it certainly doesn’t hurt to have the Great Pyramids as your backdrop. Congrats Hadia for beating out all the other fashionistas this week, you’re putting Egypt on the fashion map!

Dominique Hourani in Dubai, UAE

valley dayz pants. louis vuitton purse.

You won’t find these sequined harem pants in any old souq, but trust Dominique to get her hands on them. She looks like she’s ready for the most glamorous magic carpet ride ever.

Nawal El Zoghbi performing on Mouzia al Arab in Beirut, Lebanon

Princess-perfect, prom-perfect, performer-perfect: Nawal’s Yousef AlJasmi dress is just perfect.

Yalda Golharifi in Kuwait

In case pink sequins aren’t your thing, Yalda’s dripping in this most magnificent silver skirt ensemble. And that is one intriguing little box of a bag.

Paola Elsitt in Cairo, Egypt

 How to be an Arabian flapper, Paola-style: a modest fringed top, subtle turban, crazy-cool sunglasses and that amazing (but likely impractical to use) box of a bag. Are we witnessing a new purse trend?

Annabella Hilal and Najwa Karam in Dubai

Annabella looks like she got stuck in a freak windstorm while walking through a grove of Japanese cherry blossoms in this magnificent dress. Najwa’s red dress is interesting but it looks like she shoved some red flowers down the front of her dress to compete with Annabella.

Diala Makki in Dubai  

 It looks like Diala found that grove of cherry blossoms Annabella got stuck in, except she used her superpowers to make sure they didn’t adhere to her sleek and elegant dress. She looks flawless.

Salma Hayek in Beirut, Lebanon 

  Salma brought typical Hollywood glamour to the Beirut red carpet premiere of her animated film The Prophet by wearing….a Lebanese designer! Hardly shocking, since Hollywood stars regularly turn to Elie Saab’s crazily intricate dresses whenever they have a big event.

 Lolo Al Aslawi in Lebanon

emilio pucci dress. manoli blahnik pumps. peada sunglasses. dior purse. fendi keychain.

 Lolo shuns local designers and opts for an entirely international ensemble, also managing to combine several different shades of blue and still work it. Unlike the tchitchi doll obsession of her fellow Lebanese, Lolo decided to accent her purse with a Fendi furry keychain instead. Touche, girlfriend!

Aline Watfa in Lebanon

Fruitful fashion usually comes off as kitschy or, conversely, earthy; but Aline’s amazing skirt manages to look modern a la a Jackson Pollack drip painting. Love the shape!

Hadia Ghaleb in Cairo, Egypt

Kate Spade purse. Anmerican Apparel shirt. Miista shoes (UK)

  If I wore this I feel like I’d look like an idiot, but Hadia looks like a glamorous, feminine hipster (if that’s even possible and not an oxymoron). The colors, those shoes, the cropped jumpsuit shape: this is fine fashion risk-taking. J’adore!

Nancy Ajram at the Zain 20yrs event in Jordan

roland mouret gown. 

On the opposite end of the fashion spectrum is Nancy and this gorgeous but completely un-risky gown. I guess I can’t blame her, since she wore it for a celebration of telecom bigwig Zain’s 20th anniversary and thus had to properly represent the company. Ah, corporate dressing….

Lolo Al Aslawi at Harvey Nichols in Kuwait

milly skirt. maxmara shirt. anya hindmarch purse. soohia webster shoes.

  Grown-up kitsch. I want to rip that supercool purse right out of Lolo’s hands, along with those shoes (which the eyes on the wall behind her are also obsessively ogling too).

Wiam Dahmani in Dakhla, Western Sahara

Purple is considered a “royal” color for a reason, and that reason has to be this gorgeous, gorgeous caftan with matching cape. Could you get any more royal than this? Love that Wiam brought it into the modern world with her Chanel purse.

Assala at the Golden Mic program in Lebanon

Outfit by nicolas jebran. 

To me, denim shirts with pockets scream cowboy, but Assala is far from the prairie in this intricately embroidered gold ensemble. Also, can she have a tinier waist? The woman is in her 40s; I’m sure even Haifa Wehbe is jealous of this.

Dana Malhas Ghandour in Marrakesh, Morocco 

valentino pumps.

  Dana shows us the “earthy” way to wear fruitful fashion with this stunning dress (I believe it is Dolce & Gabanna?) She blends in perfectly with the orangey-pink colors of Marrakesh.

Alice Abd Al Aziz and Serene Assad in Beirut Lebanon

Alice in The Kript with her tchitchidoll.

Kitsch done by the Queens of Kitsch, the Abd El Aziz sisters (and their clique, including Serene Assaad). Alice and Serene were one of many fashionistas who brought their tchitchi dolls out on the town, along with their signature crazy sunglasses. FYI, I also want that sweatshirt, Alice.

Ghina Ghandour Daouk in Lebanon

dolce & gabban top. zara skirt. chanel shoes. 

I would wear Ghina’s ensemble everyday of my life if I owned it (hey, I’m a New Yorker after all. You cannot not wear black here). It’s edgy, urban, chic, sexy and badass.

Haifa Wehbe in Egypt

just cavallinblazer. isabel marant pants. christian louboutin pumps.


Haifa kept silent on Instagram this week, except for some promotion shots for her new Ramadan series Meriem. Even if the above outfit is a look for the series it still perfectly matches Haifa’s personal style off-duty. The print of that blazer is everything!

Hadia Ghaleb in Egypt


This is such a fun, summery dress without screaming “flowery, feminine, flowy summer dress.” And good looks on throwing on that tiny little scarf (?) too. Hadia can do no wrong.

Queen Rania in Amman, Jordan

Valentino purse.

 If I were to be honest, I’d say that nobody, and certainly not even a queen as beautiful as Rania of Jordan, should wear this dress. Ever. It’s hideous in so many unappealing ways. But she still manages to look elegant, and that Valentino purse is probably going to be an IT-bag in Arabia after HRH’s outing with it.

Nour Aboulela in Lebanon

linda farrow shades. minna parikka shoes. celine purse. tchitchi doll. vero moda top.

Kitsch and Tchitchi dolls: Nour does street fashion at its most fun and finest. Those bunny shoes are an insanely creative riff response to Marc Jacobs’ mouse flats and Charlotte Olympia’s epic kitty-kat shoe line.

Alanoud Badr in Dubai  

bedouin studios skirt. zena presley top. tchitchi doll.

  Even more kitsch and Tchitchi dolls! The top seems a little random with the rest of the outfit, but Alanoud looks like she’s taking fashion seriously without taking it too seriously.

Jessica Kahawaty and Joelle Mardinian in Dubai


Many fashionistas came out for the Ralph Lauren S/S15 event, but Jessica and Joelle headed the Best-Dressed list. Jessica combines a thousand different shades of olive and textures but still manages to look chic; Joelle decides to bedazzle us in sparkly black and silver (and make us jealous of that Chanel purse she always carries).

Dominique Hourani in Dubai

Dar Layali dress. louis vuitton purse.

Looks like Dominique and I share the same taste in purses, although her’s is probably $1,000+ more than my similar Kate Spade one. I don’t exactly share her love for this gown, but she looks lovely.

Carmen Soliman 

The perfect transitional outfit for when the weather’s still not quite warm enough for bare skin, although weather in Egypt seems to go from 60 to 100 degrees pretty damn quickly. Carmen nails casual-chic nicely.

Elissa, Ragheb Alama and Donia Samir Ghanem on the X Factor

Elissa in Dolce & Gabbana dress, Louboutin heels. Donia in Elie Saab dress, Louboutin heels.  

An improvement over last week’s X Factor dress choices.  Still, both ladies look like are holding their breath to fit into those dresses, not to mention the fact that Elissa’s belt looks like a seat belt and that color completely washes Donia out.

Wiam Dahmani in Dakhla, Western Sahara

caftan by Chamae al Massoudi (Morocco)

Not as stellar as her first caftan this week, but purple is definitely her color. I now crown Diam the Queen of Western Sahara!

Salma Hayek in Lebanon

Salma Hayek apparently merits the protection of the Lebanese army, which is kind of cool. The dress is nice, but kind of ill-fitting.

  Rafeea Al Hajsi 

jacket from Mutawakhatib (Dubai)

Even when she’s on vacation Rafeaa looks like she’s still modeling. From her lacey espadrilles to that jacket (yellow is definitely her color) Rafeaa just glows. I wish I could look that elegant while enjoying a leisurely breakfast by the sea.

 Haaya Haaya, meet Hello Kitty! That beautiful dress is perfectly accessorized with the necklace and subtle flower crown, but overall I think she may be a bit too old for the look. Maybe it’s the Mom hair.

Paola Elsitt in Lebanon


Paola also chose a subtle flower hair decoration to celebrate her birthday. In fact, between the flowers and her black skirt and top combo she kind of resembles her birthday cake!

  Paola Elsitt in Alexadria, Egypt

Paola’s dress kind of resembles the lining of my grandparent’s pool when I was growing up. I like the headband though, and her hair looks insanely gorgeous!

Mirin in Dubai 

  I know I shouldn’t like this, but I really do. It’s kitschy, fun, unique and the cut-outs on the shoulders are great, although kind of ill-fitting on Mirin.

Rola Saad in Lebanon


Yes, I’d love to have chocolate cake for breakfast with you too, Rola! Like Rafeaa, she also looks so chic while eating breakfast, although I strongly dislike those booties.

Dana Malhas Ghandour and Dania Ghandour at the Bahia Palace, Marrakech, Morocco

Dana Malhas in Maxmara dress.

I visited the Bahia Palace when I went to Marrakech, and I’d love to have my imaginary dream wedding there, especially if it was lit up like this as it was for some rich Lebanese couple this week. Dana’s dress could lose the peplum, which is so done, and Dania unfortunately looks too much like a flamenco dancer in that ensemble.

 Diala Makki in Dubai, UAE

Also at the Ralph Lauren event as Joelle and Jessica, Diala’s facial expression here suggests she agrees that this dress was a poor choice and that whoever convinced her to wear it is gonna be in serious trouble.

Diana Haddad in Qatar

coast skirt.

Is Diana really a Munchkin cat? Because she sure looks like she has no legs here! The skirt is really cute, but those putty-nude shoes are just bland and boring.

Serene Assad in Lebanon


 All three trends of the week wrapped into one ridiculous outfit worn by Serene. I can’t decide whether those pants are cool or the definition of fashion victim.

Salma Hayek in Beirut, Lebanon  

For some reason I just don’t like this. Also, if I was promoting a film about the Prophet Mohammad I would have taken advantage of the situation if I was Salma and worn some gorgeous flowing abaya and not something you could wear on any old Hollywood red carpet.

 Maya Nehme in Lebanon

adidas shoes. top by icatchingsales.

 Maya is a dancer, and she proves that to us with this comfortable and casual ensemble that shows off her enviable abs. I don’t approve of the leggings, and I also don’t know how she could walk outside without people oggling her in this either.

 Amal Maher in Egypt

 Amal, you do not celebrate the debut of your new album by wearing this completely boring white button-down and black pants. You can do better than that. Go home and pull that red dress you wore on the album cover out of your closet and be the Queen of Singing that you are.

 Klodia in Dubai, UAE

  As a kid, Klodia’s favorite cereal was honey combs, so she decided to wear them on her birthday dress. And, apparently, around her head.

 Amar in Beirut, Lebanon

I don’t care how many mega designers she can pile into one look: I have little love for Amar in this getup. A jacket-dress hybrid with her bra showing? Those tacky shiny leggings? Absolutely not.

Najwa Karam in Dubai 

Herve Leger dress. charlotte olympia heels. roberto cavalli purse.

Najwa looks just as surprised as me that she chose such such an ugly dress and hairy purse. And those nude stockings, ugh! I do adore her pumps though, which apparently have hands reaching around the front of them.

Farah Abd Al Aziz in Beirut, Lebanon 

 When you’re jealous that your sister is modeling in the fashion show and not you as Farah apparently is, you throw on your favorite 70s-inspired pajamas and appropriately I-don’t-give-a-flip pout and pose. Hard.

Nicole Sabaa in Cairo, Egypt

cavalli dress.

The worst example of the high-low skirt trend, which is slightly passe now anyways. Nicole’s peep-toe booties also have waaay too much going on. She’s posing hard, though.

Salma Hayek and Elissa in Beirut, Lebanon

Elissa in Balenciaga jacket. Oscar de la Renta necklace.

I HATE office-style blazers and think no woman should ever wear them. Especially when they’re buttoned up like this. This includes even stars like you, Salma and Elissa.

Alice Abd El Aziz in Lebanon

Alice decided to wear her jealousy over sister Nadine’s catwalk show a slightly different way than sister Farah by donning three dresses at once and throwing them in the air like she just didn’t care.

Alice Abd El Aziz in Lebanon

GS Stores shirt (lebanon)

Afterwards, Alice continued her IDGAF attitude by proving she can wear even the most kitschy of outfits. Curiosity may have killed the cat, but Alice committed fashion suicide with this crazy look.

Maya Williams in Dubai Kitsch overload! Again, I know I shouldn’t like the jeans, but I do (although the rips at the knees were unnecessary). What I don’t like was Maya’s choice to pair them with those sandles and that hideous poufy top that apparently has netting hanging off the sleeves.

Somaia  El Khasab 

  It’s not entirely offensive-the teal color probably saves it-but Somaia would do better to hide behind those flowers. The military-thing going on is just weird, and the dress looks like it’s made out of acrylic.

Dominique Hourani in Dubai, UAE

I don’t care if Dominique is probably just trying this on for fun at the Valley Dez store and didn’t walk out in it or with it in her shopping bag, it’s just a big LAA (no). That skirt looks like it’s made out of plastic, as do the purse and shoes. She kind of looks like a giant piece of candy, like a Jolly Rancher.

Marwa in Cairo, Egypt

It’s Marwa, so it could actually be a lot worse than it is (i.e. more revealing). The lace gloves were overkill to wear with a lace dress, and her hair is quite the mess. I hope she wasn’t performing at the wedding.

Ahed Otrok in Em Sharif, Lebanon

With all that makeup painted on her face, Ahed looks like she’s celebrating her 60th birthday, not her 28th. I also don’t understand why she chose the only hideous Zuhair Murad dress in existence to party in, nor why she paired it with those gold shoes. Maybe her style will be more refined by the time she’s 38….

Diana Karazon 

Chanel earrings. versace necklace.

Did Diana get lost on her way to a 50 Cent music video? Or to Gianni Versace’s Miami mansion? Even still, there’s no excuse for this Ghetto Fabulous, bling-bling monstrosity of a look, nor that Hoochie Mamacita hairstyle. No. Go home, Diana.


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