Fashions of Arabia #4: Blue dresses, Kaftans and Frothy/Flowery Gowns

 What’s goin’ on: The 4th annual Cairo Fashion Festival 2015, which took place in Cairo Festival City, featured fashion shows, American brands and Cairo’s middle class; Light Expo Kuwait showcased Ramadan designs (it’s sooner than you think!) and Haifa Wehbe has been filming her Ramadan series Meriam in Cairo.

Fashionista of the week: Paola Elsitt, designer of Mlle Paola (Lebanon)

Trends:  Blue dresses, kaftans and Frothy floral dresses

Dominique Hourani At the MaSr Qariba Tourism Event in Dubai

Purple reign indeed! Tyra Banks would find no fault with Dominique here: from her power pose, lofty attitude and that stunning, incredible, stupendous work-of-art dress, Dominique is definitely Queen of the Catwalk.

Yalda Golsharifi in Kuwait 

A beautiful modern take on the kaftan. I want this to wear walking around the city when I’m wearing more ‘revealing’ summer clothes and don’t want people staring at my bum. Also, i want to rip that adorable fanoos purse right off of Yalda’s arm.

Layala Abboud in Lebanon

akel fakih dress.

Layala showing off the blue dress trend, and putting Kim Kardashian, Beyonce and J.Lo to shame in the process. Her body looks flipping AMAZING, and the blue sunglasses just complete the look.

Paola Elsitt in Lebanon 

Paola does the blue dress trend sailor-style, without looking like Captain Obvious. A mega-diva look while still being modest, and I LOVE those shoes she keeps wearing.

Amar in Lebanon

chanel purse. galliano skirt.

Forget 5 of Hearts, Amar is the Queen of Hearts! Last week’s kitsch-addicted ladies, take note; this is high-fashion kitsch done right. I hope Amar holda tight to her purse because after Yalda’s this is the next one I’m gonna snatch.

Paola Elsitt in Beirut, Lebanon 

Audrey Hepburn on acid, ready for the electric sky (aka an EDM music festival). Paola makes brights look elegant, and that headscarf is so classy.

Mariam Said in Morocco

Mariam looks so sweet in this sugary pastel kaftan, I feel like I’ll get a cavity if I stare at her too long. Lovely is the best word to describe her here.

Dunia Batma in Doha

Kaftan by Chaimae al masmoudi.

 What Belle from Disney’s Beauty and the Beast would wear if she was giving a performance in the Middle East. All Dunia needs is a Talking Fanoos, sa3a al-idawam (clock) and one of long-spout Ibreeq al-shai (teapot) and she’s all set.

 Amal Clooney at The Met Gala, NYC, USA

Dancing emoji alert! Amal (whose parents I had the pleasure of encountering the other day) embodies the infamous dancing lady in the red dress emoji perfectly. She looks beautiful, but I’m not particularly fond of the color red, nor of cha-cha ruffles.

Oraib Hamdan in Cairo, Egypt

muna alzarooni dress. fatima jewelry.

Another dancing-emoji red dress, although Oraib skips the frou-frou and opts for feathers. That necklace and earrings look insanely expensive (and heavy) and while I like it, she kind of looks like a wax version of herself.

Hadia Ghaleb in Egypt

Where does Hadia get all these crazy-cool printed jumpsuits from? This is blue-velvet gold, absolutely exquisite (has that word ever been used to describe a jumpsuit?) and it would probably look terrible on anyone else but her.

Haya Awad

Haya keeps all eyes (literally) on the kitsch trend from last week with this outfit largely from her own collection. That blazer-cape is pretty nifty, but if it’s as hot in Lebanon as it is here in New York I don’t know how she’s not melting like an ice cream in those black tights!

Diala Makki in Dubai

Diala takes her inspiration from another Disney Princess (Sleeping Beauty) or maybe from Haifa Wehbe’s Breathing You In music video. Or maybe the flower wall she posed in front of last week is just following her all around Dubai. In any case, this is Diala in her short-skirted best: I LOVE that dress!

Hind al-Bahraineya in Kuwait City

 Hind takes inspiration from the flowers sharing the stage with her in this fluffy, frothy blossom of a gown. That glittery bodice is beautiful, but my big question is: how does one wash that massive skirt? Or is this a wear-once, throw out type of gown?

Yalda Golsharifi in Kuwait

Yalda dons yet another gorgeous kaftan, this one in a gorgeous blue color, thereby knocking out two trends of the week in one shot.

Rouwaida Attieh


More sailor-inspired style. It’s simple but still chic, and that yellow head-wrap elevates the look. I want to see more looks from Rouwaida if they’re anything like this!

Nathalie Fanj in Lebanon 

Long, wild hair; a form-fitting but still hippy dress; flat sandals: this look is not often served up by Middle East fashionistas, so I’m impressed with Nathalie. She manages to look casual and cool and still sexy; if she swapped out the sandals for heels she could easily head to a night out on the town.

Lolo Al Aslawi in Kuwait

chanel shoes. miu miu purse.

Lolo looks like a grown-up French schoolgirl heading to the office (I mean that as a compliment; I kind of have thing for schoolgirl-style dressing, perhaps because I didn’t wear a dress from the age of 6 to the age of 18 (excepting special occasions, where I had no choice). Not a fan of the ruffle running up the side, but she looks great.

Queen Rania in Jordan

Queen Rania wore a slightly similar navy blue dress and loose wavy locks while out and about doing Queenly things. Duchess Kate of the UK would do to take a page out of HRH’s book: Queen Rania is older than her and yet she looks so beautiful and fresh-faced, but maybe that’s the perk of being queen: you don’t have elder royals (aka the Queen Mother in Kate’s case) breathing down your back.

Assala in Lebanon

Like Queen Rania, Assala is defying time by appearing no older than her 20-something counterparts. It’s an interesting dress that, like its wearer, makes you question what age group it’s meant for.

Dolly Ayanna in Cairo, Egypt

There are all sorts of reasons why I shouldn’t like this: satin, pink satin, a thigh-high slit, that material that looks like it’s tacked on. But I do like Dolly’s Cairo Fashion Festival, because she looks princessy without being glittery or prudish or wearing ten tons of tulle, and those sunglasses are the bomb!

Hadia Ghaleb in Egypt 

Hadia killing it with the mixing: the pieces don’t necessarily look like they’d go together, but they do. FY, This is a modest way to wear a crop top without actually showing any skin.

Paola Elsitt in Lebanon 


 Paola has an endless supply of metallic dresses, crazy white-heeled platforms and glasses that look like they’d give you a headache if you looked through them for more than 5 minutes. If she ever wants to donate her old clothes to charity, I’ll post my address.

Asma Lmnawar in Doha, Qatar

siham ihsanne kaftan.

Yes, I give you two thumbs up for that beautiful kaftan, dear Asma. I don’t think the rigid curls were the best complement, but she looks like a Queen in a Kaftan.

Asma LmnawR in Doha, Qatar

Another fabulous Siham Ihssane kaftan, in a color I’d definitely wear (black). Asma must have a closet full of these that she just whips out for any occasion.

Lolo Al Aslawi in Kuwait

fendi purse keychain.

Lolo in her second blue office-appropriate ensemble of the week. As if she ever see’s the inside of an office where you have to dress “office appropriate.”

Madeleine Matar


Another gorgeous, fairy-tale kaftan in an unusual shade.  I love that crushed-pastel-plum velvet, and her nail color too! Good job Madeleine!

Haifa Wehbe on the set of Meriem series in Cairo, Egypt

I don’t like to post pics of stars on-set since the outfits are likely selected by a stylist, but it’s Haifa and she didn’t give us anything verified off-set to talk about. It’s a boring outfit: pretty but pretty plain, too. C’mon Haifa, give us something more!

Wiam Dahmani in Marrakesh, Morocco 

Those are some festival-worthy palazzo pants. The blue cuffs are so eye-catching that even if Wiam gets lost in the Moroccan wilderness we’ll probably be sble to find her.

Mariam George in Dubai 

Purple reign, part itnayn: This is how you ride an ATV (or camel) while still looking like a girl. I am strangely drawn to that neon purple lipstick with the matching keffah scarf, and Mariam’s henna is fab.

Lydia Birgani-Nia in Abu Dhabi, UAE


 I have to agree with Lydia: most blazers are designed to make you look like an old woman, or a 9-to-5 power-hungry 80s office worker. I love Lydia’s standard all-black ensembles, but for God’s sake why can’t this girl ever smile? She always looks so serious and dour in all her Instagram photos that it ages her more than a Miss Trunchbull blazer. Lighten up, Lydia; you’re only what, 18 years old? And dressed in Yves Saint Laurent? What do you have to be pissed about?

Dunia Batma in Marrakesh, Morocco

IDK. I don’t hate it, but Donia’s not working this dress at all. If I put it on Haifa or Myriam Fares I think it’d look a lot more appealing.

Elissa, Ragheb and Donia Samir Ghandem on The X Factor

elissa in roberto cavallin dress. donia in le lobby dress.

Why can’t the X Factor ladies ever get it right? OK, so Donia’s dress is a pretty color and inoffensive, but it’s just boring, especially paired with those sandals. Elissa’s dress is actually interesting-for once!-but not in a good way: it looks like one of Cinderella’s evil stepsister’s slashed her dress so that her glittery silver bra is revealed.

Dina Hayek in Paris, France

A raspberry-colored trench that hits right above the knee? How delightful! I wish Dina hadn’t chosen a Louis Vuitton purse for her trip to Paris (cliche) but she does look very Parisian.

Nicole Sabaa at The Atlantis in Dubai, UAE


Nicole looks like she emerged from the depths of the ocean, or at the very least from that wonderfully crazy fountain behind her.  I’m glad she brought her royal mermaid kingdom necklace with her, but she should have left the boring gown behind.

Reine Sabty in Beirut, Lebanon

Reine is a fashion kamikaze indeed: what else would explain choosing such an ugly Herve Leger band dress, and matching clownish make-up? It all just seems a bit harsh.

Maya Nehme in Lebanon

All Day Maya Dreams About Shoes–specifically, those Adidas platform sneakers she wore last week. I really like this urban-sporty fashion, but ‘les’ be honest: what on earth does that skirt of her’s say?

Amina Khalil at the Cairo Fashion Festival, Cairo, Egypt

I think Amina wanted to have a laugh and commit fashion suicide at a Fashion Festival, because this is one heck of an ugly and confused dress.

Amina Ashraf at the Cairo Fashion Festival, Cairo, Egypt 

Another Amina, another fashion kamakaze choice at the Cairo Fashion Festival. How does a beauty queen make such a poor red-carpet choice? Isn’t it your job, Amina, to be beautiful?

Paola Elsitt


Not Paola’s best choice this week, but it would have been a great outfit if not for the fact that the dress was camo-print: the flowers bordering the hemline are a nice touch. Good looks on the fedora and another pair of rad sunglasses (how many does she have?!)

Haifa Wehbe on-set in Egypt 

Who dressed Haifa in those jeans? WHO?? No beauty queen ever allows baggy, 90s style jeans to touch her body–bad Haifa! Although I cannot deny, she almost pulls them off. Almost. I just think they make her body look kind of awkward, especially paired with those peep-toe heels.

Tamer Hosny and wife Basma


I don’t include male celebrities in these posts, but Tamer Hosny is my favorite Arabic singer of all time and I just had to comment on the fact that he has had another baby. He looks dashing as usual, although I prefer him with his longer hair; I cannot say the same for his wife Basma. I know she’s pregnant in the pic but she always looks so plain and boring, I’ll never understand how someone as hot and talented as Tamer married her. Congrats on the baby though!

 Haifa Wehbe on-set in Egypt

Again, whoever is the stylist for Haifa’s Meriam series is making poor styling choices and should be fired immediately. It looks like some street cat or dog agrees with me, because her boots look like they were mauled by a wild animal. The dress is pretty hideous too, but the purple-and-black color combination looks fabulous on her.

Somaia Elkhasab in Egypt

Usually women like to pose like Somaia is doing to show off a cool designer bag, but Somaia should be hiding her hands behind her back: that is one ugly bag. Her dress is kind of interesting but anyone who wears those stockings needs to sit down and have it explained to them that shiny-sheer stockings do not make your legs look better, nor do they hide anything, so you may as well go bare-legged.

Sandy Aly 

This isn’t kitschy or modern, it’s just ugly. Although, if the dress was just white Sandy would look like a beautiful hippie angel. So who has a white-out pen??

Ghada Abdel Razik

The dancing emoji washed her dress for the first time and all the color ran, leaving Ghada with this faded peachy red. She was so upset, she then hacked off the cha-cha ruffles and tacked them onto the bodice of the dress. Still not satisfied, Ghada decided a run would do her good so she threw on her sneakers, only to relize that they matched the dress.

Maya Diab

What a “pane!” Why is Maya dressed in this hideous jumpsuit? She clearly needs to take some jumpsuit lessons from Hadia, because this looks like it is made of plastic and is the antithesis of fashion. And FYI to her colorist: platinum blonde is not Maya’s color.

Dominique Hourani in the UAE

One of the most seriously awkward dresses I have ever set eyes on. The shape, the extremely short hemline, the weird color, cut-outs and rigid material: who designed this? And why did Dominique decide to buy it, put it on for a night out and, lastly, pair it with bridal pumps and an equally hideous purse?


The worst outfit to ever hit a red carpet, even if Amar is just boarding a private plane and not attending the Murex D’Or. A bright camo drawstring jacket worn as a dress with Those ubiquitous, elegant Valentino pumps and those headache-inducing sunglasses make me question her sanity, and especially whoever gave her that bouquet of flowers.


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