Fashion of Arabia #5: Shirt dresses, ill-fitting couture and vivid florals 

 What’s Goin’ On: The 2015 Cannes Film Festival, which OK is in France and not the Middle East but it’s still a big deal. Actually, I’m making a point of including it because I have seen like two Arabs on the entire Croisette. What gives? Cannes is more international than, say, the Oscars, and Bollywood stars are always represented but yet no prominent Arab stars are there, besides the dashing Mohammed Al-Turki who’s not an actor but a director. Putain! Also: The Arab Media Awards took place in Dubai (apparently it’s Dubai’s version of the Oscars) and it looks like Sheik Al-Rashid was there. Could you imagine Barack Obama attending the Oscars?

Fashionista of the week: Paola Elsitt, for the second week in a row! I am just in love with her style, her designs are fun but still chic, and she accessorizes them perfectly.

Trends of the week: Shirt dresses, ill-fitting couture and vivid florals

 Nadya Hasan in Paris, France  Florals tend to provoke a love-hate relationship with me; apparently this is not the case with Arab fashionistas, since many chose to don this most typical of all spring trends. Nadya ruled the pack as Best Dressed of the Week with this beautiful dress. The colors and fit, the matching accessories (those shoes!!) this was a fashion victory.
Nadya Hasan

WHAT A SKIRT. It’s so breathtaking, it looks like she walked through a hothouse and literally became the hothouse, panes and all. Those lilac Prada pumps are equally to die for, and were apparently custom made and not part of Prada’s spring collection as she told my sister on Instagram. Mere mortals aren’t allowed to own lilac Prada pumps!

Paola Elsitt in Lebanon 

Get ready for a boatload of Paola Elsitt looks, because this Lebanese designer was on a roll this week. Granted, I’d like to see her wear something besides her own designs, but when they look this good who cares? That color is amazing on her, the print showcases this week’s vivid floral trend, and you already know I love those crazy shoes.

 Hadia Ghaleb in Egypt

I would love to A) go to brunch and B) wear this super blue dress and those heels. Or maybe just C) be as cool as apparently Hadia is. That choker was a great touch!

balmain dress.

 This was for a fashion shoot so I wouldn’t technically say it’s Amar’s personal style, but this Balmain dress deserves to be mentioned because it is just so fabulous. And I would wear it in a second if I had a place to wear it to (and the money to, you know, pay for it too).

Paola Elsitt in Lebanon

I don’t think the shapes would work on anyone who isn’t as tan and skinny and gorgeous as Paola, but together this is an excellent example of that kitschy-glam girly fashion that Middle Eastern fashionistas excel at wearing. Freaking love the purse and sunglasses (apparently Paola agrees).

Paola Elsitt in Lebanon

 I warned you there’d be a lot of Mlle Paola. Another vivid floral In a flowy, relaxed shape. It looks a little loose in the bust, but you can’t have everything. 

Lolo Al Aslawi in Kuwait

goyard purse.

 Easy-breezy summer dressing, meet heavy make-up: the two just do not go together. But I really do love this dress, and that perfectly structured Goyard purse. Hand it over, Lolo, and I won’t have to report your for make-up crimes against humanity.

Douja Hijazi in Beirut, Lebanon   Sexy and mysterious, two words I usually don’t use to describe Arab fashionistas. I absolutely love those sleeves the puesdo-cape look and the plunging neckline. Also, Douja is giving major face, which probably ups the sexy/mysterious factor.

Sofia Al-Asfoor at Saks in Dubai, UAE 
Sofia’s bags are totally haute and a bit rebellious and so is her style here. I’m not a fan of the whole sneakers that look like athletic sneakers trend but those are almost dainty, and the top couldn’t get any more haute (and heavy) if it tried.

Hadia Ghaleb in Egypt

    Hadia takes over Dominique Hourani’s purple reign from last week in this fun metallic purple ensemble.  I don’t really like how she accessorized that multi-purpose jumpsuit, but it’s still a great going-out look.

Alanoud Badr in Dubai,UAE        Alanoud has hopped aboard the Pineapple express! I really like the idea of this jumpsuit and the colors too, but there’s something pajama-y and awkward about this. I bet if Hadia Ghaleb, Queen of the Jumpsuits, threw it on I wouldn’t feel the same way, though.

Reham AlNahii  Reham’s Instagram is private so I don’t know who the heck she is but what I do know is that she’s killing the fashion competition in this outfit. Taking a cue from the Abdel Aziz sisters and the kitsch look, Reham manages to take several strong and different pieces and put them together effortlessly. Bravo!

Dunia Batma

chaimae kaftan.

 Dunia keeps the kaftans coming in this stunning, sparkly number. Seriously, how many hours did it take to embroider that thing?? Also, Dunia proves that even if you’re dressed like a couture princess you can still act like a Basic B!tch and take photos in your hotel pre-event to make sure you have at least one good shot of your dress.

Maram Ben Aziza at the Furla boutique opening in Tunisia

Wow! This is the type of outfit you see and feel inspired by. It’s the type of outfit that was made for the style section. It’s unusual, a bit daring, and totally fashion. Bravo Maram!
Haifa Wehbe in Cairo, Egypt

ennaro scervino dress. casadei pumps.

 Bringing old-fashioned glamour and elegance back to Cairo.  This reminds me of Haifa’s best-dressed look the first week I started these fashion posts. Blue looks very good on her.

Paola Elsitt in Amman, Jordan 

A dress, vivid florals, awesome accessories (WHERE are those heels from?!?) and perfect hair? Yup, it’s Paola 24/7. The Jordanians don’t stand a chance against her.

Annabella Hilal and Mayssa Maghrebi at the Arab Media Forum in Dubai, UAE

mayssa in stella mccartney dress.

 It looks like these two beauties belong at two separate Valentines Day parties; alas, they’re both actually at the Arab Media Forum. Annabella gives us ill-fitting, wrinkly couture, not to mention the most basic top imaginable and ill-styled hair. Mayssa looks flat-out stunning-I’ve seen that dress before and ABSOLUTELY LOVE IT-but it’s kind of a strong look for a business forum, no?

Paola Elsitt in Lebanon

Dress? Vivid florals? Crazy-cool accessories? Perfect hair? Check, check, check, and check! The color of this dress is kind of ugly, but Paola as usual proves her formula works and trumps even ugly colors.

Najwa Karam performing in Detroit, USA

bassem nehme gown.

 So Najwa came to the United States for a tour, decided to go to Atlantic City, NJ instead of NYC (whyyy must all Arab performers do this and break my heart?) and for that performance wore the red gown she wore last week. Sorry, Najwa, but if you thought no American would notice you are wrong! Anyways, for her Detroit concert she wore this ethereal dress in some magnificent shade of purple I don’t even know what to call. Nice save (but perform in New York next time, pleaaase!)

Queen Rania of Jordan in Jordan

 I wish more Arab princesses/queens/royal underlemmings were on Instagram and dressed as interesting as Queen Rania does. I mean, those shoes? Kind of a rebellious choice for a Queen-could you imagine Duchess Kate in them? All she wears is boring office pumps.

Salma Rachid at the Meditel Awards in Morocco

donatella trading gown.

 SELENA GOMEZ’S MOROCCAN TWIN. This was the first thing I thought when I found Salma’s account on Instagram. The second thing I thought was that her dress was lovely, and makes her look even more so like a Disney Channel princess. 

Haifa Wehbe in Egypt

giuseppe zanotti heels. dolce & gabbana teeshirt. ysl purse.

 How does she pull it off?!? Together, a short flouncy cotton-candy skirt should not work with a t-shirt and those crazy strappy punky heels, but Haifa makes it work. Also, does she look 42 or however old she’s supposed to be? No. She looks younger than me, for crying out loud.

Dominique Hourani at the Carolina Herrera Internationl Perfume Launch event in Dubai, UAE

louis vuitton purse.

Some mermaid is going to crawl out of the Arabian Gulf, hunt down Dominique and demand that she return her gown or else suffer the wrath of her siren song. I like the gown actually, and I am strangely drawn to those frosted platform pumps (much like a siren song) even though they don’t go well with the gown much.

Stephany Seliba in Beirut, Lebanon  Normally I loathe the idea of buttoned-up shirts paired with fancy skirts, but I really like this, except for the fact that Stephany’s skirt needs to be sent to the dry cleaners ASAP along with Annabella Hilal’s pink mess. Also, it’s kind of a wintry outfit; hey Stephany, have you checked the calendar recently?
Alice Abdel Aziz in Beirut, Lebanon

  Casual chic. The length of that skirt might be bad on anyone who’s not 7 feet tall like Alice, but I have to say I am so glad to see someone in sneakers that don’t look like they’re meant for the gym.

Yosra Jedidi at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France

Tunisian actress Yosra Jedidi, who I couldn’t find like ANYWHERE on Google, was also one of, like, 2 Arabs invited to the Cannes Film Festival (I’m aware I just said ‘like’ twice). That dress is a master example of perfect tailoring (ladies, take note) and that back necklace (part of the dress?) is stunning. Can someone please tell me what she’s acted in??
Balqees Fathi

 Balqees kind of looks like a professor I had, except I don’t think said professor would ever wear something as ladylike as this, given that she kind of looked like a mess in class. Balqee’s throws it back to old-fashioned glamour without actually looking like she time-traveled from the 1940s.

Nicole Sabaa

 That is one show-stopper of a dress, and I think Nicole is grimacing because it probably weighs 10 tons. It actually reminds me more of Bollywood style than a Moroccan kaftan, despite the fact that there’s no belly skin showing. One word of advice to Nicole, though: change your hair style. That half-blonde, half-brunette ram-rod straight hair looks good on no one.

Nadine Labaki at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France

 Nadine is a Lebanese film director and on the Un Certain Regard jury panel at Cannes, making her the most visible Arab there besides Saudi director Haifaa Al-Mansour, also on the panel, and my ManCrushMonday Mohammed Al-Turki. The Elie Saab dress would look better if it fit, well, better, and she didn’t pair it with those hideous shoes. The pantsuit is gorgeous and pure Cannes, and I usually hate anything with the word suit in it (unless, of course, it’s a suit on a guy. I love a guy in a suit).

Jannat in Morocco

I know it’s prom season here in the States, but that doesn’t explain why Jannat ended up with the same hair-do as a Texan prom queen. That aside, she looks very pretty here.

Samar Seraqui de Buttafoco at the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France

elie saab gown. roger vivier vintage clutch.  

Better known by her Insta/blog name “Une Libanaise a Paris,” Samar is not a celebrity but she’s repping stylish Arabs so I had to include her. It’s not typical Elie Saab (i.e. pastel, sparkly, lacey and embroidered to the Nines) but I am absolutely in love with it: this is how I imagine it would look if one viewed a watercolor painting through a kaleidoscope window pane. If that makes any sense.

Elissa and Donia Samir Raghem on The X Factor, Lebanon

  The X Factor ladies continue to improve! A for Elissa’s bouncy high ponytail (much better than Beyonce’s Met Gala disaster, in my opinion) and mini-dress but I’d ditch the pumps, which are apparently so boring they’re barely visible here. Donia gets a B+ because I don’t like her shoes and I’m not sure she’s the person to pull off that sparkly romper, although it’s certainly a fun look.
Nawal el Zoghbi

zuhair murad dress.

Nawal, don’t you have Zuhair Murad on speed dial? I know he’s probably dressing all those pouty American celebrities at Cannes, but get him on the line because both of you should be embarrassed about this baggy dress.

Ola Farahat in Cannes, France 

Une (autre) Libanaise a (Cannes)! Ola turns the streets into her own Croisette red carpet with this elegant summer dress. The jury’s still out on that humongous bow tied around her waste: it kind of makes her look like a bride.

Sheida in Dubai, UAE

“A Wrinkle in Time:” That’s what Sheida will be reading while she waits for her gown to be dry-cleaned along with Annabella and Stephany. Nice purse though!

Najwa Karam performing in Boston, USA First you wear the same gown twice, than you put Boston to sleep with this boring lemon dress? Najwa, this would be the time to pull out all those insanely sparkly Saab and Murad and Charbel Zoe gowns: you’re touring the USA!

Nancy Ajram performing in Kuwait

saint laurent dress.

  The Texan Prom Queen who did Jannat’s hair jumped on a flight to Kuwait next to do Nancy’s hair, despite her parent’s ardent warnings that she shouldn’t go into “A-Rab” territory. LOL but seriously, what’s with the hair? And please, Nancy: millions of women never want to wear collared shirts and suit jackets to work ever again, and here you are wearing a shirt-dress for your performance.

Maya Nehme at the Lebanese German University Mr. And Miss Competition in Beirut, Lebanon

Are you too broke to go to a salon, Maya? Then get thee to a beauty supply shop (since I doubt your drugstores sell hair dye, along with microwave dinners and household cleaning products like CVS does here in the states) and DYE YOUR ROOTS! I don’t mind the dress, although it kind of looks like she tried to make an extremely short mini-dress more conservative by pulling on a long skirt; those shoes, however, need to go the way of her hair.

Diala Makki at the 2015 Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, France

Diala, I’d be happier that you’re representing Dubai/the Greater Middle East at Cannes too if you didn’t wear this. What happened to that stunning floral dress from last week? Why wasn’t that packed? This dress is nice but so forgettable, and the pink shoes were a stupid choice,

 Maya Diab performing in Jordan


Black and white is the epitome of chic, and Maya seems to be favoring this color combination recently. Yet like last week’s jumpsuit mess, this striped gown is also kind of hideous. I don’t think the thigh-high slit helps.

Paola Elsitt in Lebanon


 A rare misstep for Paola. Although I want to steal those sunglasses and purse right off of her, they can’t distract me enough from that horridly girly dress. And for some reason those crazy platforms of her’s, which I usually adore, just add to the outfit’s tackiness.

Nadine Labanaki at the Cannes Film Festival 2015, Cannes, France

Another ill-fitting piece of couture, not to mention boring and predictable. And what color is it-am I seeing things or is the bottom half purple?!? Nadine loses most of her points though with those terrible piece-y bangs: why are French women/wannabe-French women so obsessed with bangs? I had them when I was a kid and grew them out for a reason.

Joelle Mardinian In Dubai, UAE 

Joelle, I know you are super-busy but there’s no excuse for going outside with wet hair (although it will probably dry before you encounter another human being there in Dubai). Also, there’s no excuse for finding the only ugly Zena Presley design that exists.

Abeer Sabry and Feriel Yousef at Sauce in Dubai, UAE

It was a terrible week for Abeer. First, She and fellow actress Feriel were caught trying on these incredibly tacky and immature, yet still kind of fun outfits. Then, shortly after taking this happy photo, she was accosted while checking out by an Emirati woman in an abaya who yelled at her for exiting the dressing room several times during her shopping excursion while in her underwear. The Confrontation  was filmed and went viral, although Abeer may get the last laugh: legal action may be taken against her harasser.

Carole Samaha

For the past few months Carole’s Instagram has been nothing but boring selfies and shots from the waist up, but this photo explains why: she’s pregnant! Also, she’s doing us a public service by sparing us a boring pregnancy wardrobe (if this is any indication). Nevertheless, alf mabrouk!

Nadine Abdel Aziz in Beirut, Lebanon

That croptop speaks the truth: after watching the episode of The Sister’s when Nadine gets rid of Alice’s adorable baby kitten like it’s a bag of trash I kind of hate her. I will try to separate that hate from my judgement of her fashion choices but it will be difficile. Although Nadine pulls this off beause of her model figure, it really is a BAD outfit.


 Amar has an addiction to Moschino’s whimsy designs and thus apparently must wear whatever they put out even if it’s completely hideous. She looks like she was playing baseball and was on the losing team, which had to strip to their undies.

Alice Abdel Aziz and Serene Assas in Beirut, Lebanon

 I don’t know why, but “Fashion Victims” was the first thing I thought when I saw this pic. Serene’s showing off the ugly shirt-dress trend and some random/ugly styling. While I actually really like Alice’s dress (I’m a sucker for navy) I think her styling is also random. And ugly.

 Stephanie Seliba in Beirut, Lebanon


Stephany, when I said please check your calendar and dress for springtime I didn’t know you had bought nothing new for spring so you decided to raid your daughter/neice’s closet and pull out the first thing that screamed “spring.” Beause no matter how flawless your hair and make-up job is, you just look like a caterpillar here. I am not kidding. 

Fafi Abd El Aziz in Lebanon

What the hell is this. Instead of red-hot, Fafi’s dress choice and styling fizzles like a shisha who’s coals haven’t been changed in a n hour.  Why, Fafi? Even if you threw on a pair of skinny jeans and swapped out those hideus sneakers this would he a lot better.

Jenny Esber in Lebanon 
Is Jenny made out of wax? Plastic? Is she a blow-up doll? If she isn’t then, that atrocious dress she’s got on certainly must be. There’s no illusion netting holding up that weird black spine panel, so it must be clear….plastic. 😳

Fifi Abdou

 In her defense, Fifi did call this is a “costume.” Whether that was simply misuse of the English language or she did really mean that this was a costume-hence allowed to be outrageus/out of character/hideous like Halloween costumes sometimes are-is unsure. Either way, this is outrageous and downright hideous (but I’m not so sure out of character).


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