the scene: this was an eventful week in the Middle East, with plenty of big events that drew the region’s celebrities. the Mawazine music festival kicked off in Rabat, Morocco: it draws both international stars like Jennifer Lopez, Avicci and Pharrell Williams and regional stars perform in this celebrated festival. The Middle East Music Awards took place in Cairo, Egypt, awarding the regions best artists. The Golden Carpet AIBA Bollywood awards took place in Dubai. Media giant MBC’s SANAD gala dinner took place in Beirut. And the biggest event of them all, the Murex D’Or! The Murex D’or is like the Middle East Oscars and Grammys all rolled into one. In it’s 15th year, the ceremony takes place at the Casino du Liban in Beirut. Congrats to all the winners this week!
Fashionista of the week: All of these lovely ladies! I just couldn’t pick one this week
Trends: illusion netting, sparkles and tulle
Singer Shatha Hassoun at the Murex D’Or Awards at the Casino du Liban in Beirut, Lebanon
“Best Arabic Gulf Singer” AND Best Dressed: Shatha was THE definition of a winner as she graciously accepted her award in this drop-dead gorgeous kaftan. From the beaded waist and embroidered bodice to those intricate sheer sleeves, I think this is going to shoot Shatha’s stardom-and Selma Benomar kaftans-into the stratosphere. I think this is one of the most beautiful red-carpet looks I’ve ever seen.
The Moroccans clearly ruled the Lebanese red carpet: Dunia followed in Shatha’s footsteps with an equally amazing kaftan, updated with a shoulder-baring neckline. The little pops of blue embellishment are just gorgeous. Dunia also won an award, so congrats ya Maghreb!
Dalida Ayach with husband Ramy Ayach at the Murex D’or Awards
I personally felt like this was one of the more modern gowns of the show, perhaps because it wasn’t weighed down with 10 tonnes of beading, jewels and embellishment. It’s almost simple in a way, yet totally elegant and ethereal: that headpiece (atop Dalida’s stunning set of hair) was a perfect touch.
Actress Leila Ben Khalifa at the Murex D’or Awards
An Ice Queen on her summer vacation: this was an interesting dress, from the casual cap-sleeves and low neckline to the skirt, which looked really stunning from the side. Leila is definitely melting everyone’s hearts with this gown!
Singer Cyrine Abdelnour at the SANAD Gala in Beirut, Lebanon
Cyrine was strangely absent from the Murex D’or Awards like many other of the more famous artists (Haifa? Nancy? Elissa? Myriam?), probably because they would have blown the competition out of the water: there is not a single bad thing I can say about this look.
In Arabic ‘Amar’ means ‘moon’ but in Spanish ‘amar’ means ‘love.’ I love everything about Amar’s birthday outfit, from that silvery slightly too-youthful dress to those amour-worthy sandals.
Melissa didn’t attend a red-carpet event this week, but I couldn’t help but include her flawless Valentino jumpsuit: Valentino’s L’amour designs are trending right now, and Melissa took it to a superstar level with those CRAZY boots.
Actress Nadine Njeim at the Murex D’or Awards
Miss Lebanon 2007 shows that an insane princess dress doesn’t require pageant hair by keeping her styling casual. Get ready for miles upon miles of sparkles, sequins, jewels, lace, intricate embroidery and flowers, all of which are requisite for a traditional Lebanese gown. Zuhair Murad, along with Elie Saab, put this style of gown on the style map, and every.single.Lebanese.designer has since followed suit
TV Host/Producer Carine Salameh Shalhoob at the Murex D’or Awards
It’s a bit pageant-y and tacky, but the more I looked at Carine’s dress the more I was mesmerized by it. I love the flower-bedecked straps and that color certainly made her stand out from the crowd of other sparkly, flowery, tulle-bedecked gowns.
Singer Myriam Fares performing at a wedding in Doha, Qatar
Caped elegance: how can you not say that Myriam looks like a wood nymph queen? I mean, who else but a wood nymph would have such perfect hair?!?
Models Rina and Romy Chibany at the Murex D’or Awards
Who wore it better? It’s hard to say: both Chibany twins look equally stunning. I bet they get tired of being constantly compared. Apparently, fairy-nymph-princess was the theme of the red carpet this week, although their headcrowns remind me more of the type worn by Ancient Greek athletes.
Socialite Rosemin Manji and TV Personality Diala Makki at the Hermes Silk Ball in Dubai, UAE
If you don’t look like a fairy-nymph-princess, you can at least bedeck yourself in floral couture, as Rosemin and Diala did here. Not sure I like the plain beige bodice on Diala’s dress, but these two ruled the Hermes Silk Ball.
Singer Assala with her daughter Sham at the Mawazine Festival in Rabat, Morocco
Awwww! I don’t know why but Assala’s kaftan in particular reminds me of a sugar cookie; that deep lavender color is so pretty against the creamy white. I really cannot wait until the next time I go to Morocco inshallah so I can get my hands on some real kaftans.
Socialite and Philanthropist Dana Halabi at the Murex D’or
It kind of looks like she’s wearing a heavily bejeweled leotard that happens to have some extra material attached to it, but it’s a really lovely dress and an interesting choice of color which I don’t normally like; however, Dana pulls it off.
Singer Sherine at the Middle East Music Awards in Cairo, Egypt
Sherine glowed as bright as her MEMA Award (which she won for best singer). She looks like the happiest little girl at her tea party birthday or something (although I doubt little girls wear heels quite so high).
TV Anchor Darine Chaheen at the Murex D’or Awards
Ethereal without being over-the-top, with only a slight nod to the sheer-netting and over-embellishment popular with Lebanese designers. Darine should have left that fluffy hair back in the 80s though.
TV Personality Aline Lahoud at the Murex D’or Awards
Aline is laughing because she decided to eschew most of the requisite gown trappings (except the illusion netting) and yet she looked more refined and elegant than most of the ladies at the Murex D’or.
TV Host Nisrine Zawahra at the Murex D’or Awards
This is a beautiful dress, marred by the fact that the designer tried to outline Nisrine’s body with nude netting. If this was the Oscars there wouldn’t be netting on that neckline, but this is Lebanon: some modesty is required.
Singer Ibtissam Tiskat with Singer Tamer Hosny (in white) at the Middle East Music Awards
Dresses are for losers: Ibtissam, who picked up the New Artist award, decided to pick this winning glittery top and pants combo instead, and she simply shone. It doesn’t hurt to pose with the handsome Tamer Hosny (Best Male Singer) either!
TV Presenter Marie Noelle Khattar at the Murex D’or Awards
I guess they ran out of diamonds and beads in Lebanon by the time Marie went to order her dress, so all that was left was gold leaf.
Actress Aya Tiba at the Murex D’or Awards
Actress Nancy Afiouny Fenianos at the Murex D’or Awards
Miss Intercontinental 2007 proves that she can do two things at once by posing as she walks up a staircase in a cloud of tulle. Sorry Nancy, they don’t give out awards for that talent though here.
Anchor Mahira Abdel Aziz at the Murex D’or Awards
Refreshingly different from everyone else at the ceremony, but it’s a tad awkward looking. I think it’s supposed to be a crop top and skirt, but for modesty’s sake Mahira added a black tank top underneath.
Singer Nida Ibourk performing at the Mawazine Festival in Rabat, Morocco
Did Nida buckle her kaftan with a seatbelt? It looks so. Then again, her profile says ‘Chicago,’ so if she grew up in the states we have to give her some slack for belting her kaftan like this. It’s an nice look otherwise.
Singer Majida El Roumi performing at the Mawazine Festival
Majida is raising her hand to let everyone know that the REAL Queen of Arabic Music is here, and everyone else better just zip their pretty lips. Majida’s been around forever, and it looks like she unearthed that kaftan from her old tour trunks from 20 years ago, but it’s a beautiful vintage piece (if it is indeed vintage).
Elissa at the Mawazine Music Festival
Where is Elissa’s personal assistant? She’s clearly holding out her sunglasses for her absent PA to hold, and that grimace is clearly due to the fact that her hapless PA forgot to iron those pants before the conference.
Actress Maguy Boughosn at the Murex D’or Awards
Maguy was a winner at the Murex D’or, which she probably knew ahead of time which is why she decided to choose a gown which perfectly exemplifies Lebanese glamor, so no one could say anything bad about her picture when it appeared in all the press. It’s pretty, but I’d like to chop off the skirt at the knee.
Singers Elissa, Ragheb and Donia Samir Ghanem on The X Factor Live, Lebanon
Elissa embrace’s the Amour of her dress to blow kisses at the crowd, thankful that she beat out co-judge Donia in this week’s X Factor dress battle. Donia’s dress isn’t awful, but I just hate satin, ruffles and that jade color, particularly in jade satin.
Singer Mai Selim and her sister at the Middle East Music Awards
Nothing comes between Mai and her MEMA award, nor Mai and her skintight little red dress. She’s got the megawatt smile of a star, but the pearls bring this look into 50s Egyptian cinema territory.
News anchor Rasha Khatib at the Murex D’or Awards pre-event
Intense fuschia can only be paired with an equally intense spray tan. Khati glows, but I think the overall effect is more Jersey Shore teen at prom.
Singer Amal Maher performing at the Mawazine Music Festival
Amal looks like a beautiful old-fashioned movie star from the neck up and the ankles down; what’s happening in the middle, however, is just disappointing. Why oh why would she choose this colorless boring dress to preform on the same stage that J.Lo did a few days before?
Fashion stylist and Reality TV Star Serene Assad with Elyse Hyndy at the Murex D’or Awards
Serene and her friend are smirking because they managed to worm their way onto the red carpet without being actors or singers. Serene’s dress is pretty cool, although I hate those boring pumps; the drape on Elyse’s dress is a nod to Bollywood saris.
Singer Yara at the Murex D’or Awards
The “Best Lebanese singer” she may be (according to the Murex judges, anyway) but Yara is definitely not the Best Dressed at the ceremony. Hair and makeup are beautiful, but this gown is just boring.
Actress Jowy June at the Murex D’or Awards pre-event
Fairy-nymph-princess may have been the theme, but Jowy looks like she’s dressing up for Halloween: the gown is just too costumey paired with that hair, although I think it looks better from the back.
Dunia Batma performing at the Kuwait International Music Festival in Kuwait
The dress-and her hair-look too big for Dounia. Also, whoever decided beige satin was good for a dress?!?! For once, I would have preferred to see illusion netting over this material which looks like it should be on some 1940’s starlet’s bedding.
Singer Diana Haddad at the Murex D’or Awards
IS THAT ILLUSION NETTING HOLDING UP DIANA’S GOWN?? WHYYY??? (Congrats on your award though!)
Singer Dominique Hourani at the AIBA Bollywood Awards in Dubai, UAE
To hide the fact that she is not a Bollywood star, Dominique decided to blend in with the golden carpet. She looks flawless, but I’m not a big fan of solid gold gowns.
Actress/model Jory Bakr at the AIBA Bollywood Awards in Dubai
Miss Egypt Tourism, as she was once crowned, didn’t try to hide the fact that she isn’t a Bollywood star in this dramatic gown. It’s an unsual print, and I like the sequin beading along the hem of the train. Hands up, Jory!
Nancy Fiouny at the SANAD Gala in Beirut, Lebanon
Elissa performing at the Mawazine Music Festival
Didn’t Elissa wear something just like this last week for the X Factor? I want to like the 70s bohemian vibe of this jumpsuit, but somehow that gets lost in translation and Elissa just looks boring, per usual.
Ibtissam Tiskat en route to the MEMA awards
Despite winning a MEMA award, Ibtissam is clearly still not rich nor famous enough to hire somebody to carry her bags for her…OR style her, if this jumpsuit is any indication. It looks like somebody mugged her on her way into the airport and slashed up her clothes, although clearly they didn’t want to steal those hideous sneakers, no matter how expensive they are.
Assala at the Mawazine Festival in Rabat, Morocco
Unlike Ibtissam, Assala is well-established and wealthy enough to hire several stylists, and yet she let them talk her into this rebel-punk mess. She looks like an Arab Madonna (as in the singer), trying to desperately hang onto her youth.
Jane is on a manhunt to find her Tarzan. Given men’s one-track mind, that dress might have not been the worst pick unless her Tarzan has a style pulse. Pairing it with those shoes makes me think she’s been lost in the jungle far too long!
TV Presenter Bruna Tohme at the Murex D’or Awards
I have a theory: Bruna was out hunting for Tarzan with Jane when her gown’s lace bodice ripped. In a jam, she used some heavy duty ducktape to patch up the dress and high-tailed it to the Murex D’or, where she simultaneously looked ridiculous and, weirdly, sexy. She actually kind of pulls this off.
Reality TV stars Alice, Farah and Nadine Abdel Azizat the Murex D’or Awards
There IS such a thing as being too tall, too skinny and too tan: the Abdel Aziz sisters look like awkwardly posed store mannequins with the worst makeup jobs ever. For girls who’ve made their name as “Stylish Beirutians” they look like fashion victims here. And for God’s sake could they smile??
TV Presenter Rabia Azayyat at the SANAD Gala Dinner in Beirut
Can anyone figure out what’s going on with the bodice of this dress? It mars an otherwise dramatic Goth-chic gown, as does that box-I mean purse-Rabia is carrying. What’s in there? An award winner’s fingers, hacked off in revenge?
TV Personality Joelle Mardinian and Fashion Blogger Sarah at the Hermes Silk Ball in Dubai
Trying too hard. Joelle’s dress is OK but she looks like a wax figurine of herself: what is up with celebrities getting those fixed hairlines? Hello, painful?! Sara, aka fashion blogger Urban Marshmallow, reminds me of a burnt marshmallow here. A burnt marshmallow who should have left that sad little headpiece at home.
TV Personality Boosy at the Murex D’or Awards
Singer Bassem Feghali at the Murex D’or Awards
Before morphing into legendary Lebanese singer Sabah for her tribute performance, Bassem posed in this underwhelming but beautifully colored dress next to a Murex. What is a Murex, you ask? A Murex is a “predatory tropical sea snail” that eats other sea creatures. Please don’t ask me why the organizers of the Murex D’or decided to give out awards in the shape of a predatory sea snail, or how predatory sea snails equate with acting and singing, but it certainly is more interesting than a little statuette of a gold man named Oscar.
Actress Sara Abi Kanaan at the Murex D’or Awards
In anticipation of her Best Supporting Actress award, Sara decided to dress like a golden, gilted, glossy tropical predatory sea snail trapped in a fisherman’s net.
Presenter Paula Yacoubian at the Murex D’or Awards
The bodice of this gown looks like a limousine window that had a bullet shot through it. It’s a shame, because the striped skirt is very lovely, but Paula-along with the rest of the Levant’s stars-need to tell their designers that they will not accept illusion netting anymore.
Anchor Hiba Zaidan at the Murex D’or Awards pre-event
Joining the Abdel Aziz mannequins is the Hiba mannequin, styled in an equally atrocious half-gown. But at least the Hiba mannequin is smiling like she’s having fun being taken out of the store window for a night on the town.
Model/TV Personality Amel Bouchoucha at the Murex D’or Awards
Amel was also hunting for Tarzan with Jane and Bruna (see above) when she completely destroyed her dress. She she wrapped endless yards of ducktape to create a bodice and stopped by her mom’s house to grab a set of drapes and called it a day. I don’t think even Tarzan would go for this.
Singer Arwa (right) and Diana Rizk at the SANAD Gala Dinner in Beirut
If your dress has to say “Queen” on it, chances are you probably are NOT a queen and therefore shouldn’t be wearing it, especially when it’s as hideous as Diana’s hotpink montstrocity. Arwa’s dress is not much better: it looks like her grandmother’s brooch collection spilled all over her favorite tablecloth.
Assala at the Murex D’Or
Assala was a winner at the Murex D’or. She is a legendary singer, with the pipes to prove it. So WHY, WHY WHY did she wear this sad nod to 80s fashion? This gown looks like something she would have worn at the beginning of her career, when she had awful fluffy fried hair (then again, her badly dyed hair here doesn’t look too much better) than now, when she is a classy established singer.
TV Presenter Elkilany Wafaa at the Murex D’or Awards
At first glance I thought this was Arwa. Ekilany Wafaa is new to my radar, but she’s gonna have to try harder if she wants to stay on it. This dress is not interesting enough, and that weird back ruffle isn’t doing it any favors.
Like Nisrine, Maria chooses a beautiful navy gown that is marred by nude illusion netting that attempts to outline her body-in this case, her boobs. I think there should be a hashtag campaign started, like #SayNoToIllusion or something.
Najwa Karam at the 63rd iNternational Committee LA Philharmonic Orxhestra Ball in Los Angeles, USA
Najwa looks more young and chic nowadays than she did 20 years ago when she started her career, but like Assala, she decided to go retro and pick that crazy fried bouffant hairstyle and this crazy tacky dress. Is that a black bra showing??
Journalist Maria Maaloufat the Murex D’or Awards
Is Maria pregnant? Does she have a food baby? How else to explain that weird bubble around her waist? It’s weird how the lace kind of just stops and hangs there like the saddest peplum.
WORST. This is the world’s most glammified muumuu, designed for old ladies who want to look good when they hit up the casino and flirt with the other old men spending their money (or maybe the hotter, younger blackjack dealers) while trying to relive their glory days. I mean, a leopard-print-lined gown? Who thought this was good for anyone?