It was a busy two weeks for Arab Fashionistas: Lebanon’s Radio Delta hosted the 2nd Delta Awards honoring Lebanese in the media at Les Talus in Beirut on July 22nd, which saw a performance by Maya Nehme and student dancers from her dance school. The Arouwad Awards took place at the Hilton Habtoor on July 31st. Although neither event attracted any mega stars, the fashionistas who attended showed off some pretty unique looks that were not designed, for once, by Zuhair Murad, Charbel Zoe or Elie Saad, aka the Kings of Encrusted/Embroidered/illusion/sequin gowns.
What else? The Cedars International Festival opened in Bsharri, Lebanon on August 1st, 50 years after the last one took place (the musical event started in the 1960s). Lebanon also celebrated the Lebanese Army Day on August 1st with different events, including a solidarity race with the French army troops. International artists and Lebanese acts mingled at the Beirut Holidays (est. 2012) festival which took place in the Beirut souqs from July 20-Aug 1st.
Morocco celebrated La fete du trone, the coronation date of Mohammed VI, as it does every year on July 30th. The 8th edition of the Voix de Femmes Festival took place in Tetouan, Morocco, a girl-power event created for and by women that saw Moroccan, African and Lebanese artists perform; a bazaar showcasing Moroccan handicrafts also took place. The 12th edition of the Timitar Festival (the 2009 concert saw attendance of 500,000 people) featured a variety of Moroccan acts as well as International Acts hailing from Europe (France, Spain, Portugal), Africa (Cap Vert) and the Middle East (Lebanon, Jordan) in Agadir, Morocco, from July 22-25th.
The Jerash Music Festival opened on July 23rd in Jerash, Jordan: this huge international festival attracts the regions biggest singers as well as more “traditional” performing dancing and singing acts and also includes shopping exhibits and food bazars, poetry readings, lectures and other cultural events. Tunisia celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Festival International de Carthage, which took place over several weeks mid-July with the gorgeous backdrop of the ancient Carthage amphitheater. International and local singers of all musical genres perform and festival goers are treated to dramatic acts, plays, operas and comedy shows.
Lebanese TV Presenter Stephany Saliba at the Delta Awards 2015 in Beirut, Lebanon If Belle and the Beast had their famous ballroom dance in one of the castle flower gardens during the daytime, I’m sure Belle would have been wearing this lighter, more ethereal version of her classic yellow gown. Stephany was the Belle of the Deltas, hands down: her gown was gorgeous (especially with the bow); her hair was princess-approved and she looked like she was having a great time. My only question is: what the hell is in her hands? A fuzzy pipecleaner??
Lebanese singer Nicole Sabaa onstage at the Deltas
Amazing-superhero-empowered woman jumpsuit and cape, paired with the most basic bitch pair of platforms that can be found on any wannabe-wealthy American basic bitch. Don’t be a basic bitch Nicole, be a superhero. Another view: The front is a bit odd, but the silhouette is too powerful to matter much. Lebanese singer Viviane Mrad’s dress looks like s wannabe, knockoff Zuhair Mrad creation; and talk about cleavage!
Lebanese Sandy Farah Hakim
Sandy looks like Stephany Saliba in this photo; they probably are related, given that Lebanon is not exactly a huge country. The dress is gorgeous and a lovely color, but Sandy’s facial expression and pose seem to say she’s holding the skirt of the gown out, saying “yea you see it? Good, now go harass someone else for a pic.”
Lebanese actress Nadine Njeim
It’s a Zuhair Murad: you know there’s going to be more illusion netting and glittery, icy embroidered fabric than at the Ice Capades. Nadine almost pulls off that insane neckline, but alas this is too much: she needs Cleavage Control.
Lebanese journalist Eva Makdessi with Lebanese singer Maya NehmeThese two blondes look like they’d rather be at a punk-rock ball. Eva’s dress is all-around ugly, but Maya looks stellar, except those weird bangs being pulled across her forehead.
You wave that weapon-er, award- Waad! The gown is an unusual shade of blue, and I like the corset.
Pamela is perfect proof that a pair of platforms can punctuate…. In the wrong way. I would prefer this peach gown much more if the sleeves weren’t so comically superhero-long, and she wasn’t wearing those 70s-reject platforms.
Lebanese actress Rabea Azayyat
Don’t cry, Rabiaa: if you keep dressing this elegantly maybe you’ll be invited to an international awards ceremony. So smile, and keep carrying cool clutches like this one and maybe you’ll catch someone’s eye.
Lebanese singer Rima Al Sharif (center)
Lebanese TV presenter Sandra Mansour
Are those hands printed on the sides of Sandra’s gown? Is she being groped by her own (unflattering, wrinkled, confusing) dress?!
Best Arabic Actress Ms. bouchoucha may be, but Best Dressed she is not. The heavy fabric over her boobs; the half-assed straps falling down and the weird color of the netting all conspire to make this the second-worst look of the night.
Soha was attacked by a mob of Evil Stepsisters on the way to the Deltas, because it’s the only valid explanation for why her dress looks the way it does. Who slits a dress practically to the navel, and then directly up till her hoo-haa is practically showing??
Lebanese TV PresStephany Saliba Stephany is nailing these award shows! I’d call her look “Beautiful Cloud Fairy gets stuck in a Water Spout in her way to the Arouwad Awards. I’d call her friend’s look “Club girl gate-crashes the red carpet).
Lebanese Model Reine Sabty
Reine is definitely reigning over the red carpet in this mystical, magical creation in the most marvelous of colors (FYI, I have a thing for alliteration). Also FYI: I wore identical sandals to my cousin’s wedding when I was 14.
Lebanese Dana HalibiI didn’t know a tablecloth could look so beautiful. What would have looked heavy and matronly on any of the other Arouwad guests looks ravishing on Dana: the punky pink clutch was a cool choice, and hair and makeup are fabuloud. Least girlfriend knows she could have a second job if her day job fails.
Lebanese Actress Christina Sawaya, actress Nancy Afiouny, TV presenter Aline Ahmat and model Reine Sabty
Am I looking at the night sky or a bunch of ballgowns? Between the four of them these ladies are wearing more sparkles than there are stars in the sky. Christina’s dress is hardly star-worthy: it looks like your basic prom dress, and the ugly clutch does not help. Aline’s red dress is also boring but she looks statuesque. Nancy’s dreds would have been stellar, what with its constellation sparkles, if the peplum was shorter and the dress better fitted.
Lebanese actress Nadine Al Rassi
Cleavage control alert! Another actress named Nadine, another awards show: I actually like this, but I cannot deny that all I really feel that I’m looking at is boobs.
Samarya’s face is a different color than her neck, and there’s a lot of illusion netting here, but it’s an interesting dress.
Lebanese Singer Haifa Wehbe performing in Sahel, Egypt
Haifa is on fire in this popstar-perfect dress, but it looks no different than most of the other glittery numbers she wears. Well, why change a good thing, right?
Va-va-voom! Video of her performance was a bit lacking, but Dominique made sure that people would at least be watching her in this stunning dress: I love the not quite red, not quite pink color. Hair and makeup are a big improvement over her recent looks too.
Lebanese singer Yara performing in Jerash, Jordan
Wow! Yara blew me away with this choice: she’s usually pretty boring. I love the antique, desert-y feel of the dress which is complemented by the stunning Jerash backdrop.
Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram performing at the Jerash Festival in Jerash, Jordan
Maybe it was the ancient Roman setting, but Nancy also gravitated toward a more Mediterranean-flavored theme with this pretty, summery gown and lace-up sandals.
Moroccan singer Salma Rachid in MoroccoDidn’t anyone teach Salma not to sit on car hoods? She seems to do that a lot in her Instagram photos. Her daisy-influenced outfit is cute and perfectly matching, but I think it would work better on an older star like Assala or Carole Samaha than a newbie like Salma.
Lebanese Model Myriam Klink at the Four Seasons Hotel in Cairo, Egypt
The Queen of Klinkistan is forgiven her reating b!tch face and those overplayed Louboutins because this is a PERFECT crop top set.
Egyptian singer Amal Maher performing at the Carthage International Festival in Tunisia
Talent and personal style do not go hand in hand in the Middle East: like Elissa, Amal has one of the best voices hands down, but their style choices are usually classical edging towards boring. Amal in particular seems unable to make up her mind: this dress is pretty and her hair and makeup flawless, but there’s something almost awkard about the dress on her; if Nancy put it on I think she’d look flirty and cute, but Amal looks at odds with the short tulle skirt.
Moroccan singer Mayssa Maghrebi and her sister celebrating La Fete du trone in Morocco
I ask the fashion gods to please bring capes to American fashion!!! I seriously can’t get enough of this elegant yet badass (and modest!) trend. Mayssa and her sister look so pretty here.
Lebanese singer Diana Haddad performing at the Timitar Festival in Agadir, Morocco
Lebanese singer Maya Diab performing in Jerash, Jordan Forget Mediterranean-inspired looks: this is Maya Diab, who goes against convention. Her pick for her Jerash performance is elegant but actually kind of boring for someone who likes knee-high boots (see below).
Moroccan singer Ibtissam Tiskat at an engagement party
That awkward moment when a celebrity shows up to your party and you look ten times more glamorous: the color of the bride-to-be’s gown is not to be beat. Ibtissam kind of looks like she rolled out of bed and grabbed one of her pre-Star Academy kaftans and headed out.
Lebanese singer Viviane Mrad performing at Atlal Plaza in Beirut, Lebanon
Another example of a star with a beautiful voice and bad style, although Viviane’s style is less classical and more ingratiatingly girly. I honestly can’t stomach this dress, although in a different color it might be way prettier.
WHO REHEARSES IN THIGH-HIGH LACE-UP HEELED BOOTS?!?! That being said, Maya should have worn this look for her Jerash performance: it shows off her personality and is way more fun.
Mariam Said in Cannes, France
Egyptian singer Shaza at Singer Karim Mohsen’s wedding in Cairo, Egypt
Anddd yet another great star whose style doesn’t come close to her vocal talent. Shaza was celebrating the wedding of superstar Karim Mohsen (his wife’s gown was uninspiring) and she chooses a boring LBD that looks like it came from a mall store. Also, that hairstyle that she’s been rocking ages her terribly: someone get her to a hairstylist shokrun!
This is so short and tight and revealing it literally makes me cringe. Iman is too pretty to be dressing like a 21-year old party girl from Jersey.
Najwa got amnesia and thinks its 1995 instead of 2015; her fried perm and tacky gown (and even tackier shoes) hearken back to the beginning of her career….you know, when she didn’t have boatloads of cash and clout and this style was actually cool.
Najwa Karam performing at the “Women’s Voices Festival” in Tetouan, Morocco
That better not be a victory salute! Najwa strikes out again in this deeply awful ensemble (is that a dress under the pink smock??) and awful shoes. She should have worn the look she sported on the poster for her performance:
Much more flattering and pretty!