There was once a time when people dressed for the protection of themselves almost everywhere around the world, but in the middle east, clothes weren’t just a means of covering your body, but in fact, an indication of age, social class, and wealth. In fact, the use of jewelry across the head, and gold adornments all over also began as a trend by the wealthy women of Arab families, as a signifier of riches and status, a tradition dating back to the 6th century! Arab fashion is more than just clothes, it has now evolved into a way of living, which involves mixing western clothing styles, with Arab cultures and traditions, creating one of the most iconic and identifiable fashion in the world.
Interestingly enough, there have been some aspects of Middle East fashion that have stayed a constant ever since the clothing and accessories started to catch the eye of the rest of the fashion world, namely, the fact that Arab fashion focuses on loosely fitted clothes, adornments across the head, and colorful pieces of head scarves and long, flow dresses, to customize the fashion to the respect of Eastern and Muslim culture. However, as time progressed, designers in the Arab fashion world were able to incorporate these rules and signifier of culture into something that is exquisite and elite, complete with distinctive make-up looks and in some Arab countries, even decorative veils that don’t just complete the look that is Eastern fashion, but add something truly unique to Arab fashion that makes it different from any other sense of fashion around the world.
As time progressed, certain designers from the Arab fashion world decided to take the look of Arab fashion to the next step and incorporated it into the western world, making it something that has turned into looks seen on red carpets and world-class fashion magazines all over the world.
Lebanese fashion designer Zuhair Murad is one of the first names that comes into anyones mind when they think of Eastern fashion incorporated in the Western world. With almost every woman in Hollywood hopes to be able to call herself a ‘’Zuhair Murad Woman’’- elegant, classy, and believes in herself.
Calling himself a ‘’one man army’’, Zuhair, 48, started designing when he was merely 10 years old, making headlines when he created a wedding dress costing $400,000 for the daughter of Russian oil tycoon, Musa Bazhaev. That was the start of the boost of his career, later designing dresses for Adele, Priyanka Chopra, and Jennifer Lopez among many others, bringing elements of Arab Fashion on to the red carpet of Hollywood. It is safe to say that with the incorporation of including designs, jewels and colors inspired by Arab culture, he has a huge role to play in the introduction of Eastern Fashion getting the recognition it gets now!
Another fashion designer from Lebanon, he started his career in the 1980’s in bridal couture in Lebanon, with his style being distinctive to Arab fashion, but incorporating it through unique lace work, gem stone bodices, pearls, and detailed hand embroidered dresses. With his contribution to Arab fashion, Elie soon became the first Arab fashion designer to be able to attend the governing body of fashion, Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.
He dressed Kate Middleton for the Royal Ascot in 2019, which set a milestone in his career as an Arab fashion designer. His looks include different variations of Arab culture through clothing, with his extravagant veils and hoods attached to gorgeous one-of-a kind pieces. In March 2017, his collections made way to the the rest of the world and further enhanced the love for Arab fashion around the world, in fashion capitals of the world, including Paris, London and Beirut, as well as his ready-made pieces available with over 160 retailers as well as his own boutiques.
58 years old Georges Hobeika has started off his career by opening his own atelier in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1995. Incorporating muted tones and gemstone work that is distinctive to Eastern fashion, Hobeika has also been one of the designers dominating the fashion week of many of the world fashion capitals, especially Paris, for decades.
Currently running stores for haute couture and ready to wear pieces, his work doesn’t come cheap, but his distinction between Eastern fashion and Western fashion being brought together definitely marks his name in not just Arab fashion, but fashion all over the world!
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