In the world of fashion, “one day you’re in, and the next, you’re out,” according to Project Runway host Heidi Klum.
With all of these Middle Eastern designers popping up and becoming more prominent, I’m beginning to think LBC should air its own version of Project Runway to find the next big designer. Heck, maybe Project Runway’s season 4 runner up, Rami Kashou, could be the contestants’ mentor – I could so see him being a Palestinian Tim Gunn 😛 He could make it work, indeed!
Of course, some Middle Eastern designers have already made names for themselves, such as Reem Acra, Norma Kamali (although she’s actually Arab- and Spanish-American), and Elie Saab. I mean, who can forget Saab’s real debut on the scene when Halle Berry donned his dress at the 2002 Oscars? Soda, former workshop head and assistant to Saab, appropriately credits Saab with creating the image of Lebanese fashion to the western world:
Soda talks about him with great respect and admiration. When told Elie Saab represents the image of the Lebanese Couture worldwide, he showed no single jealousy or irritation. However, he replied that “yes, it is a very good image, isn’t it? He’s more like Fairuz in the music scene. This is very positive for the country”. He adds “in fact, there won’t be any fashion history in Beirut without Elie Saab. He has always been very high ranked. In my opinion, his success is a result of his hefty talent, but also to his businessman skills. He knew how to work out his image abroad. He is the first to know how to represent a certain Mediterranean image of fashion this way”
Although Elie Saab is now established and well known in the West, new Middle Eastern designers such as Soda have recently caught the eye of the fashion blogosphere. For instance, Nana at flypaper.bluefly.com writes:
Katy Perry and Paula Abdul both hit the Grammy carpet in statement gowns encrusted with oversized jewels from the Spring/Summer ’09 collection of Lebanese designer, Basil Soda. Initially, I thought the gowns were a little busy, but after googling Basil’s site and checking out his full collection, the blinging bonanza of gowns and skirt suits with details of origami proportions has started to grow on me. Soda’s designer bio explains, “Form, symmetry, shape and the relationship between points, curves, lines and angles all come together to climax in a melange of feminine allure.” I think it’s one part Versace, one part Jerrell (from Project Runway).
Now what’s drawing the fashion world to Lebanese and Middle Eastern designers? According to Soda:
What makes Lebanese creators different from many western designers is “that Lebanese sketch dresses that women can wear. Over the whole set creations of a western fashion show, only three or four dresses can be worn…!
Dresses that women can actually wear? Well, I’m definitely a fan of that! 🙂