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Lebanese fashion in mourning

Lebanese fashion in mourning

For several weeks, Lebanese fashion has been in mourning following a devastating explosion that ravaged Beirut, its old city, and its port, causing many deaths and injuries. Artists and personalities from around the world have shared many messages of support, especially towards the Lebanese creative community gathered in the Gemmayze neighborhood located near the port. On September 5th, singer Celine Dion even announced publicly that she was working with Lebanese fashion designer Zuhair Murad to raise funds for Offer Joy, a volunteer group that is currently focusing on helping those affected by the deadly explosion.


Lebanese fashion, internationally renowned for its unique craftsmanship and dreamlike dresses, suffered a deadly double explosion that hit the capital city of Lebanon.



© Elie Saab


Indeed, the capital of Lebanon was severely shaken on Tuesday, August 4th at around 6 pm by two explosions.


As a result, the explosions ravaged part of its old city and its port. The death toll stands at 188 dead, 6500 wounded and many missing.


For several months, the country has been experiencing an unprecedented economic crisis, already weighed down by the coronavirus.


Fashion houses devastated


This is the case of the famous fashion designer Elie Saab who returns to his ruined house in Beirut. The latter is known worldwide as the standard bearer of the fashion industry in Lebanon.


Elie Saab dressed several celebrities such as the Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, but also actresses Halle Berry and Helen Mirren who wore his dresses on the red carpets.


The designer’s fashion house located on the main street of the Gemmayzé district was completely destroyed by the explosion of 2,750 tons of ammonium nitrate.


This neighborhood was frequented by Lebanese and foreign stars.



Celine Dion at the 59th GRAMMY Awards © Zuhair Murad



“Thank God everyone is well” says Elie Saab to his teams, returning for the first time since the tragedy in his home.


The floor of his house is still strewn with glass and a marble table bears the scars of the explosion.


Elie Saab first asked if anyone had been injured, recalls Johnny Zeinoun, an assistant to the dressmaker.


“He said, ‘I don’t want to hear that there was blood.”


The famous couturier bought his house in 2006 and renovated it.


He wanted to preserve the beauty of traditional houses with their arched windows and high ceilings.


The creative sector was already very much affected by the economic crisis that Lebanon has experienced, it is a blow it takes.


As a result of this explosion, neighborhoods with a high concentration of art galleries and stores, bars and trendy restaurants were impacted.


And of course, Elie Saab was not the only big name in fashion in Lebanon to own a house or a store near the port.


There is also the main store of the designer Zuhair Murad who was just a few meters away.



Drawing of J.-C. de Castelbajac in homage to Beirut. Photo from his Facebook page



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A store that was completely broken up, whereas in the past, the debris coming out of the windows was sparkling.


“The efforts of several years went up in smoke in an instant” he wrote. His entire team left the offices shortly before the blast, seeing the first smoke rising from the port. The designer said he was “extremely grateful that (his team) is safe.


Not to mention the workshop of designer and fashion designer Rahib Kayrouz in the 19th century Dagher Palace, which was also damaged.


Rahib Kayrouz also dressed Celine Dion or Jada Pinkett Smith, installed in the 19th century Dagher Palace.


The latter published on Instagram photos of the tiles torn from the roof of the palace.


We let this beautiful lady recover from the drama, he wrote. “We’ll be back soon.”


In spite of all this chaos, Lebanese designers do not let themselves be discouraged and intend to continue their way by opening a new page.


They can count on the support of personalities such as the creator Jean-Charles de Castelbajac who had, for his part, posted on the Facebook account, Children of the Mediterranean, a drawing of the flag struck with cedar with the inscription “It will never yield“, accompanied by this comment: “Lebanon will never #cédra. Courage and solidarity for the Lebanese people, to the inhabitants of Beirut…#We AreLebanese “.


And this solidarity of the industry towards the Lebanese creative community was expressed in a very concrete way through, among others, its response to the fundraising campaign led by Eli Rizkallah, the publisher of the magnificent Plastik magazine, which reached $90,000.


On Saturday, September 5, Celine Dion also publicly supported Lebanese fashion designer Zuhair Murad by appearing wearing a t-shirt with a symbolic message. The garment reads “Rise from the ashes”. “100% of the profits from the sales of this limited edition t-shirt will go directly to support the efforts of the association Offre joie, which works in the field to meet humanitarian needs,” explained the star.





Featured photo: ©Diggzy/Splash News/ABACA

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