Queen’s Jubilee Fashion Show caps GREAT British Week in Beirut

BEIRUT: One dress - a single-shoulder evening gown, made from a London-themed fabric in shocking pink and Union Jacks - was the crown jewel at the Queen’s Jubilee Fashion Show and auction Sunday evening at Beirut Souks.

The dress, designed by Rami el-Kadi, sold for the highest bid of the night at $1,500.

The Queen’s Jubilee Fashion Show capped off a series of events in Beirut hosted by the British Embassy honoring Queen Elizabeth II and promoting Britain’s image in Lebanon.

Lebanese fashion designers created nearly 20 looks, all inspired by Great Britain, to be sold for charity. Proceeds of the auction went to Basma and Dar al-Aytam al-Islamiya, which aid children with cancer and orphans in Lebanon, respectively.

The British Embassy was the generous bidder on Kadi’s British-pop evening gown, which would have sold in stores for $3,000 to $4,000, Kadi said.

“Oh my God, Rami, you’re hot on the catwalk,” shouted one of the 21 designers, as bidders battled for the gown.

Other crowd favorites included designer Moe Shour’s mermaid-style, navy blue evening gown with a black-jeweled collar and Charbel Zoe’s flapper-inspired evening gown that glistened with Swarovski gems. Both dresses sold for $900 each.

While the bidders preferred tamer styles, the designers had no reservations in their bold use of regal symbols. Bright metallic colors, mini-dresses shaped like her Majesty’s crown, a velvet military jacket and plenty of red and blue, a nod to the colors of the British flag, graced the catwalk.

Britain’s naval supremacy inspired a number of designers, who created navy caps, brass-buttoned jackets and even one military-style evening gown. The gown, a military jacket sewn to a magenta-plaid maxi-skirt, was a crowd favorite, selling for $700.

Attendees were met with young ushers in angelic white dresses and hefty gift bags, slung over rows of elegant white chairs. The audience itself was an eclectic fashion parade, sporting everything from Tory Burch to blue jeans.

Show-goers packed in for the first part of the show. But the auction was a more intimate and less-successful affair.

The charity auction raised around $10,000.

But exasperated designers practically begged the audience to start bidding, and several of the designer dresses didn’t sell at all despite being marked down to a fraction of their potential store price.

In several cases, the designers themselves were bidding on their own pieces.

Sunday’s fashion show was one of the last events in a weeklong salute to Queen Elizabeth II, who’s celebrating her 60th year as queen of England.

The Beirut version of the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee also served as a weeklong recognition of Britain’s good relations with Lebanon as well as a promotional week for the 2012 Olympic games in London.

Tom Fletcher, the British ambassador to Lebanon, was in attendance. He bought the only menswear piece, a high-fashion military uniform by Nemer Saade.

Standing a head shorter than the model, Fletcher joked that he’d need to invest in a pair of heels if he wanted the suit to fit.

Nodding toward the model, Fletcher said, “I won’t look this good in it.”





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