Lebanese designer gets accidental shoutout at Grammy Awards

Actress Julia Roberts speaks onstage during the 56th GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on January 26, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images/AFP)

BEIRUT: Halfway through the film awards season – plus the Grammys – and rising Lebanese designers have already gotten a boost from celebrities strutting down the red carpet in creations from lesser-known couturiers.

One such designer, Randa Salamoun, got an accidental shoutout at the Grammy Awards Sunday night in Los Angeles, when an entertainment reporter mistakenly identified one of the most coveted gowns from the event as Salamoun’s creation.

Bonnie McKee, the songwriter responsible for such No. 1 hits as “Hold it Against Me” sung by Britney Spears and “California Gurls” song by Katy Perry, wore a silk cobalt strapless gown that celebrity news sites identified as a Randa Salamoun. Mckee’s blue gown was actually Memeka by Gustavo Cadile.

The unfortunate journalist to make the mistake is unknown. But in the frenzy to live-blog celebrity fashion stories during the show, leading entertainment sites such as E! Online also reported the dress was from Salamoun’s collections. An employee at Randa Salamoun Couture confirmed that it was a reporting mistake, and that Mckee was not wearing Salamoun.

But all exposure is good exposure – especially if trend watchers think Salamoun created one of best looks of the night. The designer has in the past dressed American celebrities, such as TV news reporter Giuliana Rancic and actress Paula Patton. It’s certain that even with sites scrambling to right the error, Salamoun is now receiving unexpected interest.

There were, of course, plenty of Lebanese designers who rightfully got into the spotlight this awards season. Young designer Rani Zakhem made two appearances this month: Sunday when TV personality Maria Menounos wore a sheer champagne gown to the Grammys and earlier this month when “The Big Bang Theory” actress Kaley Cuoco wore a printed strapless gown by the designer to the 71st Golden Globes.

Awards season, which lasts from January through mid-February, includes a slew of ceremonies for film and television, as well as some music awards such as the American Music Awards at the beginning of January and the pinnacle music event, the Grammys.

These award ceremonies are prime moments for new couture designers to launch their looks.

TV presenter Rancic, a personality who became the subject of celebrity news for her very public battle with breast cancer, has helped boost Lebanese designers such as Tony Ward, who had upward momentum ever since she wore his work. Last year, his designs featured several times on the winter red carpets, and he just brought his couture fashion shows to Paris for the first time this month.

Other Lebanese designers whose creations made it onto the red carpets recently include staple celebrity designer Elie Saab, who dressed female rapper Iggy Azalea in an angelic white gown for the Grammys Sunday. Azalea tweeted about her outfit just before the show, thanking Saab for the beautiful dress.

Actress Julia Roberts welcomed former Beatles members Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney to the stage wearing a black sparkling mini by Saab.

Singer John Legend’s wife Chrissy Teigen wore a daisy-colored Zuhair Murad gown to the pre-Grammy Clive Davis gala. Pop country singer Taylor Swift donned a black reptile patterned Murad mini, a far cry from her usual pastel palette.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on January 28, 2014, on page 2.




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