Oscar performers croon in sparkling Lebanese designs

LOS ANGELES/BEIRUT: Bejeweled dresses by Lebanese designers Reem Acra and Elie Saab sparkled on stage Sunday night at the 86th annual Academy Awards.

In addition to dressing their usual clientele of A-listers for both the red carpet and the after parties, Lebanese designers’ looks also featured on several of the night’s performers.

Pink gave a spine-tickling ode to Judy Garland during the awards show with a rendition of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” In an unusual look for the singer, one of Saab’s billowing, flower-covered gowns in scarlet gave the punky pop star a hint of old-time glamour.

Acra made an appearance on stage when Broadway-turned-movie star Idina Menzel performed “Let It Go,” the chart-topping song from the animated film “Frozen,” in one of her gowns.

Among those who donned Acra for the red carpet was Bette Midler, who arrived in a nude sheath covered with snaking red embroidery. Middler told E! Television host Ryan Seacrest that Acra went to her house personally for the fitting.

“Just about to hit the Red Carpet, courtesy of Reem Acra, the most adorable designer. Thank you, Reem! (She actually came to my house!) #Oscars,” Middler tweeted.

Angelina Jolie was back in Los Angeles after a trip to Lebanon last week, where she met with local leaders and toured Syrian refugee camps in the country. The actress opted for a metallic silver sequined gown by Saab, which she wore on stage to present alongside Sydney Poitier.

Saab, best known for his high-waisted gowns, was featured on the uncustomary silhouette of actress Elsa Pataky, who is seven months pregnant with twins. To accommodate her baby bump, the aquamarine dress was given a drop waist.

Also dressed in sparkling Saab couture was Sarah Paulson, who starred in “12 Years a Slave,” winner of best film of the year award.

Rising Lebanese designer Rani Zakhem has had a successful awards season this year. He wrapped it up with a billowing, wedding-ready white gown worn by retired Olympic ice skater Tara Lipinksi.

Lebanese designers also starred on the sidelines of the award ceremony. Kate Hudson wore spring couture from Zuhair Murad to the Vanity Fair Oscar Party. The designer showed the black and nude sheath dress mere weeks ago in Paris. Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika also dressed several stars for postshow parties.


LUPITA NYONG’OShimmering metallics, bold jewel tones and newcomer Lupita Nyong’o led the style on the Oscars red carpet, as actresses shunned runway trends to showcase colors and silhouettes inspired by Hollywood’s golden age.

All eyes were on the year’s best-dressed starlet on the red carpet – best supporting actress Oscar winner Nyong’o.

The “12 Years a Slave” star from Kenya wore a custom halter-neck pastel blue Prada gown that she helped to design, saying it was inspired by Champagne bubbles and a color that reminded her of Nairobi. She accessorized with Fred Leighton jewels, including a diamond headband. Nyong’o, 31, is the current face of Prada’s sister line Miu Miu.

Elsewhere, pale golds, gray and cream gowns added a touch of dazzle to the red carpet. Julie Delpy wore a shimmering silver Jenny Packham dress, while Kristen Chenoweth and Kristen Bell both wore metallic beaded gowns by Roberto Cavalli. Bell chose an ice-gray strapless dress by the designer, saying “I wanted something dramatic and ice princesslike because I’m here for ‘Frozen.’”


CLASSIC BLACKJewel tones were a favorite for actresses including best supporting actress nominee Jennifer Lawrence, who wore a bright red Dior figure-hugging peplum dress. June Squibb opted for an emerald-sequinned Tadashi Shoji gown, while a pregnant Kerry Washington wore an amethyst strapless Jason Wu dress.

Viola Davis wore a deep green Escada dress, saying she picked it for the glamour and time period.

Hal Rubenstein, Instyle’s editor-at-large, said the actresses this year opted for block color gowns, in an homage to classic Hollywood glamour.

“It’s the best way to show off the actresses, rather than just the dress. Most of these dresses are incredibly sophisticated, but you focus on the woman,” he said.

Midnight blues spun a twist on the traditional black dress, as best actress nominee Amy Adams wore a Gucci Premiere couture strapless gown, while her fellow nominee Sandra Bullock opted for a strapless satin Alexander McQueen number.

For some actresses, classic black was the choice of the night. Charlize Theron wore a plunging V-neck black Dior gown, while Anne Hathaway wore a dramatic halter-neck black and silver mirrored Gucci gown and Emma Watson chose a black shimmering Vera Wang number.

A pregnant Olivia Wilde dressed her bump in a sleeveless column Valentino, while nominee Julia Roberts opted for a lace peplum Givenchy gown and Robert’s “August: Osage County” co-star and best actress nominee Meryl Streep opted for a white and black Lanvin dress.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Daily Star on March 04, 2014, on page 2.




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