PARIS/BEIRUT: France has awarded Lebanese fashion designer Rabih Kayrouz the national title of Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters for his cultural contributions in both Lebanon and France.
Culture Minister Aurelie Filippetti bestowed the honor on Kayrouz during a ceremony Tuesday at the ministry in Paris. The Culture Ministry had announced the knighthood in July 2013, before setting a date for the ceremony.
Filippetti herself is a fan of Kayrouz’s work. She was spotted on the red carpet at the ongoing Cannes Film Festival decked out in a robe-like gown made from blue and ivory abstract print silk
The award, Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters, was established in 1957 to recognize artists and writers, as well as others who have contributed to advancing the arts in France and elsewhere.
Kayrouz will join a slew of celebrities from France and abroad, who have been knighted into the Order of Arts and Letters, including Fairouz, Bob Dylan, Sean Connery, Robert Redford, Meryl Streep and Uma Thurman.
In 2009, Kayrouz opened his brand Maison Rabih Kayrouz, or MRK, in Paris. Like his Lebanese peers, Kayrouz began working in made-to-order haute couture gowns, putting on his first runway show in the French capital as part of Paris Haute Couture Fashion Week.
Several years after opening in Paris, Kayrouz shifted his focus to ready-to-wear. Now he shows his designs exclusively as part of Paris’ ready-to-wear weeks, though he remains a member of the most prestigious fashion design union in France, the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture.
Kayrouz is well known for his loose, conceptual designs. His work incorporates architectural elements that can give anything from a summer dress to winter sweater a deliberate structure and geometric shape.