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Opulence and cultural syncretism took center stage Wednesday in Beirut Fashion Week's first show – a collection entitled "Magic Elements" by Lebanese designer Amal Azhari. Before the main runway show, a grand hall at the Beirut International Exhibition and Leisure center hosted select pieces from up-and-coming local designers like Akl Fakih and Robert Abi Nader, who will also show their work over the course of this year's fashion week.Nature-inspired designs have percolated through Azhari's previous collections, and "Magic Elements" is no exception.Azhari is internationally acclaimed for her bold innovations with traditional kaftans and abayas, and the Lebanese designer did not disappoint with this collection. Although the kaftan has modest origins – based on a simple dress or tunic often worn as an overdress or coat – over time it has evolved to incorporate different styles, cultures and purposes.This year's fashion week will showcase eight designers – from both Lebanon and France – in what is set to be an exciting few days packed with new looks and bold statements.The winner will be sent to Belgium to study design and will show a collection during the April 2018 Beirut Fashion Week.
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