Dating back to the centuries of a cultural domino effect, where Arab, Hellenic, Roman, Ottoman and Western civilizations infected Lebanon with an indelible affection for a sophisticated lifestyle, couture fashion has only grown to become a staple in a country that is now dubbed as the ‘Paris of the Middle East’!
With post-colonialism influences of french architecture, cuisine, and lifestyle, couture fashion is just another piece that perfectly blends into the dignified mood of Lebanon.
It was during the 50s, 60s, and 70s when Lebanon was the place to reside or visit, as it wonderfully embodied some of the most extravagant shopping and party experiences in the world. This country proudly held the highest-ranked throne for everything fashion and culture in the Middle East.
All that glory and status sadly had to be abdicated due to depleted tourist numbers and economic nightmares, as such are the symptoms of 15 years of civil war and arbitrary agendas of sectarianism. But, even post-war and present financial ruin, art still has a strong heartbeat, thanks to the dedicated and passionate hustle of Lebanese creatives, which also includes couture designers.
Couture, or generically speaking, fashion itself originated in the villages of Lebanon, inhabited by many female sewers in training who had a big artisanal hand in the rise of couture in the country today.
While Paris is the grandfather of couture, Lebanon brought a novelty to the couture game through bold craftsmanship and creativity, indicative of its own historically developed embroidery and beading techniques.
It all started with Madame Salha, the first Lebanese couture designer who also happened to introduce the first longest bridal gown train in the world. She was a force in the game with her beautiful gowns and charming personality and paved the way for other Lebanese couturiers to take the fashion world by storm. The names that followed her included the likes of Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Basil Soda, Abed Mahfouz, Reem Acra, Sara Mrad, Gaby Charbachy, and many more.
Many of these Lebanese couture stars have dazzled the Paris runways during couture fashion week, and have not only dressed local celebrities but international pop-culture figures as well. Because of all the hard work, determination, and intricate craftsmanship, all these houses maintain international recognition to this day, representing Lebanon flawlessly with extravagant luxury!
In conclusion, it’s the past and present of the local creatives that allowed Lebanon to achieve significance in the couture world, and will be carrying it on to the future!
While Lebanon might be presently fighting a ton of profound struggles and losses, its art is something that it will never dare to lose, not if its artistic citizens have anything to say or sew about it.