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George Hobeika Resurrected “Old Arab Glam” at Paris Fashion Week

by Laaibah Amjad

Lebanese designer George Hobeika made a glamorous cultural statement with his latest Spring 2024’s couture collection. Showing at Paris Fashion Week, it really wowed audiences. 

Hobeika’s collection is a tribute to the glamour and beauty of Middle Eastern Women, including the spirit of the ‘50s, ‘60s, and ‘70s, reflecting the joys of life of the parties of those eras.

There is a vibrant colour palette of reds, greens, pinks, purples and blues, influenced by Beirut, a symbol of Arabic culture, but also expressing the playfulness and the warmth of Arab culture. A few looks also incorporated gold, showcasing richness and regality.

Flowers can be seen all through the collection, each representing the childhood and the memories of both co-creative directors, Georges and Jad Hobeika.

Throughout the collection, tapestry and rugs were incorporated, whether in the form of dresses or skirts, each elegantly wrapped around the models’ bodies. 

Tapestries and rugs hold significant cultural relevance in Arab culture, serving not only as functional items but is also a blend of artistic expression, cultural heritage and craftmanship that continues to be cherished and celebrated today.

An added accessory were coffee cup earrings adorning the majority of the models. Unable to go unnoticed, these details reflects the traditional, hospitality, and social connections within the Lebanese society. The design and style of coffee cups also holds a cultural significance in Lebanese traditions. 

Traditional Lebanese coffee cups are often made of ceramic or porcelain, are small, ornate, and are decorated with intricate patterns or motifs. These cups are symbols of refinement and elegance. There is a juxtaposition of sensuality and modesty as we see the silhouette is frequently enhanced, showing the curves of the body but hands remained covered during the show, the gloves became a significant design element. 

The notion of modesty plays a significant role in social norms and values in Arabic culture, too, with societies often placing a high value on modesty, influenced by Islamic teachings as well as cultural traditions. 

The revealing of the curves and the chest and the concealing of the hands has a nod to both western and traditional style.

The show transports their audience to the enchanting world of Arabic culture, immersing them in its rich culture and vibrant landscapes. The two designers wanted their collection to be a love letter to women and culture which nurtured them, and continue to influence them. 

The music that played throughout the show were songs by Umm Kulthum, a a famous Egyptian singer from the 1920s through to the ‘70s, intentionally creating a sense of nostalgia.

As for the best looks, a strapless maxi dress takes first place. It is heavily embellished and focuses around a red and white colour scheme which could easily be a nod to the Lebanon flag. 

We also can’t ignore the central focus of this look which is the vase design embroidered into the dress, a home décor item which holds further cultural significance. Vases are often crafted using traditional techniques passed down through generations. Skilled artisans employ methods such as pottery, ceramics, glassblowing, and metalwork to create these items, resulting in pieces that reflect the rich heritage of Arab craftsmanship.

Model Angelina Frerk closed the show in a bridal gown featuring a form-fitting silhouettes adorned with intricate 3D floral embellishments. 

The crepe dress was cut with an elegant off-the-shoulder neckline, and accessorised with a stunning embellished veiled with crystals gracefully falling at the edge of the headscarf. This look is beautifully demonstrate modesty and elegance that we continued to see throughout the show.

In essence, Hobeika’s Spring 2024 Couture transported the audience to the enchanting world of Arabic culture, weaving together nostalgia, tradition, and modern elegance. Through meticulous attention to detail and thoughtful design choices, Georges and Jad Hobeika both delivered a captivating homage to women and culture that continues to inspire and influence.

Edited by Emily Duff

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