It’s impossible to mention the modern successes of the Arab designer without acknowledging the incredible influence of Lebanese designer and couturier, Elie Saab. Before Saab, there was a dearth of representation from the Middle East on red carpets around the world, but he broke the mold when he became a household name after dressing Halle Berry at the Oscars in 2002.
Since then, Arab designers have become some of the most formidable names in the red-carpet arena. From the couture ateliers of Lebanon to the design studios of Dubai, there are now more gowns on the red carpet created in the Middle East than almost any other region. At the 2018 Cannes Film Festival, the rise of the Arab designer is evidenced everywhere. At the premieres, the parties, and the afterparties, guests are choosing the likes of Michael Cinco, Jean-Louis Sabaji, and Zuhair Murad for their moment in the spotlight.
Not only are their elaborate flourishes, dramatic silhouettes, and impeccable embellishment preferred for the red carpet, but so is their ability to transform women into otherworldly creatures of divine glamour. While some names, like Murad, count over a dozen designs on the 2018 Cannes red carpet, other emerging houses are appearing for the first time, like Nicolas Jebran, who was worn by regional influencer Karen Wazen for the premiere of Ash Is the Purest White. In the gallery below, we’ve rounded up our favorite looks created by Arab designers at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival (so far).