With the Oscars almost upon us, we asked each of our four FTA Prize finalists in the eveningwear category to create an original sketch that captures both the allure of the Academy Awards celebration and the essence of each designer’s aesthetic. Check out what they imagined for the most glamorous event of the year.
Eli Mizrahi, the founder and designer behind the Mônot womenswear label, drew a dress that would ideally be worn by Academy Award-winner and star of the upcoming series “The First Lady” Viola Davis. “Viola embodies the Mônot woman,” says Mizrahi. “She is sophisticated and elegant, and she is not afraid of wearing bold colors on the red carpet. From the color to the silhouette of this sketch, the inspiration was taken from Andy Warhol’s Daisy (Fuchsia), 1982.” The Lebanese designer adds that his favorite red carpet look dates back to 2005. “The navy blue Guy Laroche dress that Hilary Swank wore to the 77th Academy Awards is one of the greatest red-carpet looks of all time. It made a statement from every angle.” And as far as celebrities from the MENA region are concerned, he would love to dress Lebanese singer Nancy Ajram. “She carries herself with confidence and that is the type of woman I want to see in my designs.”
Jennifer Lawrence is the first star that crossed Harith Hashim’s mind when he was asked which star wore the most iconic red carpet gown, while he immediately identified Tunisian-born model and journalist Afef Jnifen as the MENA celebrity he would most like to dress. The Lebanese-Iraqi founder of the Harithand label imagined something both simple and contemporary for his Oscar-inspired sketch. “My inspiration for the dress that I sketched was a continuity of what I’ve been designing recently,” he says. “I wanted to make something that goes with what we’re living now and that’s chic at the same time.”
If Jordanian fashion designer Laith Maalouf could dress the woman of his choice, it would be statuesque Lebanese singer Maya Diab. Turning to his Oscar sketch, he explains that his “vision is to adorn a powerful woman in such a way that her deeply rooted emotions and characteristics come out loud and clear. The enigma and intensity of purpose enable a woman to be a natural leader, and these are fine qualities that must be identified by onlookers without a doubt. The inspiration has been taken from a scorpion and how it is methodical, full of purpose, hope, patience and intensity. Most women have these impressive qualities.” Which red carpet moment stands out the most for Maalouf? Angelina Jolie in a black Atelier Versace gown with a thigh-high slit at the 2012 Academy Awards.
Amsterdam-based, Moroccan fashion designer Mohamed Benchellal created his sketch with Amal Clooney in mind. “I’ve chosen to dress an inspiring woman from the MENA region: Amal Clooney,” he says. “The red air-mesh floor-length dress, with draped sleeves and fabric tied-up bow cuffs and belt, is a translation of the complex scent of oud and the bakhoor smoke into a voluminous form. This dress is part of the recent revealed Benchellal Collection N° 9, an admiration to the Arab woman.” When asked about the most iconic red carpet moment at the Academy Awards, he goes back 22 years in time: “The pink gown by Ralph Lauren worn by Gwyneth Paltrow during the Oscars in 1999. Love the beauty in its simplicity.”