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How Elisa Sednaoui’s Custom Arwa Al Banawi Gown Came to Life

Courtesy of Ammar Abd Rabbo

Elisa Sednaoui was among the myriad A-listers who descended upon Egypt’s resort town of El Gouna to attend the opening ceremony of the second annual El Gouna Film Festival on Thursday. When the Egyptian-Italian model and philanthropist stepped out on the Abu Tig Marina red carpet, she practically ensured all eyes were on her. Wearing a teal, velvet, custom Arwa Al Banawi gown, Sednaoui demanded a double take. “I met Elisa a while ago, and she has served as my muse for a long time,” revealed the Saudi designer to “I’ve always admired her raw beauty and natural sense of humor.”

The two developed a closer bond when Al Banawi visited the model’s London home, which she shares with her husband Alexander Dellal and their two sons, after Sednaoui commissioned a dress from the designer. Though Al Banawi initially had the perfect design planned for the event, she would go on to change her mind after getting to know the model better through their many dress fittings (which occasionally involved Sednaoui’s four-year-old son Jack). “I changed the dress in my Dubai atelier because I realized that Elisa needs something more modern, but still elegant and bold,” she explains, adding that she chose a velvet, green-blue fabric because it complements Sednaoui’s emerald gaze.

The sleeveless, form-fitting gown, which was three months in the making, featured a high funnel neckline, an even higher slit, and a long train. Sednaoui accessorized the elegant design with a pair of black pumps and a triangular clutch embroidered with the text “Cairo” plucked from her sister-in-law’s brand, Charlotte Olympia.

Speaking about the woman she envisions wearing her eponymous label, Al Banawi states, “The ‘Suitable Woman’ is Elissa. She is beautiful inside and out, and her vision for empowering women in education through her non-profit foundation Funtasia is nothing short of inspiring. She is everything the brand stands for.”

Now Read: The Best-Dressed Celebrities From the El Gouna Film Festival Red Carpet

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