Saudi Arabia‘s historic Al-Balad lit up on the evening of December 6 as some of the world’s biggest stars descended in Jeddah for the Kingdom’s first international film festival. The Red Sea International Film Festival‘s opening night was cause for celebration not only for the Middle East’s proud actors and filmmakers, but also global talents who joined in to spotlight the many achievements of Arab cinema. Showing their support, in attendance were Marvel star Anthony Mackie, English actor Clive Owen, American actor Hilary Swank, and Italian actor Michele Morrone. Internationally-followed models Candice Swanepoel, Alessandra Ambrosio, Irina Shayk, Shanina Shaik, and Sara Sampaio also made glamorous attendees, with some donning Arab designers. While Sampaio and Shaik chose shimmering pieces from Lebanese couturier—and Ball of Arabia 2021 co-chair—Zuhair Murad, Ambrosio opted for a white number by Georges Hobeika with a thigh-high slit.
The Arab world’s stars, of course, made sure to match the energy of the historic ceremony dressed in creations by regional designers. Jury member Hend Sabry championed Saudi talent in a bespoke off-white pleated gown by Honayda. Actors Razane Jammal and Tara Emad opted for flowing silhouettes by Lebanese label Harithand, while couturier Georges Hobeika’s head-turning pieces were worn by Saba Mubarak and Rym Saidi. As for iconic actors Yousra and Lebleba, delicate violet gowns doused in embellishment were the order for the day.
It’s safe to say, however, that saturated hues ruled the red carpet last evening. While Mila Al Zahrani opted for a royal blue tulle number, Mahira Abdelaziz chatted with Vogue Arabia in a draped orange Tony Ward, and Saudi actor Ahd Kamel went the emerald route in Jeddah-based Saudi designer Ruba Bahareth. Among the most interesting looks from the evening was Karen Wazen’s sharp black pantsuit, proof that power dressing never fails.
As the evening progressed, guests were treated to a theatrical dance performance that marked the opening of the 10-day festival at the Red Sea Gala Theatre, and also witnessed an award ceremony, where three inspiring women were honored: Egyptian actress Laila Elwi, who has often been admired for her bold choice of roles, French actress, singer, model, and producer Catherine Deneuve, and Saudi filmmaker Haifaa Al Mansour, who shared a heartfelt speech. Below, we take you through some of the best red carpet moments from the Red Sea International Film Festival.
Junior Fashion Editor: Mohammad Hazem Rezq
Creative producer: Ankita Chandra
Local production: Basamat Arabia