Follow Vogue Arabia

Salma Hayek Pinault on Her Style Journey: “I Didn’t Have Access to Designers. They Didn’t Want to Dress Me”

The May 2024 issue of Vogue Arabia is a special one, starring none other than Lebanese-Mexican icon Salma Hayek Pinault on the cover. This month, the star talks not just about her Arab roots, but also about her journey in fashion, with a stunning (and extremely meaningful) cover shoot to match.

For her shoot, Vogue Arabia tapped two designers from the region to scour through Hayek Pinault’s style archives and recreate outfits from a time when the actor didn’t have access to the best names in the industry. In Hayek Pinault’s words, these are looks worn by her “when I didn’t have access to a lot of designers. They didn’t want to dress me, and so I had to be creative, or find something last minute.”

In a special behind-the-scenes video, Salma Hayek Pinault dives into the details of the two looks, and the stories behind them. “I am so thankful to Vogue Arabia, they did something really special,” she says about the novel concept. “They have asked two Lebanese designers to reinterpret a look form my past, from my archives. Below, a closer look at the couture pieces crafted especially for Salma Hayek Pinault’s Vogue Arabia debut.

Rami Kadi reinterprets Salma Hayek Pinault’s tattoo butterflies from the MTV Awards

salma hayek

Salma Hayek Pinault at the 1997 MTV Video Awards

“So, Rami Kadi reinterpreted a dress that I wore to the MTV Awards a long time ago, when I was not very famous at all,” Hayek Pinault explains. “And so, it was just a simple black dress, strapless. And also I had no one to lend me jewels at the time, and so I decided to make my accessories with tattoos of butterflies. The accessories really worked, people loved it! Because at the time, it was not very popular. i have really good memories of that look, and all the creativity that had to go into it when you have limitations.”

Sketch by Rami Kadi

Photo: Courtesy Rami Kadi

Taking cues from the 1997 look, Kadi crafted a beautiful body-skimming ebony gown with a mermaid-esque flared hemline, topped off with hundreds of metalwork butterflies that created the bodice, reminiscent of the tattoos that rested on Hayek Pinault’s décolletage at the MTV bash. “I love what Rami did, I was so surprised, because it’s so glamorous!” Hayek Pinault shares. “We went from the most simple, basic, black strapless dress that didn’t have any jewels, to the most extravagant, fabulous, super glamorous, romantic and chic, super cool Hollywood outfit that I got to wear. It’s such a special creation.”

Nicola Jebran turns Salma Hayek Pinault’s sweater + skirt set into a glistening gown

salma hayek

Salma Hayek Pinault at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival

In 1999, Salma Hayek Pinault attended the Cannes Film Festival in a powder blue sweater + skirt set — a look that Nicoles Jebran took cues from for the star’s Vogue Arabia cover shoot.

“Nicolas Jebran made me a fantastic look, an amazing dress that is inspired by an outfit that I wore at Cannes,” Hayek Pinault says. “I remember that when I wore that dress at Cannes, I don’t think that it was a set, or that that was the way it was supposed to be worn. I do remember that I kind of came up with the look — like always, the best creations come out of desperation. I was like, ‘What am I going to wear?’ So I was very curious to see what Nicolas was going to do to top it.” The look in question comprised of a satin midi skirt and a textured sweater that opened up at the waist, which was styled with dainty jewelry and a silver clutch.

“I was actually quite excited when I saw the dress,” Hayek Pinault says about the big reveal. “I think the magic of that dress is that on the hanger, it looks nice. But it completely transforms when you step into it. It gives you this flowing sensation, and at the same time there’s structure at the top, and I love that. You know, the cropped sweater that I’m wearing [in the picture from Cannes], it was always moving because it was not fitted, and I was very worried that I would have a fashion accident, malfunction, disaster! And so I really think that he captured that.”

Photo: Cuneyt Akeroglu

View All
Vogue Collection