The Academy Awards ceremony is Hollywood’s biggest night with one of the most glamorous red carpet events of the year, where stars bring their sartorial A-game.
This year, on February 24, the stars will once again put on their ultimate show-stopping gowns for the occasion. Ahead of the major red carpet event, we highlight the celebrities that wore Arab designers and as we look back, note that it’s no surprise that a number of these styles are now considered iconic.
Who can forget at the 2002 Academy Awards, when Halle Berry made history as the first African-American woman to win the Best Actress award wearing an embroidered sheer-bodice dress by Elie Saab? The image of a statuesque Berry draped in a design by the Lebanese couturier went around the world. “No one could have imagined such a series of events,” the designer recalled in conversation with Vogue Arabia. “But I always understood the power of the red carpet.”
Since Berry’s win, hundreds of celebrities have looked to the House of Elie Saab to dress them for the Oscars— Angelina Jolie opted for a black, strapless column gown in 2009, Rachel McAdams chose a strapless, watercolor-print design, and more recently, in 2017, Janelle Monáe arrived to the red carpet wearing an ornate Elie Saab Haute Couture fairy-tale gown.
But the Lebanese couturier isn’t the only Middle Eastern designer beloved by the A-list. Zuhair Murad‘s bespoke and bejeweled masterpieces have long been a fixture at star-studded events, such as the Oscars, finding fans in the likes of Jennifer Lopez, who attended the 2012 Academy Awards in a body-skimming crystal-encrusted number. Meanwhile, Priyanka Chopra‘s sheer, white, flower-embroidered mermaid dress topped best-dressed lists the world over.
Other memorable Oscars red carpet dresses powered by Arab designers include Jenna Dewan’s feather-embellished Reem Acra dress at the 2014 Academy Awards. And it’s hard to forget the shimmering white, floor-trailing gown with exaggerated shoulders and paired with red gloves designed by Azzedine Alaïa worn by Lady Gaga to the 2015 Oscar Awards ceremony.
Ahead of Hollywood’s biggest night, we share the most memorable Oscars red carpet dresses created by Middle Eastern designers in recent years.