LEBANESE DESIGNER ELLA ZAHLAN IS SERVING SPICY, CROSS-CULTURAL COUTURE
BY RHIANNA JONES
The fashion industry’s love affair with blending Eastern and Western cultures is as old as time, typically told through the lens of non-native eyes. But for Lebanese designer Ella Zahlan, East meets West is not simply a passing trend it’s her personal truth. Deeply grounded in her geographic heritage, growing up between Africa, Europe, and the Middle East, Zahlan is an authentic sartorial storyteller of the region. With a vision to bring her culture’s ornamented regality to a global stage, she launched her namesake couture house upon graduating in Beirut in 1990, launching her debut collection in Cairo and quickly seducing the Arab elite with her glittering gowns and exquisite bridal couture. In just four years, the young designer was invited to become a member in the Syndicate of Lebanese Haute Couture.
Dress: Ella Zahlan
From beaded veiled gowns as vibrant as the desert sun to crystal-encrusted jumpsuits with feather trim and silk safari pants, her unique vision excels at honoring each culture’s traditions and artistry. This exotic extravaganza is as star-studded as it is spectacular, charming the hearts of Arab royalty, the Kardashians, and fashion editors alike. Her strapless gown with chainmail neckpiece even made it to this year’s Met Gala, worn by E! TV correspondent Naz Perez. But beyond crafting couture that graces the world’s red carpets, Zahlan has been deemed an icon in her own right as the first international Arab designer on the official calendar of Rome’s Alta Moda catwalk. She’s also been invited by the Italian Embassy to represent Beirut in the Italian Forum for Women Entrepreneurs. In an industry currently clamoring for representation and diversity, we can thank Zahlan for being a pioneer of authenticity, translating her cross-cultural experience into elegant designs.
Top & Pants: Ella Zahlan
PHOTOGRAPHER Mark Oberlin
STYLIST Dion “Bleu” Drake
MODEL Rocio Vidal, STATE Mgmt. Los Angeles
MAKEUP Christopher Miles, using Aurelia London and Koh Gen Do
HAIR René Cortez, using YSPark, Kevin Murphy, Mermade Hair, Hot Tools, The Ouai, Mason Pearson, Utiles Beauty, IGK Hair, Got2b & Pattern Beauty