Lebanese Designer Zuhair Murad Talks Style
BY STEPHANIE SAYFIE AAGAARD
Beirut is often referred to as “the Paris of the Middle East,” and with good reason: Spectacular fashion designers—including the ultra-fabulous Zuhair Murad—have emerged from this area. With lavish fabrics and exquisite detail, Murad’s collections ooze luxury. Since he started sketching in his room at age 15, he knew that this was the path he would follow for the rest of his life.
STEPHANIE SAYFIE AAGAARD: As a Lebanese American, I have visited Beirut and seen firsthand the natural beauty of the city. What inspiration do you get from your home country?
ZUHAIR MURAD: I’m inspired first and foremost by the beauty of Lebanon’s perfectly balanced four seasons, with our white winter, colorful spring, hot summer and elegant fall. We also can’t deny the fact that Lebanon is steeped in culture and rich civilizations, which can be seen in the archeological remains of all who passed through. But the people of Lebanon, the nightlife, truly inspire me in my day-to-day life.
Film and music stars, such as Jennifer Lopez and Emily Blunt, are consistently decked out in your designs. How does that make you feel?
It is always a great honor and pleasure to see my creations on my fans. I feel a sense of satisfaction and pride in what I do, and that drives me to continue creating and working to meet their expectations.
How do you envision your future in fashion?
My hope is that my creations become accessible to all who desire them in the world. I hope that one day any lady can walk into a store in any city and find the perfect dress.
You were recently in Miami for a few appearances. What do you think of the Magic City?
Miami is great. It’s full of life and very easygoing, with beaches as far as the eye can see and, of course, the most elegant and refined ladies, who love fashion and strive to look their best at all times. It is truly inspiring to see such enthusiasm.
Is there anyone you haven’t dressed so far whom you would love to see in one of your spectacular gowns?
This is an easy question to answer: Charlize Theron tops that list. She is one of my favorite actresses, and her beautiful features and stunning body would perfectly complement any dress that she wears.
From the crystals to the stitching, one can see your eye for detail in all your designs. Do you know immediately what to add to each piece, or is it a work in progress as you create?
Everything I do—from fabric choices down to the crystal shape—is a work in progress. It’s all based on trial and error, and finding the perfect combinations to highlight each dress. And of course I am a perfectionist and always look at every detail before any of my dresses leaves the workshop.
What would you be if you weren’t a designer?
Name your indulgences.
Chocolate and a good glass of wine.
What are your favorite places to visit in Lebanon and the United States?
My house in the country in Lebanon—the calm of the environment truly grounds me and allows my mind to focus on my goals and future plans. As for the States, I love visiting LA, because of its over-the-top spirit and vibrant nightlife.
Steph Sez: Zuhair is a fashion giant eager to….
Zuhair Sez: ...eager to conquer the world.
RIGHT: Looks from Murad’s Fall 2010 collection
Photographs by carine badr (zuhair); courtesy of zuhair murad (runway)
Cover shoot: Behind the scenes with Pitbull for the October 2014 issue of Ocean Drive magazine.