Chatting with Lebanese superstar Elissa

After hobnobbing on stage with TV host Daniella Rahme, Elissa shared her style tips with The National.

Lebanese pop singer Elissa attending a fashion event at Mall of the Emirates in Dubai. Satish Kumar / The National

Lebanese superstar Elissa was the main attraction at the fifth edition of the World of Fashion event at Mall of the Emirates on Tuesday, September 15. Before becoming a judge on MBC's The X Factor, the pop singer collaborated with Christina Aguilera, Chris De Burgh and Sting, and performed in front of former US President Bill Clinton. She greeted the crowds in the mall's House of Bazar fashion house exhibition wearing a Saint Laurent classic monogram black criss-cross dress paired with a tasselled clutch bag. After hobnobbing on stage with TV host Daniella Rahme, Elissa shared her style tips with The National.

How did you get involved in World of Fashion?

Harpers Bazaar contacted me directly because they wanted to do a special "Elissa edition". World of Fashion is an annual event done through Harpers Bazaar. They get in touch with big names who are known for their sense of style, so I'm pleased to be one of those celebrities.

Which styles do you see hitting the high street that you think are worth snapping up this season?

There is a new fashion called “shapeless” that you can find almost anywhere now. I notice that there is a focus on designing around the waist to show off curves – this is what I like and I see now all around the world. I’m in love with any design that puts the spotlight on a woman’s shape.

You are known as being a top diva of the fashion world, with 7.13 million Twitter followers who often look to you for fashion insights. How do you make the decision what to wear?

A lot of my audience are waiting for me, they are following me, to know exactly what I’m going to wear and that has an affect on me to know that my style is followed by all my fans. There is also always a balance between my style and my song’s theme – there is always a connection between them. I don’t just follow fashion blindly. I have this kind of theme I’m following in my songs. I’m more into classic music, although I like some pop music, too.

You are often spotted sitting front row at Lebanese designer Elie Saab's runway shows. Do you wear a lot of his clothes?

Yes. Elie Saab was a friend of mine before he became my favourite designer. He is, in my opinion, the most important designer in the world because he cares so much about women. I love to watch all of his fashion shows. There are a lot of good young designers around at the moment – lately I’m in love with brands like Antonio Berrati, David Koma, Raf Simon’s silhouette at Dior, Fendi, Victoria Beckham. I have many favourite designers.

You performed at the last Dubai Shopping Festival. Did you get much shopping done?

Of course! Dubai is a great city for shopping. I like to go to Mall of the Emirates. Then The Dubai Mall. Everything I’m seeking – all the variety I find in Europe – I can find here, in Dubai. I don’t come for the shopping festival every year, but when I can, I like to come.

How do you try to stay cool in the sun?

I like the sun! I try to get a tan as much as I can, to take the benefits from the sun, but my face I protect totally and I give it a tanned effect using make-up.

What is your must-have fashion item that you couldn’t live without?

My sunglasses. I always buy two of the same pair, to be safe, in case I don’t find the same pair later. At the moment, I like my Dior pink-gold sunglasses.

Do you always like to dress up in haute couture, or do you also sometimes shop for high-street branded clothes?

I like ready-to wear brands, and don’t always buy couture. It depends on the occasion. I love my simple black and white dress from David Koma.

Which beauty products are you wearing right now?

Dior mascara, Shu Uemura lip pencil, and urban decay naked eye-shadow palette.

Do you follow a strict diet regimen?

Actually I travel a lot, so I end up eating a variety of different foods wherever I go. I like to eat out at Nobu when I’m in Dubai. My guilty food pleasure is chocolate. To stay fit, I spend time exercising with my trainer. I also like to walk.

artslife@thenational.ae