Who's behind Basbousa, the viral Arabic song featured in Louis Vuitton's show?

Remixed song by a Lebanese producer is hugely popular on TikTok

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Boundary-breaking singer Rosalia was the star attraction of Louis Vuitton's menswear show at Paris Fashion Week, on Thursday. But it's a clip of the Spanish star grooving to a viral Arabic song that's caught the attention of many of her fans in the Middle East.

Rosalia opened the live event for the LVMH-owned fashion house with a snippet of her hit song Candy. Emerging from a darkened set, she was wrapped in a puffy white jacket and loose jogging pants, sunglasses around her face.

The Latin Grammy Award-winning pop star then ran through many of her chart toppers animating the set — drawn up to resemble someone's home — sprawling on the couch, jumping on a bed and singing from atop a bright, yellow car. At one point, she danced to Basbousa, the Arabic song which went viral on TikTok in 2021.

Although an old song, the version of Basbousa used in the Louis Vuitton show is a remix by Lebanese producer Haydar Zaiter featuring singer Zizo Al Ahmar. Zaiter released the tune in October 2021.

The Basbousa song challenge then became popular on the video-sharing platform, with users sharing clips of themselves dancing to the track, mostly characterised by exaggerated shaking of the shoulders.

There are also a number of variations, incorporating belly dance and some smooth dabke moves.

The song's lyrics reference a male cat who falls in love with a female cat and whom he lovingly calls Basbousa.

Basbousa is a sweet, syrup-soaked semolina cake that originated in Egypt and is popular in the Arab world.

Louis Vuitton after Virgil Abloh

Since the death of Virgil Abloh in 2021, the Louis Vuitton men’s studio has taken over the brand’s creative control.

Yet Thursday’s set — a vintage childhood home recreated inside the Louvre’s oldest courtyard — was in continuity with Abloh’s coming-of-age styles that have defined his Vuitton tenure from 2018 to 2021.

Models walk the runway during the Louis Vuitton menswear autumn/winter 2023-2024 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on January 19. Getty Images

This season, the youthful studio team and guest designer Colm Dillane channelled growing up “as members of the first generation raised on super-connectivity”. References to the digital age thus abounded in the creative and tailoring-heavy display — which was most successful when kept simple.

Patterns evoked encrypted computer coding, while handwritten notes — which are deemed obsolete in today’s world — were upcycled to produce a surreal white suit and top hat look, the facade of which was constructed entirely of the note paper.

The collection at times felt reliant on gimmicks, such as pixelated apples on an otherwise beautiful round-shouldered wool coat.

The best looks were minimalist, such as a light grey suit jacket that sported one large childlike button and a fabulous, tapered V-shape owing to masterful construction with interlocking layers of fabric.

Celebrities in attendance included Usher, Tyga, British rapper Dave, Emily in Paris star Lucien Laviscount and Game of Thrones actors Kit Harington and Rosie Leslie.

K-pop fans also thronged the venue, hoping to catch a glimpse of BTS star J-Hope, who sat in the front row decked out in Louis Vuitton.

— Additional reporting by AP

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