Why Lebanese designers Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad regularly rule the Oscars red carpet

Stars frequently look to them for glamour and fairy-tale gowns

Maitreyi Ramakrishnan in a Zuhair Murad gown on this year's Oscars red carpet. Reuters
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The Academy Awards is the annual shindig where stars align on the red carpet – dressed to the nines – hoping to scoop an award or two. Amid the merry chaos at the Oscars ceremony and the Vanity Fair after-party, celebrities have not one but two opportunities to pull out all the sartorial stops.

It is little wonder then that when searching for a knockout dress, famous faces frequently turn to Lebanese designers Elie Saab and Zuhair Murad. Both are known for being a safe pair of hands – between them, they have decades of experience and share a deep love for glamour and technique.

Famous for their ability to conjure light and elegant dresses, taking hundreds of hours using hand-stitched embroidery and beadwork, Saab and Murad bring their haute couture skills to the red carpet.

They are known for crafting floor-length floating gowns, think light chiffon cuts that fly with every step. They have built their hard-earned reputations dressing some of the world's most glamorous – and demanding – women. The designers create the sort of fairy-tale gowns most of us can only dream of wearing, with the likes of Halle Berry, Heidi Klum and Emma Stone all wearing their designs at the Oscars in recent years.

This year, American actress and singer Hailee Steinfeld stepped out in a gold and sea foam Saab gown, while Tamil-Canadian star Maitreyi Ramakrishnan was spotted in a dramatic full-skirted gown by Murad.

Star-of-the-moment Emma Stone (who won this year's Best Actress for Poor Things) previously wore a beaded golden Saab dress at the 2015 ceremony. In 2019, meanwhile, Priyanka Chopra Jonas selected a haute couture gown in inky black by Saab for the Vanity Fair party.

In 2002, Berry collected her Best Actress Oscar wearing a dress by Saab. With a dropped waist and blood-red full skirt teamed with a sheer bodice, it was covered with utterly gorgeous hand embroidery. It became one of the Oscars' best-known dresses and helped put Saab on the map.

Elsewhere, Jennifer Lopez turned to Murad for her 2019 Vanity Fair party look – a midnight blue number – while even Ginnifer Goodwin donned head-to-toe red lace by Murad for the 2017 ceremony.

Updated: March 11, 2024, 2:52 PM