Saiid Kobeisy on designing for Queen Rania of Jordan and fashion as the most powerful art

The Lebanese designer sees creating a dress for Queen Rania as a highlight of his career

Saiid Kobeisy has designed dresses for royalty and celebrities. Photo: Saiid Kobeisy
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Lebanese designer Saiid Kobeisy is a trusted go-to for many women across the region, having spent more than two decades hand-crafting feminine occasionwear and gowns that have a fairy-tale aesthetic. With light-as-air tulle something of a signature for the house, in Kobeisy’s hands, it arrives tapered to skim the body, or gathered into cloudlike skirts spun from metres of fabric. Surfaces, meanwhile, are decorated with a discreet patina of embroidery.

From dresses, gowns and one-of-a-kind couture creations to wedding looks, Kobeisy has done it all. With the ability to create looks that are both modern yet deeply feminine – often featuring sculptural folds, pleats and silhouettes paired with cinched waists and full skirts – the designer has won over legions of fans across the globe and established himself as a go-to for brides in search of the perfect, dainty story book-inspired dress.

Kobeisy, the son of a Beiruti boutique owner, spent his childhood among the gowns at his father’s shop. Captivated by the store’s glamour and romance, he soon developed his own sense of taste, and before long, he was offering advice to the customers around him. As he got older, this eye for design solidified, and by 2000, he was designing looks for private clients. He opened his first atelier two years later.

The first Kobeisy boutique opened in Beirut in 2005 and was followed by a space in Dubai Mall in 2012. Choosing to expand into the UAE was a no-brainer, he tells The National: “Dubai has undoubtedly cemented its position as one of the fashion capitals. The Middle East, particularly Dubai, has long been a vibrant market, driven by a culture that appreciates and values luxury.”

Today, Kobeisy has boutiques in both Beirut and Dubai, as well as a dedicated bridal store in the Lebanese capital, with plans to expand to Paris.

Used to the demands of couture clients, the designer admires that women in this region know exactly what they want, down to the smallest detail.

“Emirati women, in particular, stand out as modern-day trendsetters, influencing fashion trends and setting new standards,” he says.

Always searching for innovative ways to help his clients find their perfect look, Kobeisy offers a service for which a three-dimensional avatar is created, allowing brides to try on different looks virtually. Once the final design is chosen, and work on the gown begins, the bride is also given a miniature version of her dress as a keepsake.

Such mindful moments are important, he explains, both for marking a client’s special day and for creating a lasting bond. In the same vein, the designer views fashion as a wider means of expression, one that is able to bring people together.

“Fashion is the most powerful art there is; it’s a movement. It serves as a dynamic platform for personal expression, nurturing creativity and individuality, imbuing confidence and elevating spirits, and granting us a temporary escape from the mundane, offering moments of excitement,” the designer explains.

He adds that fashion has the power to bridge distances and offer a glimmer of hope amid difficult circumstances. “It also serves as a unifying force, forging connections among people through shared passions and cultural appreciation.

“In an ever-evolving landscape marked by innovation and a growing emphasis on sustainability, the fashion industry serves as a beacon of hope, inspiring optimism for the future despite global adversities.”

During the course of his career, Kobeisy has dressed countless high-profile women, including Jennifer Lopez and Nancy Ajram. While all have been amazing experiences, one stands out.

“One of the most cherished moments in my career journey has undoubtedly been of dressing Her Majesty, Queen Rania of Jordan,” he explains.

For Princess Rajwa and Prince Hussein’s wedding in June, Kobeisy was contacted to create a bespoke look for the queen to wear during the henna ceremony. He designed a sky blue kaftan traced with silver and tone-on-tone embroidery. Working on such a high-profile look was, the designer says, a unique experience.

“It was a privilege to create a custom-made dress, inspired by her grandeur.”

With the eyes of the world watching, Kobeisy knew that the look could be nothing less than flawless. “It presented a unique challenge,” he says. The process demanded “precise execution and meticulous detail” where “every stitch, embellishment, colour and cut” had to work in perfect harmony.

While Kobeisy and his team are used to putting in long hours to turn ideas into reality, this look was something different altogether. “This fusion of creativity and craftsmanship encapsulated the momentous occasion,” he explains. The whole experience was, he recalls, “unforgettable in my professional journey”.

Updated: April 20, 2024, 10:20 AM