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Beirut Fashion Week opened early this week, ushering in what the organizers say is one of the biggest international events hosted in Lebanon and the region. Local and international designers and brands have been showcasing their latest collections since the preopening event Monday evening.

BFW’s preopening at Forum de Beyrouth was a melting pot that brought together Prime Minister Saad Hariri, MP Strida Geagea, the glitterati of the fashion crowd, TV presenters and actors.

“Since 2015, Beirut Fashion Week has been providing a platform for emerging and well-known fashion designers to showcase their work,” Samantha Fadlallah, chief executive officer at L.I.P.S. Management – one of two organizers of the event – said.

BFW, the organizers say, is held as a reaffirmation of Beirut’s status as the fashion industry’s gateway to the Arab world.

Monday, local designers Paolo Bongia and Amal Azhari presented their collections.

Throughout the week numerous other designers will send their work down the catwalks until the closing ceremony on April 22.

Fadlallah told The Daily Star that BFW encourages Lebanese designers to exhibit their work here at home instead of only seeking international success. “[And that’s] to prove that the Lebanese are still able to produce beauty, despite everything that they’ve been through,” she said.

Zeina Saad, a fashion lover who attended the opening ceremony, said that she came in service of a higher cause. “[I am here] to promote and support all cultural activities in Lebanon,” Saad told The Daily Star.

For others, BFW was the perfect venue to get a peek at the trends being showcased by the fashion industry for the coming seasons.

“I love attending fashion shows and following up on the latest fashion trends,” Aya Sbeity – a high school student dressed in an elegant off-the-shoulder white dress – told The Daily Star.

Before the preopening ceremony began, fashionably dressed women glided across the red carpet while photographers from local and international media outlets snapped photos.

Fashion personality Olfat Mounzer attended the red carpet event in a black and white maxi dress, with the phrase “Love is blind” emblazoned across the front.

Image consultant Ghina Ghandour was also there in a two-piece black dress, accompanied by businessman Tony Abou Ghazaly.

TV presenter Hilda Khalife looked casually chic in a white and black dress by Marmar Halim and a bag by Beirut-based boutique Sarah’s Bag.

The celebrity lineup also included actress Stephanie Saliba, who was dressed by fashion stylist and beauty consultant Khalil Zein and looked dazzling in a multicolored striped dress and knee-length black boots.

The jovial crowd milled into the Forum de Beyrouth as journalists industriously took selfies, uploading them to social media channels.

“I am very excited to see all our hard work unspool before our eyes,” Cynthia Fadlallah, operations analyst at L.I.P.S., told The Daily Star Monday.

BFW continued Tuesday with designers such as Maison Roula and Abed Mahfouz showing their collections. Mahfouz showcased his spring/summer 2017 collection of evening gowns and dresses. The collection electrified the stage with its soft and edgy colors, reflecting the true spirit of the vibrant seasons the clothes are intended for.

A knee-length baby blue evening dress was the perfect choice for an engagement or a wedding. The soft color had a touch of luxy-chic with beading, lace and a plunging neckline.

Another choice offering from Mahfouz for those on the hunt for evening gowns: an off-the-shoulder beige dress with a beaded bodice.

The collection didn’t settle for a subdued palette, with Mahfouz – as in previous collections – including dashes of vibrant color.

Intense hues showed up in looks ranging from a sea-green gown with ruffles and a keyhole neckline, to an orange embellished gown, to a yellow dress with an embroidered neckline. Black dresses rounded out the collection, some bedecked with colored floral patterning. A ruffled wedding dress was a beautiful option for the 2017 bride.Read more at:evening gowns