PARIS, France: ‘For me, Lebanon is the land of eternal hope, To it, I’ll forever be devoted’, Zuhair Murad had said in a love letter to his home country, shared with Vogue Arabia two months before the blast in Beirut in 2020. On the tragedy’s second anniversary, the Lebanese couturier whose atelier was decimated in the explosion has captured his emotion in his latest design. The poignant creation is a dress made entirely of the blue mesh that wrapped most of the destroyed buildings in Beirut, and part of the project #RedressLebanon in collaboration with the affected local news organization AnNahar, and Impact BBDO.
By transforming the fabric associated with devastation – and which still covers the AnHar Building to this day – into art, Murad aims to ‘dress the city in a befitting gown’ while supporting the victims of the blast and their families. The initiative #ReddressLebanon will be selling 10,452NFTs of the dress to raise funds for the affected, with all proceeds going to the Institute for Development, Research, Advocacy and Applied Care (IDRAAC), the first NGO dedicated to mental health in Lebanon. The chosen number of NFTs signifies the total surface area of the country in square kilometers.
According to a statement, Murad has tried to ‘express joy and hope through the creation of this unique couture dress, with an aim to make it become a symbol of resilience, beauty, and willpower of the Lebanese who are still witnessing atrocity and living under severe economic and social circumstances’. While the dress takes on the designer’s signature glamorous silhouette, it is cinched at the waist with the newspaper headlines printed on a satin belt which is held together by a sequined red heart. ‘Until today, I cannot describe the feeling that I had while wandering in the destroyed streets of Beirut, walking from Mar Mikhael to Gemmayzeh’, said Murad. ‘I saw what was like a ‘horror movie’ – the bodies, the wounded, the screaming and wailing, the darkness, and the rubble. I did not recognize Beirut’s roads, or its buildings, this scene will remain in my memory forever’.