New children’s book charts the rise of Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab

New children’s book charts the rise of Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab

Suhair Sultan lately published her 1st reserve, a children’s story about Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab.

The Lifetime of Elie Saab may perhaps seem to be like an not likely tale for kids, but for Sultan, the designer’s story is fantastic, as it encapsulates themes of hope and kindness, two qualities she feels are keenly required in modern entire world.

“The complete detail started off in 2018,” she tells The National. “I walked into Kinokuniya bookstore in The Dubai Shopping mall and observed a sequence of guides about renowned people, but they were being all people from the western entire world.”

New children’s book charts the rise of Lebanese fashion designer Elie Saab

Developing up in Manchester in the British isles, Sultan was, she says, a child who applied to browse a lot of textbooks and had usually beloved the theme of hope contained in the webpages. “I cherished it, all all those publications that talked about if you perform challenging you can achieve numerous factors. But I failed to see that listed here.

“So I said to myself: visualize if I can write guides for the young children in the area about figures they can relate to, who went by way of hardships, but went on to become productive and well-known. Enable me produce about figures who exist in the Center East correct now.”

She was not sure wherever to start, but inspiration came from a documentary about a designer. “I noticed Elie Saab held the wedding ceremony of his son in Lebanon. He could have experienced it anywhere, but he mentioned he required the individuals in Lebanon to make income.”

Sultan was inspired to write the book after watching a documentary about Saab. Photo: Motivate Media Group

Struck by his willingness to help carry others up, Sultan started investigating him and found out that not only was Saab now a environment-well known couturier but, as a child, he experienced survived the Damour massacre in Lebanon in 1976. She understood she had her topic. “I want to notify small children this is wherever he started out and this is the place he has obtained to.”

To illustrate her story, Sultan arrived at out to artist Cath Donaldson, who lives in Abu Dhabi, and the pair had a sequence of meetings about a number of months in a espresso store in Dubai’s Ibn Battuta Mall due to the fact, suggests Donaldson, it was “midway among exactly where we both of those are living”.

Donaldson was impressed with Sultan’s willpower to carry the story to a wider viewers. “Her total concept is seriously interesting,” Donaldson suggests. “There are tons of guides about significant-obtaining folks, but it tends to be western people today, so her strategy is to seem at folks in the Center East. She has this huge vision.”

It took Donaldson 6 months to complete the illustrations, most of which was used on investigation. “As this is a legitimate story, it was genuinely critical I bought the sensation of Beirut in the 1970s, down to the outfits that men and women wore, the structures, the road signs and what the vehicles were like. I viewed so a lot of outdated movies.”

Because the book offers with Saab’s escape from Damour, and his subsequent rise to fashion fame, the pair deliberated on how ideal to translate so small children could realize without it becoming scary. “I had to locate a way to illustrate a definitely tragic function — the massacre — the place out of the blue they all had to go away in their car or truck,” Donaldson points out. “Sultan’s language is actually good, and pretty open up-finished, so parents can determine to elaborate or go away it at that. The drawing is them just driving absent, although giving the mom and dad an chance to converse about it.”

Donaldson’s do the job is critical to the e book, in particular in documenting two potent times in Saab’s existence: his family’s escape from Damour and Halle Berry gathering her 2002 Oscar donning one of his gowns, a move that propelled the designer on to the entire world stage.

Halle Berry wearing Elie Saab to collect her Oscar in 2002, by Donaldson, for 'The Life of Elie Saab' by Sultan. Photo: Motivate Media Group

Although Donaldson produced the drawings, Sultan encountered a new trouble. “Publishers instructed me, this is in no way likely to materialize, you will need Elie Saab’s permission. So I identified as his company and reported: ‘Can I create your life tale?’ He was travelling so I experienced to wait around two months, but then his PR female named me and stated he loves it. Go ahead.”

Motivate Media Group picked up the book, publishing it 1st in English to gauge the public’s reaction, with ideas for an Arabic edition afterwards. Possessing taken 4 several years, Sultan admits it was an psychological moment when she eventually held a duplicate in her hands.

“Can I notify you the real truth? I cried,” she says. “I can’t explain to you the journey, the ups and downs. I was likely to give up, but obtaining Cath was a wonder. I am sending her a signed guide with the information: ‘Thank you for replying to my electronic mail. You improved my daily life that day.'”

Despite the fact that the journey has been substantial, there is an echo of Sultan’s very own working experience in Saab’s tale. “Always be form to folks, mainly because you really don’t know what they are going by means of. When we see individuals like Saab we consider, oh, they need to have had these kinds of an straightforward, fantastic life, but no, he has long gone through a war, and that’s why he is kind. That is the information of the guide. Just be sort to folks and see what happens.”

Updated: June 06, 2022, 10:32 AM

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