Gizelle Couture Sponsors Miss Arab World Contest
Never in a million years did I plan or expect to find myself involved in a beauty pageant, in any way shape or form, let alone in Cairo. Yet, there I was, amidst coordination and press conferences for Miss Arab World. For the last several months I have been working with and for a very talented fashion designer named Gizelle Begler. Gizelle was selected to design the dresses for all contestants of Miss Arab World. After this surprising last minute decision, our team had to do about 20 dresses in a little over a week. Because Gizelle is highly committed to quality within Couture, this was a lot faster pace than our team was used to working, but the show must go on. After a week of long days with little sleep and our team running ourselves ragged while we scoured Cairo to finalize the last preparations for the show, we managed to pull it off. The dresses were stunning, and the girls looked amazing.
While Gizelle sees herself more of an artist rather than a designer, I relate in that I’m more of a writer than a marketer. Nevertheless, I have managed to pull my writing, my own medium of art, to something practical. It was very interesting to get to know the contestants. The girls were very nice and had an interesting variety of backgrounds across the Middle East region. While I haven’t had prior experience with beauty pageants, I have a feeling they are a bit more friendly and warm here in the Middle East.
Examples of this were common during one of the press conferences. After the photo shoot, the contestants did short televised panel interviews in Arabic. One of the girls, Miss Iraq, had been raised in Europe and had less than perfect Arabic, something every diaspora member can relate to. A belligerent man from the audience made a snide comment about this and said that she should be disqualified, and continued to interject and interrupt, yelling vulgar remarks at her, until the point she cried. Several of the other girls stepped in and defended her. It took a number of people to make the man drop the subject and be quiet, but the solidarity among the girls was impressive. Leave it to Egypt to make even beauty pageants dramatic (not that they don’t have drama already…) in unusual ways. It was interesting to hear each girl’s Arabic though; I realized how different Tunisian and Moroccan Arabic are. While my Arabic is far from perfected by a long shot, I can understand the Egyptian dialect fairly well. Tunisian was really hard for me though, and Moroccan was near impossible. Other Egyptians and Arabs also have a difficult time understanding the Moroccan dialect as well, due to the heavy influence of French. Living here in Cairo, traveling the Middle East and interacting with many different Arabs makes me constantly reminded that despite similarities, just how diverse the region truly is.
It was fascinating for me to watch each piece transform into the beautiful dress perfectly fitted for each girl. Though I never intended or expected to work in the fashion industry, it’s quite remarkable to learn all the processes and know-how of the trade. I enjoy every minute of watching Gizelle work her magic. She definitely has a gift. I am very fortunate to have found someone so talented and pleasant to collaborate with.
The girls were great, but Gizelle’s work stole the show in my mind. Numerous people asked her why she didn’t run for “Miss Egypt,” and after seeing Miss Iraq humiliated, she wittily replied “because that guy would make fun of my Arabic and make me cry too.”
And the winner is…Miss Syria! Congratulations!
Press Release About Event:
Strait from the fashion capital of New York, Egyptian-American Connecticut native Gizelle Begler is bringing beauty to Cairo’s chaos, designing the formal dresses for the 20 contestants of the Middle East’s sixth annual international beauty pageant, Miss Arab World. This is the first beauty pageant in the Middle East to not be solely based on superficial beauty qualities, but rather personality and accomplishments. The show has no swimsuit competition, and the women are more conservatively dressed in general. Gizelle was chosen to design the girls’ dresses because her couture is classic and tasteful, rather than flashy or sexy. She specializes in the kind of elegant timeless classics that Grace Kelly would wear. Gizelle is proud to be a part of this pageant, since it also respects and commends the strengths and accomplishments of these women, rather than just their physical attributes. As a female entrepreneur who has owned her own business since age 23, she highly values endeavors such as Miss Arab World, which encourage and inspire other young women.
Gizelle Begler is the owner and designer of one of Cairo’s most stunning designer dress labels, Gizelle Couture. She has returned to her mother’s home land of Egypt with the dream of bringing the beauty and opulence of the Pharaoh’s back to Cairo. Ivy League Cornell educated in fashion and textiles, only followed by a degree from Accademia Italiana in fashion couture, Gizelle has worked for big labels such as Girogio Armani, Tommy Hilfigher, and New York’s Sugar Plum. Her dresses have been in Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s and Saks Fifth Avenue. She currently is focusing on a wedding dress collection inspired by delicious cakes, and has also designed wedding dresses for the Kuwaiti and Saudi royal families. Gizelle aims to make a difference in the lives of women in Egypt, bringing joy and happiness through beautiful fashion that will last generations. Her dresses are one of a kind, designed with top quality and superior knowledge of textiles and design. More than a designer, she is an artist.