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 just lately posted her very first e book, a kid’s story about Lebanese style designer Elie Saab.

The Lifetime of Elie Saab could appear like an unlikely tale for children, but for Sultan, the designer’s story is ideal, as it encapsulates themes of hope and kindness, two qualities she feels are keenly wanted in modern entire world.

“The whole issue begun in 2018,” she tells The Countrywide. “I walked into Kinokuniya bookstore in The Dubai Shopping mall and noticed a collection of publications about renowned figures, but they were all persons from the western earth.”

Donaldson's illustration showing Elie Saab and his family fleeing the 1976 Damour massacre in Lebanon for 'The Life of Elie Saab' by Sultan. Photo: Motivate Media Group

Growing up in Manchester in the United kingdom, Sultan was, she says, a little one who made use of to read through a great deal of books and experienced normally loved the concept of hope contained within the web pages. “I cherished it, all these textbooks that talked about if you do the job tricky you can obtain lots of items. But I didn’t see that right here.

“So I claimed to myself: picture if I can generate books for the little ones in the region about figures they can relate to, who went as a result of hardships, but went on to develop into profitable and famous. Allow me generate about characters who exist in the Middle East suitable now.”

She was doubtful exactly where to start out, but inspiration came from a documentary about a designer. “I noticed Elie Saab held the marriage of his son in Lebanon. He could have had it any place, but he reported he essential the people in Lebanon to make revenue.”

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

Struck by his willingness to aid carry many others up, Sultan commenced studying him and learned that not only was Saab now a entire world-famed couturier but, as a little one, he had survived the Damour massacre in Lebanon in 1976. She realized she experienced her issue. “I want to notify little ones this is wherever he begun and this is in which he has bought to.”

To illustrate her story, Sultan arrived at out to artist Cath Donaldson, who life in Abu Dhabi, and the pair experienced a collection of conferences more than a quantity of months in a espresso shop in Dubai’s Ibn Battuta Mall since, states Donaldson, it was “halfway among where by we each reside”.

Donaldson was impressed with Sultan’s determination to bring the story to a wider audience. “Her full idea is seriously exciting,” Donaldson suggests. “There are tons of books about higher-attaining people, but it tends to be western folks, so her notion is to look at men and women in the Center East. She has this significant vision.”

It took Donaldson 6 months to full the illustrations, most of which was expended on exploration. “As this is a accurate tale, it was seriously essential I received the feeling of Beirut in the 1970s, down to the clothing that people wore, the buildings, the avenue indications and what the vehicles were being like. I viewed so numerous old films.”

Because the reserve bargains with Saab’s escape from Damour, and his subsequent rise to trend fame, the pair deliberated on how most effective to translate so youngsters could recognize with no it being horrifying. “I had to discover a way to illustrate a genuinely tragic party — the massacre — the place all of a sudden they all experienced to depart in their auto,” Donaldson describes. “Sultan’s language is truly superior, and rather open-finished, so mother and father can make a decision to elaborate or leave it at that. The drawing is them just driving away, while supplying the moms and dads an chance to talk about it.”

Donaldson’s get the job done is important to the e book, specially in documenting two highly effective moments in Saab’s daily life: his family’s escape from Damour and Halle Berry collecting her 2002 Oscar donning one of his robes, a shift that propelled the designer on to the 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

Whilst Donaldson established the drawings, Sultan encountered a new challenge. “Publishers instructed me, this is by no means likely to take place, you will need Elie Saab’s authorization. So I called his company and mentioned: ‘Can I create your lifetime tale?’ He was travelling so I experienced to wait around two months, but then his PR girl identified as me and explained he loves it. Go ahead.”

Motivate Media Team picked up the e-book, publishing it initial in English to gauge the public’s response, with programs for an Arabic edition afterwards. Obtaining taken four many years, Sultan admits it was an emotional second when she lastly held a copy in her palms.

“Can I tell you the truth? I cried,” she says. “I can’t explain to you the journey, the ups and downs. I was likely to give up, but acquiring Cath was a miracle. I am sending her a signed e-book with the information: ‘Thank you for replying to my electronic mail. You transformed my existence that working day.'”

Although the journey has been intensive, there is an echo of Sultan’s possess working experience in Saab’s tale. “Constantly be type to people, for the reason that you really don’t know what they are heading via. When we see people like Saab we imagine, oh, they should have had these kinds of an easy, great lifestyle, but no, he has long gone as a result of a war, and which is why he is type. That is the message of the book. Just be type to persons and see what transpires.”

Up-to-date: June 06, 2022, 10:32 AM

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