Syrian Refugee Hala Kamil Wears Brandon Maxwell at the Oscars
The star of the nominated short documentary film 'Watani: My Homeland' was also styled by Katy Perry's stylist.
Syrian refugee Hala Kamil, the subject of the Oscar-nominated short documentary Watani: My Homeland, is making her red-carpet debut in style. Kamil stepped out Sunday at the 89th Academy Awards in a purple and black two-piece velvet gown with a matching purple hijab by Brandon Maxwell (Lady Gaga's stylist), which was styled by Katy Perry's stylist Jamie Mizrahi.
In the fallout of Trump's immigration ban last month, the mother of four was worried that she may not even be able to get into the country to attend the award ceremony. When the ban was lifted, Kamil's trip was back on — but there was little time to get the red-carpet arrangements (namely, an Oscars-worthy gown) in order.
A filmmaker by the name of Chris Temple tweeted Thursday that Kamil was in need of a last-minute gown for Sunday's show, and asked if any Los Angeles-based designer could step up to the plate. Brandon Maxwell, though based in New York, answered the call to help her create a gown that was modest and could accommodate a hijab. "Being the only Syrian refugee woman on the red carpet — [she] is really conscientious about the message she wants the dress to send," said Hayley Pappas of RYOT, an L.A.-based production company that helped promote the film. "She doesn’t want it to feel like something that’s too stereotypical or could be interpreted as too extremist. She just wants something really chic and elegant that makes her feel beautiful."
The designer posted a photo on Instagram with the caption: "Syrian refugee, mother of four, and focus of the Academy Award nominated short documentary film Watani: My Homeland, Hala Kamil made her red carpet debut tonight at the 89th Academy Awards in a custom #brandonmaxwell look, made in purple to represent the color of her favorite flower, which happens to be my mother's favorite color as well."
He continued, "To me, every woman is a star and every star has a story. Hala’s story sincerely touched me and I am truly honoured that I had the privilege to create this look for her celebrating this momentous occasion. The goal for my collection is always to empower all women and to not just make them look beautiful, but feel beautiful as well. Hala’s strength and courage throughout her experiences is supremely admirable. Seeing her walk the red carpet full of confidence and elegance, and being a small part of her special night means the world to me. She used to stay up with her husband every year and watch the Oscars from her home in Aleppo, which has now been destroyed, and tonight she walks the carpet. I hope she is having the time of her life. Styled by the wonderful and truly amazing @sweetbabyjamie"