Not the real Oscar for “Watani-My Homeland” in LA, but the ‘Oscar for Humanity’ goes to….her new hometown Goslar in Germany and ….to the US fashion designer Brandon Maxwell.
Hala Kamil – the widow of the commander of the Free Syrian Army from Aleppo, who has kidnapped and killed by ISIS – attended the ceremony with a new designed dress.
She had spoken at the UN in New York in 2016 and has a US visa since then.
She escaped Syria in 2015 with her four children and now lives in Goslar, an old city with a 1000 year history in North Germany.
Her story is told in “Watani: My Homeland”, co-produced by GLOBALO founder Dr Hubertus Hoffmann (picture below with the family in Goslarsche Zeitung) and globalo.com, nominated for the Oscars 2017 as documentary. In Hollywood the other Syrian epos won: Netflix documentary “White Helmets”.
Through the power of social media Hala Kamil got connected with Lady Gaga’s and former First Lady favorite Brandon Maxwell, who created a completely original look for Kamil right for her big red carpet moment.
How did this happen?
- Maxwell dressed Lady Gaga for last year’s Oscar ceremony when the singer was nominated for Best Original Song for her “Til It Happens To You” ballad.
- Brandon Maxwell (photo below) has acted as the fashion director to Lady Gaga since 2012. He started his own label in 2015 in New York and has since become a standout in the fashion industry. His statement: “The brand was born out of the desire to make women feel beautiful, sophisticated and powerful, with timeless garments that are impeccably tailored. With a focus on craftsmanship, the entire collection is designed and produced in New York City.”
- Surrounded by immaculately dressed women from a young age, Maxwell was captivated by the women who passed through the boutique where his grandmother worked in Longview, Texas. He went on to study photography at St. Edward’s University in Austin, and began assisting stylist Deborah Afshani in 2009, followed by Edward Enninful, and then Nicola Formichetti in 2010.
- Inspired by the strong women Brandon surrounds himself with, his hallmark style of sharp tailoring and sculptural details are apparent in his namesake collection. The brand has been worn by many influential women, including Jennifer Lawrence, Reese Witherspoon, Kate Hudson, Lady Gaga, Gwyneth Paltrow and Uma Thurman, among many others.
- Brandon Maxwell was awarded the Fashion Group International Rising Star award for Womenswear in January 2016. In June 2016, he was awarded the CFDA Swarovski award for Womenswear.
- The fashion designer responded to a social media search for a propper dress for the refugee from Syria.
- He was the first with a real offer.
- The designer said he could make her Oscar dress exactly how Kamil wanted and deliver in time.
- “His email was so nice and sincere, and we didn’t realize who he was until we googled him,” she told Globalo. “Don’t worry, I have a team of girls who can make this happen,’ Maxwell wrote back.
Hala started sending photos of flowers and asking about colors.
She wanted a look that worked with a hijab and conveyed elegance.
The final look was a two-piece gown with a floor-length crepe black skirt, lilac velvet jacket with layered peplum and a lilac velvet hijab. The color reflected Kamil’s favorite flower, which is also Maxwell’s mother’s favorite color, he wrote on Instagram.
“It’s became the sweetest experience of my life.”
She used to watch the Oscars each year with her husband on TV in Aleppo.
Now she was on the red carpet herself, happy to tell America and the world that humanity and tolerance matter today.
“While there are sure to be many more political statements made (including the ACLU blue ribbon wearers) both on the carpet and onstage, Maxwell’s bold and powerful message to Kamil on her very first Oscar night will undoubtedly be one of the most memorable. On a night typically reserved for bling, glamour, and off-the-runway style, it was uplifting to see Kamil on the carpet and refreshing to know that Maxwell was so honored to dress her for the occasion.”
Maxwell finished his Instagram note to the mother of four with this:
“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.”