Fashion Icon Alert: Nelly Karim
Yasmin El-Beih, Saturday 9 Feb 2013
Egyptian actress and ballerina sets a high bar, Ahram Online spotlights fashion icons in the Arab world


Egyptian actress Nelly Karim made jaws drop when she appeared at the Doha Tribeca film festival in November donning a floor-length black gown with sequined designs at the bust and a unique knotted belt that gives "empire waist" a whole new meaning. The 38-year-old mother of four is often recognized as a trendsetter among the Egyptian social elite and even across the Arab world. Making her mark on and off the red carpet, Nelly was one of few artists and intellectuals who agreed to attend a meeting held by the president Mohamed Morsi at the Presidential Palace in September to discuss the future of art and creativity following the revolution despite verbal attacks made at the entertainment industry by Islamists in the months beforehand.

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The ballerina of partly-Russian descent, Nelly Karim has starred in over a dozen films, including the riveting 2010 Egyptian drama 678, which, based on true events, interweaved the tale of three different women and their experiences with sexual harassment. The thought-provoking film shed light on a serious but ignored issue in Egyptian society that has touched (or often, traumatised) the lives of women every day in a culture so accustomed to silencing, or even shaming the victim. Her more recent roles include an upcoming comedy, The Zombie, and a leading role in The Blue Elephant beside the humorous, yet often playing the role of the struggling Egyptian young man, Kareem Abdel Aziz.

Nelly Karim’s style is effortlessly distinctive, her unique pieces and polished look is a reflection of her work: unconventional, yet put-together; trend-setting, without going overboard. In the Arab world, no one else can pull off a look like the one she did on the second day of the 2010 7th Dubai International Film Festival as smoothly (above). The sharp, large studs at the waist and loose legs (almost mimicking a men’s suit) are balanced with a playful v-neck and a feminine, silver necklace.

Her hair immaculately coiffed, straightened and often held back, understated makeup with just about enough liner (the white liner in the corner of her eyes at the Doha Tribeca film festival, far below, is to die for!) to bring out her hazel eyes, Nelly Karim sports the same natural look on and off the red carpet. She tops her minimalist, classy look on and off the screen with her best accessory, her smile.

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