The 6 August was meant to be our big moment: the launch of H&M's first collection with an Arab designer in its 18-year history of fashion collaborations, with Beirut's very own Sandra Mansour joining the illustrious roll call that now includes Balmain, Moschino, Karl Lagerfeld, Alexander Wang and Roberto Cavalli.
The blasts in Lebanon on 4 August changed everything, and instead of celebrating the gothic Fleur de Soleil collection, Sandra - like so many of her fellow Beirut-based designers - was surveying the debris of her shattered showroom, and sent this message of solidarity to her country folk: "Our heart and soul is aching for our Lebanon. Praying for all the victims of this horrific event. To all those lost, may Your Souls Rest in Peace, and to all those effected, we are here to help. Praying for our Lebanon. May God bless and protect this nation and it’s people. Stay strong beautiful Lebanon."
Following a three-week hiatus, the world can now enjoy Sandra's collection, and H&M has pledged $100,000 to the Lebanese Red Cross. In what must surely be a bittersweet moment, Sandra acknowledges, "During these dark times, we are heartened by both H&M and the world's support for Lebanon. We believe in the power of light and spreading it."
Shop the Sandra Mansour x H&M collection here.
Photos: Supplied and courtesy of Sandra Mansour