03/18/2010 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Lebanese Designers Start Sketching For Oscar-Hopeful Celebs

Lebanese designers are busy sketching and sewing--and keeping their eyes on the prize. The Oscar prize, that is.

"This is the time of year we start our [haute] couture collection for Paris fashion week in January. It's usually from these fashion shows that celebrities pick their dresses," designer George Chakra told the Wall Street Journal.

Chakra designed Helen Mirren's 2007 Oscar dress, when she won for best actress, but he's not the first from his country to clad an award-winning celeb. In 2002, Elie Saab dressed Halle Berry when she won an Oscar for best actress, and since then, Lebanese designers' creations have frequently been spotted at high-profile events:

"When you see an Arab dress on the red carpet, you know it," says Amine Jreissati, fashion editor for Marie Claire Arabia. "The culture is in the dress, in the cut and the shape, with layers and movement. And there's also the embroidery. It's these small details that make a difference."

The garments are often long, flowing, intricately stitched and very wearable...much like Jill Biden's inaugural gown by Reem Acra. Okay, Jill isn't a celeb, but she certainly looked like one in the strapless, red gown.

Curious about Acra's inspiration? Check out what's in her office.

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