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January 15, 2020 1:58 pm

Israeli Model Says Lebanese Designer Removed Her From Paris Fashion Show Due to Her Nationality

avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Israeli model Arbel Kynan. Photo: YouTube Screenshot.

An Israeli model asserted on Tuesday that a Lebanese fashion designer removed her from the lineup for his runway show, part of Haute Couture Week in Paris, because of her nationality.

“Truthfully … it’s still hard for me to digest,” Arbel Kynan said in an Instagram post in which she detailed the experience. She added, “At the end of the day, we are all human, no matter what our origin, race skin color or whatever. Be human! This is the most important!”

Kynan said she arrived in Paris a few days ago to be photographed by a “very respectable fashion company” and was told beforehand that she would also walk in the designer’s show during Haute Couture Week, which begins Monday.

“Many times, people ask us models where we are from, and on the day of the shoot they asked me where I am from and I of course answered with a big smile that I am from Tel Aviv,” she recalled.

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The shoot continued as usual and finished early. A few days passed and, on Tuesday, Kynan wrote, “…just an hour ago I received an email from my agency stating that the client is Lebanese and he does not want me to take part in the show because I live in Tel Aviv, Israel — this is exactly the content of the email I received.”

Kynan later told Israeli media outlets, “These aren’t the values I was raised with.”

“I think we need to be better people,” she added.

It was later revealed that the Lebanese fashion designer who turned away Kynan was Rabih Kayrouz, creator and founder of the fashion house Maison Rabih Kayrouz, established in Paris in 2008.

Two years ago, Lebanese designer Elie Saab, who is also taking part in this year’s Haute Couture Week, sparked outrage in Lebanon and among pro-Palestinian activists when he posted on Instagram a photo of Israeli actress Gal Gadot wearing one of his designs. Following the backlash, Saab deleted the post.

Editor’s note: The article has been updated to include the name of the designer.

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