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Styled Archives: ‘Saint’ Dalida’s Most Memorable Moments

Whether photographed candidly in cafes or dazzling audiences on stage, Dalida set trends that endured and inspired up-and-coming stars.

Ziyad El-Helbawy

Styled Archives: ‘Saint’ Dalida’s Most Memorable Moments

Born in 1933 in Shoubra, Egypt, Yolanda Cristina Gigliotti, known as Dalida, was destined for stardom. Growing up immersed in the rich multicultural milieu of 20th-century Cairo as the daughter of a respected first violinist at the Cairo Opera House, Dalida's early years were surrounded by the ethereal harmonies and tunes that filled her home.

Dalida's beauty was evident from a young age. In 1954, she won the title of Miss Egypt, catching the eye of French film director Marco de Gastyne. Their meeting launched Dalida's career, and she flew to Paris that same year. In France, she quickly found success as a renowned movie star and discovered a voice that would define multiple eras of music.

Dalida's breakout hit, "Bambino," released in 1956, spent a record-setting 46 consecutive weeks in the top 10 charts across Europe, cementing her stardom. Her later hits solidified her status as an Arab icon. Throughout the Middle East and North Africa, Dalida's recordings of Arabic songs in the 1970s remain deeply cherished, especially "Helwa Ya Baladi". She was also wildly popular for songs like "Salma Ya Salama" and the heartfelt "Ahsan Nas," a love letter to her country of birth.

Her international success and presence within the fashion capital of the world, Paris, granted her access to the crème de la crème of couture. Whether photographed candidly in cafes, elegantly posed with fellow celebrities, or dazzling audiences on stage, her wardrobe set trends that inspired up-and-coming stars.

For this week’s Styled Archives, we’re celebrating the ‘Saint’ of the Arab world, Dalida.

At the Pyramids | 1970s

On each visit back to Egypt, Dalida would pose alongside the pyramids, sometimes indulging in stereotypical tourist pictures. Who can blame her? We've all been there.

On the Nile | 1970s

In a picture beloved by many Egyptians, Dalida is seen posing on a sailboat on the Nile, stunning in a floral summer dress.

With Omar Sharif | 1981

A match made in fairytale heaven, Dalida looked regal alongside Egyptian star Omar Sharif as he swayed with her during one of her many television performances in 1981.

Milan, Italy | 1966

For the true old money aesthetic, look no further than Dalida walking the streets of Milan in a high-neck wool dress, complemented by a thin white belt, calf-high white boots, and sunglasses.

Senigallia, Italy | 1968

Captured on vacation in Senigallia, Italy, Dalida is seen with a wide smile, racing through the shoreline, surrounded by fans.

On Stage at the Olympia, Paris | 1967

During a performance at the Olympia in Paris, Dalida took to the stage in a minimal white dress, proudly holding a traditional Egyptian tambourine.

Live Television Performance, Paris | 1971

Dressed in full Pharaonic attire, Dalida represented her home country’s heritage during a live French television show.

At Home in Paris, France | Circa 1960s

In her 1960s housewife era, Dalida is candidly shot at home, tasting a recipe of her own creation, wearing a floral shirt that shows her fondness for flower motifs.

Portrait by Van Leo | 1986

Captured by famed American-Egyptian photographer Van Leo in his Cairo studio, Dalida is seen in a traditional upper Egyptian black garb.

Circa 1970s

Animal prints were another favorite of Dalida's. Shot at home, she looks stunning in a form-fitting leopard print dress.

On Stage in Paris, France | 1970

Performing "Ma Melo Melodia," Dalida looked like a Burlesque icon in a form-fitting bodysuit, overshadowed by a statement pastel pink coat.