Early life and educationEdit
Reem Acra studied at the American University of Beirut, where her parents both worked. Her mother, Nadia, worked in the family medicine department, and her father Aftim, was a prominent and distinguished academic professor, public health expert, and an amber collector. She grew in Beirut with her up three brothers, Michael, Fadi, and Sari.
While a teenager, she joined the fashion club at the American University in Beirut where she graduated in 1982 with a business degree. She held a fashion show in June 1982 that attracted 2,000 people. In 1986, she graduated magna cum laude from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York and won the Fashion Design Department’s award for her year. After graduating from FIT, Acra studied at the École Supérieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode design school in Paris.
After her studies at ESMOD in Paris, Acra took mainstream fashion design positions in Hong Kong and Taiwan. At the age of 25 she was overseeing a $30 million project, but left after seven years to start her own line in New York.
Acra worked as a luxury interior designer for three years before starting her own line.
Acra started her company in 1997 as a bridal line, after designing a dress for a friend's wedding in three weeks, on a bet that she could meet the deadline for the wedding which was set in Paris at the Hôtel de Crillon. Acra took a photograph of the dress and distributed it to the media, including The New York Times, which published the photograph. She held her first fashion show in 1999.
Soon after, she bought $20,000 in fabric with her American Express card, pitched designs to Saks Fifth Avenue and Kleinfeld, and received an order for thirty dresses. She then worked with 89-year-old Max Kane, who owned a factory on 39th Street in Manhattan's Hell's Kitchen. Acra credits her early success to Kane's mentoring and support. After working with Kane, Acra expanded her business to additional factories and opened her own production centers. Her brand expanded to include evening-gowns in 2003 and a ready-to-wear collection in 2008. Her designs are carried in more than 150 retailers around the world.
The following celebrities have worn Acra's gowns: Christina Applegate, Halle Berry, Beyoncé, Jill Biden, Julie Bowen, Jane Fonda, Selena Gomez, Anna Gunn, Katherine Heigl, Angelina Jolie, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, Madonna, Olivia Munn, Nicole Richie, Kristen Stewart, Tika Sumpter, Taylor Swift, Olivia Wilde, Reese Witherspoon, Robin Wright, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Melania Trump, Allison Janney, Gwen Stefani, Angela Bassett , Kate Beckinsale, and Elle Fanning
In November 2010, she opened a store in Beirut, which sells Acra's evening wear and ready-to-wear collections, in addition to accessories and a bridal salon. Acra's retail reach is spread throughout all major fancy international destinations. Acra also launched a line on the Home Shopping Network in September 2010.
In 2014, Acra designed and produced the staff uniforms for the American University of Beirut Medical Center, where her parents both had worked.
Actress Allison Janney wore a bright red Acra gown with floor length sleeves while accepting the 2018 Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
Memberships and AwardsEdit
- Member of the Council of Fashion Designers of America
- Board Member of the Dubai Design and Fashion Council 
- Recipient of Building Bridges Award from the Bridges of Understanding foundation, a non-profit organization which seeks to improve relations between the Middle East and the United States (October 2014) 
- Board Member of the Bridal Council of America 
- Named the 7th Most Powerful Arab Woman in the World by Forbes Magazine (2015)
- Recipient of Ellis Island Medal of Honor, an American award founded by the National Ethnic Coalition of Organizations (NECO) and presented annually to American citizens whose accomplishments in their field and inspired service to the United States are cause for celebration. Past Medalists include seven U.S. Presidents, several world leaders, two Nobel Prize winners and countless leaders of industry, education, the arts, sports and government (2004)
- Member of the International Advisory Council of the American University of Beirut 
- Member of the Honorary Board of the American Foundation for Saint George Hospital 
- Goodwill Ambassador of Tammana as they give strength and hope to children suffering from critical illnesses by granting life changing wishes
Acra's previous home in New York City was a 3,200-square-foot loft in the Garment District, Manhattan. A New York magazine profile of Acra's apartment described it as featuring: "...[a] striking photograph by Ruven Afanador ... part of an ad campaign for Acra’s bridal business; she enlarged it and let it take over a wall, transforming the image into a piece of art. A table was fashioned from blocks of resin that contain delicate pieces of sequin-embroidered lace that Acra used in her first bridal designs, an idea inspired by her father’s collection of amber.Now, she resides in New York City with her husband, NY Plastic Surgeon, Dr Nicolas Tabbal. 
In addition to her New York City loft, Acra bought and renovated a 2,400-square-foot apartment in the husk of a bombed-out, 19th-century building in Saifi Village near downtown Beirut. A Wall Street Journal story on the apartment characterizes it as having minimal furnishings and bold colors. "I didn't want to overwhelm the place with things," Acra told a reporter for the story. She owns four homes altogether, two in Beirut, one in New York and one in Nashville.
World Equestrian GamesEdit
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- "Melania Trump wears dress by Lebanese immigrant designer". Al Arabiya English. Retrieved 21 January 2017.
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- "Adelinde Cornelissen, FEI Athlete of the Year 2011". eurodressage. 2011-11-15. Retrieved 27 August 2014.
- Ricca-Smith, Charlotte (2013-11-19). "Charlotte Dujardin named FEI's best athlete". Horse & Country. Horse & Country. Retrieved 27 August 2014.