Ari Sheuhmelian and Pogah Couture Finalist in Oscars Designer Challenge 2010

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9 of the hottest new talents have been named finalists in this year's Oscars Designer Challenge, including Los Angeles' Ari Sheuhmelian whose Pogah Couture has been sighted on the red carpet this year on Lauren Conrad, Ginnifer Goodwin and Lori Loughlin.

Public voting for “Oscars Designer Challenge 2010” begins today at 5 p.m. PT at Oscar.com, the official Web site of the Academy Awards, where movie fans and fashion lovers will be able to see footage of the gowns and cast their vote. Anyone over the age of 18 can register to participate and will be eligible to vote once a day through 11:59 p.m. PT on March 1, 2010, when the voting period ends.

Beginning March 3, “Oscars Designer Challenge: Behind the Dress,” a Web series documenting the competition will be viewable on Oscar.com daily through March 8, 2010.

The designers participating in “Oscars Designer Challenge 2010” are Fernanda Carneiro, Los Angeles; Elda De La Rosa, Chicago; Ivy Higa, New York; Phong Hong, Los Angeles; Rania Salibi, Phoenix; Oday Shakar, Los Angeles; Ari Sheuhmelian, Los Angeles; Oliver Tolentino, Los Angeles; and Kelsy Zimba, New York.

In addition to having his or her winning design worn on the live telecast, the winning designer will receive two tickets to attend the Oscars ceremony.

Ari Sheuhmelian is the force behind the couture house of Pogah. The origins of his artistic expression came together through his upbringing in both Lebanon and Syria.

Ari first studied at the University of Beirut where he received a Masters Degree in International Marketing and a BA in Business Administration.

Seeking to express his creative vision, Ari enrolled in the fashion design program offered at ESMOD (Ecole Superieure des Arts et Techniques de la Mode) in Paris, France. Ari was taken in by the renowned house of French couturier Dominque Sirop, while also establishing his own name Syria.

Pogah (Hagop spelled backwards) offered both couture and prêt-a-porter trunk shows in the Middle East, which have earned him a well deserved and strong reputation for beauty and craftsmanship.

Ari was awarded the first place award in the UNESCO Design 21 international competition for new designers, at EXPO 98 in Lisbon, Portugal. Presently, the selected gown remains on display in the Fellissimo Group Headquarters in Japan.

He has also participated by invitation in the highly acclaimed Saint Etienne Biennale.

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