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Iranian Model Farnoush Hamidian Shares Her Heart-Wrenching Experience With Rape as a Child

Iranian Model Farnoush Hamidian Shares Her Heart-Wrenching Experience With Rape as a Child

As the unrest triggered by Mahsa Amini’s murder rages, model Farnoush Hamidian, who was raped as a child by Iranian intelligence officers, shares her story of brutality and vengeance for the first time
Farnoush Hamaidian Photo: Ankita Chandra
I grew up in the mountains, 30km from the Caspian sea, in a villa with my two older sisters, younger brothers, parents, and grandparents. I chased butterflies in the garden, climbed trees, read and wrote poetry. My father had a vast library, and we were taught that our bookshelf must be bigger than our closet. We were raised by my mother while my father worked to support the family; this is how it was in Iran in the 1980s. During the week, I went to an all-girls school. When I was in the second grade, during Islamic religion class, my teacher told me that if I was not wearing the hijab by age nine, on the day of judgement, I would be hung from my breasts and skewered through my vagina and out through my mouth. These were post-revolution times and men felt authorized – by the government – to behave a certain way. The idea was put in their head that they were better and that they deserved better than women. I wasn’t sad – I was scared. God was mean and He had every right to be. This was the law, and if I didn’t obey, I would be punished. I said yes to everything I was told.
I began to express myself through poetry; I wrote about the feeling of being mute. When I was 14, I was walking home from school when I was arrested by the morality police. Families already warned girls to ‘not show our hair’ and be careful because ‘they would catch us.’ A car slowed and I was called over: ‘My daughter, my daughter, come, we want to teach you a lesson,’ called out a woman. I got in the van. Two men sat in the front and one woman was in the back. She slapped me. ‘What did I do?’ I cried. Later, I was given papers and asked to write my crime and promise to never do it again. I was told to write that I haven’t been wearing my veil properly and that I was influenced by Western culture. I was wearing Max Mara sunglasses when I was arrested. For seven hours I sat in a holding room with other girls – there were girls everywhere. No one could speak to anyone, and everyone was crying. As a girl, you must have a sponsor, who is your father. When mine arrived, he was forced to teach me a lesson. He had to admit to my mistake and apologize. He also had to pay a fine and offer eggs from his poultry factory for one year.
Farnoush Hamaidian Photo: Ankita Chandra
Back at home, behind closed doors, we wore whatever we wanted. Our house – like those of many others – was full of friends and relatives. No one wore a veil if they didn’t want to. There was a stark difference between what the government wanted people to do and what was done. We listened to the radio and watched television. I grew up listening to ‘I’m a Barbie Girl’ and watching cartoons like Popeye. I would soon be 16 and learn about sexual education at school, in a biological sense. But nothing could prepare me for what would happen next. At 15, I was already very tall. I played basketball and attended yoga classes with my mother and sisters. I also loved music and was the cool girl with all the clandestine tapes, like Linkin Park, my favorite at the time. One morning, I was walking to a friend’s house to drop off a tape when a van stopped me. I was taken from the street by three men – intelligence services officers. There was nothing secretive about this organization and they could be recognized from their extremely conservative civilian clothes, long beards, and so much hatred in their eyes. They tied my wrists together with wires; I still bear those marks on my skin. In the van, they blindfolded me and insulted me with extreme words. Until that day, I didn’t even understand what those words meant. The van stopped and the men took me into a room. It was very cold. They stripped me of my clothes and took turns raping me. I couldn’t see them, but I could smell them, and I could feel the difference. My blindfold came off and that’s when they started beating me, even using a chair. I lost consciousness several times. When they finished, they dressed me, and put my hijab back on. It all happened in a very short time. Five hours. It only took five hours to destroy my mind and my body.
Farnoush Hamaidian Photo: Ankita Chandra
The men did not think they were doing anything wrong. I believe that. I was an object to teach a lesson to. When they finished, I was disposed in the street. I regained consciousness and found myself outside of the city. I somehow managed to walk to a petrol station where I said I was taken and asked to call my parents. When my parents came, I could not control my saliva, which was pouring out of my mouth. My hands had seized and were deformed. I couldn’t speak. I wasn’t crying, I was moaning. I was taken to doctors who confirmed the rape. At that time, no one had heard of such a thing happening. Not by the government. Not to a child. My father was not able to believe it and I know why. It was a year or two before the election for Ahmadinejad’s presidency and my father was against him. He was threatened multiple times, but he never believed something like this could happen to him. Imagine how difficult it is to accept that it’s your fault, indirectly, that your child is taken.
In the years that followed, I went to eight different psychologists, and was prescribed extreme medication, taking up to 11 different pills a day just to survive. I remember my mother caressing my hair, sleeping next to me at night, and following my panic attacks for over nine years. She experienced everything I did. I was the walking dead and she carried me along the way. I didn’t stay alive because I wanted to, but because my mother made me. I have never felt safe in my life other than in my mother’s arms. My mother showed me the strength of a woman. She is the god that I can see. She is the god that I can touch.
Farnoush Hamaidian Photo: Ankita Chandra
I was in Germany the first time I was asked to model. I said no. Modeling in Iran is illegal and, in my country, I wasn’t considered pretty. My nose is too big, my skin is too dark. But eventually, I found a voice. Modeling became my freedom and my revenge. In front of the camera, I have confidence. I can be who I want. I can show and talk through my body the way that I decide. I stand here for every person who has low or no esteem for women. I want them to see my ugly face and my ugly body. To every boy and girl who has ever been brutalized, I say to you, it is not your fault. I want to show whoever has been made to feel ugly and unloved that you can still be happy and become loved, feel safe, and feel innocent.
When I see what they are doing to the girls in Iran, so publicly, raping them in the jails and ripping their bodies, I feel like it is happening again to me. I am reliving my trauma. I am breaking down every day. I overeat, I shake, and at night, I clench my teeth so hard, they break. I cannot let it continue. I’m going to fight this until the day I die. We Iranians fighting for freedom know that no one other than the nation can help themselves. We want countries to stop accepting Iranian money and laundering it.
I have forgiven every person who has ever done anything to me. I will remember them better than who they are because I am better than who they are. My life is not meaningless. I want to be successful to prove to anybody who ever broke anybody – that it doesn’t matter how many times you broke me – you were not worthy enough. This is my revenge. To celebrate my body the way I want. To celebrate my existence. To live.”
Originally published in the December 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia

Watch Zainab Al-Eqabi Reveal Her Style Superstars, from a Graduation Gift to Her Mother’s Necklace

Watch Zainab Al-Eqabi Reveal Her Style Superstars, from a Graduation Gift to Her Mother’s Necklace

In the next episode of ‘My Style Superstars’, Zainab Al-Eqabi reveals her wardrobe’s most prized possessions, some of which happen to be gifts given at the most important points in her life.
First up, the para-athlete and presenter brings out her mother’s necklace which once belonged to her grandmother, and was later split into different pieces to be shared with her siblings. “It’s nice to know that I have the same necklace as my sisters,” she shares. Al-Eqabi also holds another jewelry piece gifted by her mother close to her heart. Given to her before she embarked on a year-long master’s course in the UK, the ring features the kahraman stone and served as a reminder of her mother while she was away from home. Al-Eqabi’s next item is sure to strike a chord with all those who have special memories of their first solo travel. Bought at a local Parisian shop during one of her first trips to the city, the bag marked a moment of celebration for Al-Eqabi’s independence. Al-Eqabi treated herself to another bag growing up—this time, after completing her master’s degree, “to tell myself that women should dream, and work hard to achieve their goals.”
Watch the video above to hear all the stories attached to the sentimental pieces in Al-Eqabi’s closet.

Watch Dior’s Pre-Fall 2023 Men’s Show Live from the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt

Watch Dior’s Pre-Fall 2023 Men’s Show Live from the Pyramids of Giza in Egypt

Dior Men Pre-Fell 2022
As Dior resumes its tradition of showcasing its menswear collections around the world, the Pyramids of Giza in Cairo, Egypt will become the backdrop of the fashion house’s Pre-Fall 2023 collection on December 3, 2022. Designed by artistic director Kim Jones and titled ‘Celestial’, the collection aims to celebrate a lifelong passion for travel.
Jones shares a special connection with the continent, having spent his childhood years in Africa, and is known for his love for globetrotting and staging his designs abroad. Although the upcoming show marks Dior’s first in Egypt, the French fashion house’s relationship with the country dates back to 2004. It is when Dior’s then-creative director John Galliano took inspiration from his travels to Egypt to create the iconic Spring/Summer couture collection replete with cultural details. The Pre-Fall show will also be the second one post-Covid after last year’s London presentation. Previously, Dior has staged collections in Spain, China, Greece, Italy, South Korea, the UK, and the US.
As always, Vogue Arabia is all set to bring exclusive content straight from the red carpet and runway to the readers via our website and social media. Make sure to keep an eye out for your favorite stars and tune into the show at 4:30pm Cairo time through the livestream below.

December’s – The Winter Escape Issue with Dr. Barbara Sturm

December’s – The Winter Escape Issue with Dr. Barbara Sturm

Fashion

by Amy Sessions
2 hours ago

Creative Direction: Amy Sessions & Dan RobinsonPhotographer: Greg AdamskiProduction: Olivia MorrisFashion Assistant: Sarah JosephMakeup & Hair: Melanie Meyer by MMGVideographer: Mark MathewCover Star: Dr. Barbara Sturm
Welcome to The Winter Escape Issue.
For our cover, we are proud to have partnered with global skin guru Dr. Barbara Sturm. In The Skin Superwoman, we discuss what it takes to build and scale without compromising on quality. Sturm is everything you would expect from a powerhouse who has built a brand from the ground up, with a laser-sharp attention to detail and second-to-none wit that reflects deep-rooted intelligence.

In this issue, we get you ready for party season to close out 2022 and look at taking a break in climates both hot and cold. Soft Touch compiles an edit of the best tactile textures for FW22, The Edit delivers the coolest attire for a vacation en piste and Alanui shows us how to look cool while staying cosy in Après-Ski Attire.
The Gift Guide gives us a glimpse into the hero pieces the Emirates Woman team and some of the incredible women we know want to invest in and we look at the best locations to unwind over holiday season in The Wanderlust – The Cold Escape and The Wanderlust – The Hot Escape.
I’d like to take this opportunity on behalf of the team to thank AW. As the year draws to a close and we reflect on what we are grateful for, we have been grateful for both your guidance and support and are proud of what we have built together.
We wish you all a Happy New Year.
The best way to predict the future is to create it, see you in 2023!
December’s – The Winter Escape Issue – Download Now
– For more on luxury lifestyle, news, fashion and beauty follow Emirates Woman on Facebook and Instagram
Images: Supplied

Take a Tour Inside Place Vendôme, Qatar’s Parisian-Inspired Shopping Jewel

Take a Tour Inside Place Vendôme, Qatar’s Parisian-Inspired Shopping Jewel

Mia wears coat, bag, boots, earrings, Bottega Veneta. Dana wears coat, tights, gloves, bag, shoes, earrings, Fendi. Photo: Alanoud Alghamdi
No one does luxury fashion quite like Qatar, and the sprawling Place Vendôme serves as proof.
A multibillion Qatari Riyal project, Place Vendôme was brought to life by United Developers, a group of four Qatari investors who partnered to align their expertise in retail, real estate, construction and contracting. The result? A palatial shopping destination that brings some of the best brands in the world under one roof.
Eight years in the making, Place Vendôme was first conceptualized in 2014, and opened its doors to the public in April 2022. Home to two five star luxury hotels—namely Le Royal Meridien, luxury collection hotel Palais Vendôme, and Le Royal Meridien Residences, the mall extends over 1,150,000m2, and features close to 560 different retail outlets. The highlight of the space, however, has got to be its exclusive luxe shopping wing, where one can find the top labels from across the globe. What’s more, Place Vendôme also boasts an extensive central entertainment component that showcases constant attractions to visitors. To maintain the quality of all Place Vendôme experiences, the hotels are all operated by Marriott International, ensuring that each individual who sets foot here leaves with a smile on their face.

Given its tell-tale name, it’s only natural that Qatar’s Place Vendôme would take inspiration from the famous high-end shopping street in Paris, Rue de la Paix, of which Place Vendôme is the starting point. The architecture of Place Vendôme echoes the Parisian aesthetic wonderfully, sweeping shoppers away into a different world altogether with its soothing palette, glossy marble finishes, and beautifully sculpted domes. For those who love the outdoors, a must-see feature here is the canal that runs through the space directly from the sea, surrounded by an open plaza brimming with must-visit cafes and restaurants.
Place Vendôme was lovingly created keeping the Qatar National Vision 2030 in mind, and reflects the country’s unwavering goal to amplify its economic diversification as well as human and social development. Take a tour through the stunning shopping destination below.

Dana (left) wears blazer, shorts, tights, bag, shoes, earring, rings, Givenchy. Mia (right) wears blazer, skirt, bag, shoes, Alexander McQueen. Photo: Alanoud Alghamdi
Dana wears blazer, shirt, skirt, tie, belt, boots, Gucci. Mia wears jacket, shirt, pants, tie, shoes, Louis Vuitton. Photo: Alanoud Alghamdi
Mia wears blazer, skirt, belt, bag, shoes, Prada. Dana wears blazer, skirt, belt, bag, shoes, necklaces, Dolce & Gabbana. Photo: Alanoud Alghamdi
Mia wears dress, Carolina Herrera; top, shoes, stylist’s own. Dana wears dress, shoes, bracelets, Saint Laurent. Photo: Alanoud Alghamdi
Dana wears dress, bag, shoes, Salvatore Ferragamo. Mia wears dress, bag, boots, hat, Loro Piana. Photo: Alanoud Alghamdi
Photography: Alanoud AlghamdiStyle: Mohammad Hazem RezqHair: Katrin Secka Makeup: Maria ZhangModels: Mia at MMG and DanaProducer: Danica Zivkovic Style assistants: Reem Atout, Mohammad Ahmadi 

Miu Miu Miniskirt, JW Anderson Pigeon Clutch and Birkenstock Boston Clogs Among Hottest Items in 2022, Says Lyst

Miu Miu Miniskirt, JW Anderson Pigeon Clutch and Birkenstock Boston Clogs Among Hottest Items in 2022, Says Lyst

Lyst, the fashion shopping platform that serves 200 million users worldwide, has released its annual year in fashion report. After analyzing data gathered from January to October, the platform concluded that 2022 was Miu Miu’s year.
Searches for the label, which was founded by Miuccia Prada in 1993 as a more personal subbrand to Prada, increased by 49 percent on Lyst year-on-year, and it was mostly driven by viral products such as its ballet flats, as well as the miniskirt, which was first introduced in the brand’s spring 2022 collection.

“The brand’s ballet flats quickly became its most popular product on Lyst following their release, having been worn by the likes of Sydney Sweeney, Bella Hadid and Rosalía. A simpler, Gen Z-friendly version of its 2016 counterpart, it plays into the balletcore and “indie-sleaze” trends that have been dominating the year. With the highly anticipated return of menswear for fall 2022 and a spring 2023 collection that generated more than 23 million views on TikTok, Miu Miu was the brand to watch on the runway,” the report said.

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JW Anderson’s 3D-printed pigeon clutch, introduced in the men’s fall 2022 show, was named the weirdest and most wonderful moment of the year.

Lyst said the clutch is sold out across multiple retailers, and the $890 accessory now comes with a waiting list. It has become the brand’s most viewed product on Lyst, with searches increasing by 488 percent in the first week of October when Sarah Jessica Parker was seen carrying it during the filming of the second season of “And Just Like That,” the sequel to “Sex and the City.”

Bella Hadid is dressed by spraying Fabrican Spray-on fabric during the Coperni spring 2023 fashion show.

AFP via Getty Images

The other “It” bag of this year is Prada’s Re-nylon Re-edition 2000 mini bag. Lyst said over the summer that searches for the item increased 131 percent, and its popularity shot up on TikTok thanks to its Gen Z-friendly ‘90s aesthetic. The hashtag #pradanylonbag generated more than 4.2 million views.

In terms of footwear, Lyst said Birkenstock’s Boston clogs are the hottest shoe of the year, with searches increasing 593 percent in the first six months of 2022. This shoe model also had a high fashion moment this year as it launched a collaboration with Dior Men for the fall 2022 season.

Lyst also namechecked a handful of celebrities responsible for creating some of the most viral moments in 2022.

For example, Hadid, who was named the power dresser of the year by Lyst for triggering an average 1,900 percent increase in searches for similar pieces that she wore, was the model in the creation of the viral Coperni spray-on dress. Lyst said in the days following the show, Coperni saw a staggering 3,000 percent increase in searches, making it the most searched brand from fashion month.

Kim Kardashian in vintage Bob Mackie at the 2022 Met Gala.

Christopher Polk for Variety

Kim Kardashian’s Marilyn Monroe moment at the Met Gala led to a 456 percent spike in Bob Mackie searches, while Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana in “The Crown,” where she recreated the famous “revenge dress” scene at the opening of Serpentine Gallery’s summer party in 1994, caused a 58 percent increase in searches for black off-the-shoulder dresses, while demand for black dresses with a sweetheart neckline skyrocketed 103 percent on Lyst.

The filming of Greta Gerwig’s Barbie movie, starring Margot Robbie and Ryan Gosling, helped Barbiecore become the trend of 2022, Lyst said. Searches for all things pink on the platform rose 416 percent after pictures of a pink-clad Robbie surfaced in June.

“But the defining pink of the year came courtesy of Valentino. Just a week after the brand’s unique shade of hot pink was presented on its fall 2023 runway, searches increased 152 percent,” the report added.

Other items and events that caused spikes in searches on Lyst include the Diesel 1DR bag, the Jacquemus x Nike collaboration, the “Weird Girl” trend on TikTok, Yvon Chouinard transferring his ownership of Patagonia to the Patagonia Purpose Trust, as well as the black Prada lace dress Sydney Sweeney wore to receive The Rising Star award at Cannes in April.

Sydney Sweeney attends the pink carpet during the 5th Canneseries Festival in Prada

WireImage

Lyst counted Luar, Amesh and Mônot as brands to watch for 2023.

Katy Lubin, vice president of brand and communications at Lyst, said the annual report provides “an opportunity to reflect on the moments that shaped how we shopped.”

“With the recent Y2K fashion renaissance and TikTok’s ever-growing influence on the fashion industry, we’ve seen a new generation of Lyst shoppers rediscovering brands that defined the early ‘00s. Brand of the year Miu Miu and logo of the year Diesel succeeded in capturing the zeitgeist for Gen Z luxury shoppers.

“Major global celebrities continue to have a huge influence when it comes to setting trends alight. Bella, Kylie [Jenner] and Dua [Lipa] were amongst the top tastemakers this year who truly inspired shoppers to add to bag.…They’ve already reached global cult status across the fashion fan spectrum, and look set to be one of the hottest gifting items for the holiday season too,” Lubin said.

Parajumpers Opens First Physical Store in New York’s SoHo Neighborhood

Parajumpers Opens First Physical Store in New York’s SoHo Neighborhood

NEW YORK — Parajumpers may be based in the foothills of the Dolomite Mountains in Italy, but its history is squarely American. That’s why the outerwear brand chose New York City as the site for its first retail store.
On Monday afternoon, Parajumpers quietly opened the doors to a 2,000-square-foot store at 464 Broome Street in the heart of SoHo, a neighborhood that houses other well-known outerwear brands including Canada Goose, Moose Knuckles and Burton.

The store is part of the company’s strategy to grow its business in the U.S. where it already has a robust wholesale and e-commerce presence, according to Cristina Paulon, global marketing director and a member of the family that owns the brand.

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And the brand’s ties to the U.S. run deep. As the story goes, Parajumpers founder Massimo Rossetti was at a bar in Anchorage, Alaska, and had a chance encounter with a member of the 210th Rescue Squadron, a unit of the Alaska National Guard’s search and rescue team that parachutes into areas where there are injuries and natural disasters. They are called PJS, or parajumpers, and their motto is: “That Others May Live.”

Rossetti, who owned a manufacturing plant in Italy under the Ape & Partners SpA name, was so impressed by the airman that he created jackets inspired by their story. And those jackets were the catalyst for the creation of the Parajumpers brand.

Now 16 years later, Parajumpers has created a line rooted in outerwear with details that reference the 210th, such as the yellow parachute cord closures on its jackets and a patch sporting both the initials PJS and the motto on the shoulder.

It’s this tie to America that prompted Parajumpers to open its first store here.

“We chose New York because we have Italian spirit but American heritage,” said Justin Warren, vice president of sales and marketing for North America.

The store was designed by Stamuli, an Italian architectural firm headquartered in Stockholm that has also worked with Acne, Ganni, Tiger of Sweden, Alexander Wang and other fashion brands. 

The store features a minimalistic aesthetic with clean lines and raw materials such as natural wood and sprayed concrete. Yellow and orange tubing — a reference to the parachute cord and the brand’s signature color used on its pullers and stitching — is used to hang the jackets, while knitwear such as sweatshirts as well as accessories, including padded scarves and beanies, is housed on shelves. In addition to the apparel and accessories, there is also a variety of military-inspired bags, such as backpacks and totes, similar to those carried by the 210th.

The modular piping is inspired by the line’s design details.

Inside the main entrance is a wall of large LED screens featuring images of the brand’s fall campaign. These photos will be swapped seasonally. And the fitting rooms sport walls of natural imagery to make customers feel like they’re outdoors.

Although Parajumpers is best known for its outerwear, the brand has expanded its reach in recent years to other product categories for all seasons. Lightweight jackets for spring/summer and T-shirts, polos, shorts and swimwear will be added in the warmer months. The price range for the winter collection ranges from $350 for a sweatshirt to more than $2,000 for a down puffer.

While much of the line is unisex, there are also several women’s-specific models that have more traditionally feminine patterns and silhouettes.

The store is located on Broome Street in SoHo.

Although Parajumpers has invested a lot of energy into opening the store, Paulon said there are no immediate plans to open additional units in the U.S.

“We don’t have a huge business here,” she said of the U.S., despite selling at Nordstrom, Saks Fifth Avenue, Ssense and other retailers in North America. “But we wanted to stake our claim, and if we can be successful in our own store, it can set the tone for the business.”

Editor’s Letter: Ending the Year on a Positive Note with Inspiring Human Stories in Our December 2022 Issue

Editor’s Letter: Ending the Year on a Positive Note with Inspiring Human Stories in Our December 2022 Issue

Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut. Photo: Ziga Mihelcic
While attending the latest fashion weeks dedicated to the upcoming spring-summer seasons, I felt a complete shift of energy. Post-Covid, we all stored away our tracksuits and the comfy clothes we once wore to stay at home, and in turn had fun rediscovering the more glamorous side of fashion, rejoicing in colorful looks, shimmer, and tons of optimism. Now, it seems that fashion is resetting, as hinted by Balenciaga’s runway covered in mud, an MM6 Maison Margiela collection by John Galliano with clothes ripped and distressed, and a Prada show where hems were raw edges and fabrics deliberately wrinkled.
Historically, fashion has always had the capacity to predict and decode the social and economic context we are living in. Think of the introduction of the mini skirt in London, during the youth emancipation movement in 1964, or the release of Dior’s lavish new look, to signal the end of the World War restrictions. Now, as we seem to be on the verge of entering a global recession, and in a moment where in politics so many things are going wrong, with people being killed on a daily basis in Palestine and Iran, is this fashion telling us to buckle up?
On the topic of Iran, this month we are sharing the touching story of model Farnoush Hamidian, who reveals for the first time how she was raped as a child by Iranian intelligence officers. Farnoush is a dear friend of Vogue Arabia, and we have collaborated many times before. Reading her testimony touched me profoundly and reminded me that we never know what others might be secretly struggling with, even when you are a successful model with a glossy career.
Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmad Al Maktoum with wife Natalie Lankester. Photo: Sam Rawadi
Equally touching are two other features we are proud to share in this edition where, to end the year, we are emphasizing human stories that really inspired us. On our cover, supermodel Imaan Hammam and sister Aicha highlight the importance of sisterhood and tell us how they are proudly celebrating their Egyptian and Moroccan heritage in everything they do. Recovering from cancer, Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmad Al Maktoum and wife Natalie Lankester are all about positivity and goals as they train for the upcoming international equestrian competitions. On page 42 in Arabic, the royal couple also share how they met, and how they are bringing up their two children in a multicultural home.
To end this editor’s letter on a true positive note, I would like to share my excitement as we are wrapping up the final preparations for our annual Ball of Arabia, taking place December 15. Every year we explore a theme that elevates our culture, and the imminent event is no exception. This edition is inspired by Arabia’s golden age of entertainment. The night will be full of surprises (starting with the hosts), but it will also be deeply emotional. On stage, we will be honoring the careers of three groundbreaking divas who opened doors for the younger generations of women and entertainers: cinema icon Nabila Ebeed, music phenomenon Latifa, and Arabia’s eternal muse Georgina Rizk. I would like to thank Bulgari, Instagram, and Jumeirah Mina A’Salam for supporting our event, and I invite you to join the live coverage on our website and social media. I also wish you a fantastic new year full of joy, even if fashion in 2023 needs a happiness boost.
Originally published in the December 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia

Models and Sisters Imaan and Aicha Hammam Front Our December 2022 Issue Celebrating Family, Unity, and the Will of Humanity

Models and Sisters Imaan and Aicha Hammam Front Our December 2022 Issue Celebrating Family, Unity, and the Will of Humanity

Imaan Hamma for Vogue Arabia, December 2022. Photo: Bibi Borthwick
Fashion is reflecting the world’s current shift – with a global recession looming and ongoing strife in Palestine and Iran, next season glitter and glamour will be replaced with ripped, wrinkled, and distressed clothes as seen at Prada and MM6 Maison Margiela, and featured as a preview in the December edition’s pages. And yet optimism and hope reign. Vogue Arabia celebrates its last number of the year with a cover highlighting the unbreakable bond of Egyptian-Moroccan sisters, models Imaan and Aicha Hammam.
Aicha and Imaan Hamma for Vogue Arabia, December 2022. Photo: Bibi Borthwick
“Because I started modeling at such a young age, it helped me become comfortable with myself,” says Imaan. “It made me the woman I am today. And that’s why I wanted to help her in her process and in her journey of just becoming,” she adds of her younger sister. Commenting on the rising confidence of Arab creatives, she furthers, “Everything I do, I want people to know where I come from. I’m just so happy that it’s possible now, and that the door is open. Looking back, I’m not going to say I’m confident all the time, but I feel confident within myself and with what I’ve accomplished as a woman of color, as a Muslim woman.”
Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmad Al Maktoum with wife Natalie Lankester. Photo: Sam Rawadi
Another feature underscoring the strength in family unity is the story of Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmad Al Maktoum and wife Natalie Lankester. For the first time, they reveal Sheikh Rashid’s courageous battle against leukemia. “Our entire world was just thrown upside down. The diagnosis was overnight, and within 12 hours, we were on a plane to London for his treatment,” recalls Lankester. Yet they soldiered on, through intense chemotherapy treatments and onwards to continue their passion as professional equestrians. They share their goals for the upcoming international equestrian competitions, and the delight and ease of raising their two daughters in a multicultural home.
Ashley Park. Photo: Tarek Mawad
This edition also features Ashley Park, the actress best known as Mindy in the Netflix series Emily in Paris. Park has achieved global stardom, and it’s a process that has also seen the actress embark on a journey of reassessment and self-discovery. “I’ve realized how important it is for me to center in myself, establish boundaries, and understand how to not spread myself too thin. As a people-pleaser and somebody who likes to say yes to everything and make everyone happy, I’ve really had to recalibrate a bit recently,” she says.
Farnoush Hamidian. Photo: Ankita Chandra
Exclusively for Vogue Arabia, this month sees Iranian model Farnoush Hamidian, featured in Chopard and Dolce & Gabbana campaigns, reveal for the first time her harrowing rape as a child at the hands of Iranian intelligence officers, and her fight for redemption as the unrest spurred by the murder of Mahsa Amini grows. “Reading her testimony touched me profoundly,” writes editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut. “It reminded me that we never know what others might be struggling with.” Through Hamidian’s trials, she acknowledges her mother for carrying her every step of the way, stating, “I didn’t stay alive because I wanted to, but because my mother made me. I have never felt safe in my life other than in my mother’s arms. My mother showed me the strength of a woman.”
Maison Artc
In this issue, Vogue Arabia announces its annual Ball of Arabia under the theme of Arabia’s golden age of entertainment. The night will see the careers of three groundbreaking divas honored – cinema icon Nabila Ebeed, music phenomenon Latifa, and the eternal muse Georgina Rizk – before hundreds of esteemed guests. Glamour and talent will also be feted at the upcoming Red Sea Film Festival, happening early this month in Jeddah. In celebration of the Kingdom’s burgeoning cinema industry, this issue interviews five new Saudi actresses and actors – Ahmed Yaqoub, Aseem Al-awwad, Raghad Bokhari, Adhwa Fahad, and Fatima Al Sharif. It also highlights the talent of Moroccan craft being passed on to younger generations with the work of the school of Fadila El Gadi. The North African country’s talent was recently honored on the global stage at Fashion Trust Arabia Doha, with designer Artsi Ifrach of Maison Artc winning the top prize for evening wear. In his feature this month, Moroccan Ifrach explains why he believes everything is possible in the Mena region today, “The prize recognized my work but also recognized the culture and heritage and the significance of staying in one’s own country. It recognized being an ambassador for what Arab culture means and what fashion means to us and why it is so important for us.”
All this and more in the December 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia, on stands now.

Moroccan-Egyptian Models Imaan and Aicha Hammam on the Power of Sisterhood and Representation in the Industry

Moroccan-Egyptian Models Imaan and Aicha Hammam on the Power of Sisterhood and Representation in the Industry

Supermodel Imaan Hammam has conquered the runways with her arresting presence—and now her younger sister Aicha is swaying in her footsteps.
Even with an ocean between them, the Zoom connection between the sisters crackles with love and delight in each other’s company. Supermodel Imaan Hammam is in her New York City apartment, while her younger sister and fellow cover star Aicha is at home in Amsterdam. They laugh and share stories, effusive with praise and adoration for each other. The younger clearly in awe of her big sister; the older beaming with pride. “We’re at such a great stage because she’s 21, I’m 25, and it’s so easy to talk and have conversations,” Imaan shares. “She’s so wise. This generation is so smart, I’m like, how do you know all this? You’re younger than me!”
Aicha wears top, trousers, gloves, Valentino; boots, Lanvin; earrings, Dior. Imaan wears coat, Alexander McQueen; socks, Cos; shoes, Peris Costume; earrings, Bottega Veneta. Photo: Bibi Borthwick. Vogue Arabia, December 2022
Imaan wears coat, skirt, belt, Prada; earrings, Bottega Veneta. Aicha wears coat, turtleneck, Prada; earrings, Dior. Photo: Bibi Borthwick. Vogue Arabia, December 2022
Fresh off the cover shoot in Portugal with photographer Bibi Borthwick, the Moroccan-Egyptian sisters still have that Mediterranean-sunshine glow. They are quick to share stories about their time in the country, where their mother, Mbarka Belouta, also joined them. “It didn’t feel like work, it was very warm, and it was nice to have our family there,” Imaan says. Aicha picks up the thread, “With Mom being there, the whole vibe was different, and I felt very comfortable. We were matching each other’s energies. You can see in the photos that we just have this chemistry.” In-between shots, Imaan would sneak peeks at the images. “I would see her being so strong and I was screaming, ‘Yes!’” Imaan has been modeling at the upper echelons of fashion since opening (and walking exclusively for) Riccardo Tisci’s Givenchy SS14 show when she was 16, after being scouted at Amsterdam Centraal Station three years prior. She graced her first Vogue cover in 2017 – the second issue of Vogue Arabia – and has since featured on 18 more, including Vogue Arabia’s first anniversary issue, next to modeling icon Iman Abdulmajid. Her appeal stretches from couture catwalks to high-street campaigns, her striking features making her one of the most in-demand models of the past decade. It’s a mantle she wears lightly, yet reverently, aware of the impact and importance she has as a Muslim woman with Arab and African heritage walking the global stage.
Imaan wears jacket, dress, Dries Van Noten; earrings, Bottega Veneta. Photo: Bibi Borthwick. Vogue Arabia, December 2022
Aicha wears jacket, top, skirt, shoes, Fendi; trousers, Allëdjo Studio; earrings, Dior. Photo: Bibi Borthwick. Vogue Arabia, December 2022
It might seem like intimidating footsteps to follow in, but Aicha is determined to make her own way in the industry, with her sister as her guide, mentor, and friend. “I saw her when I was a young girl and I was like, wow, I just love what she’s doing and achieving,” Aicha recalls. “And that’s how it all started. It was different to dreaming of becoming a model – I saw how she was doing and that opened doors for me. I’m so proud of her still to this day.” Imaan was happy to help set Aicha up in the industry. “Because I started modeling at such a young age, it helped me become comfortable with myself,” she says. “It made me the woman I am today. And that’s why I wanted to help her in her process and in her journey of just becoming.” In Aicha’s shoots – she has done commercial and editorial work, including for Vogue Arabia’s October 2020 issue – the young model exudes confidence and grace, and an ease in front of the camera that comes not only from learning from the best, but from inherent talent. She didn’t start that way, she recalls, smiling at the memory of her first shoots with Imaan. “I was shy, wondering how I was going to look. On our second shoot, I was more chill and I was saying, I should do modeling.” “I was shy, too,” Imaan interjects. “I used to get anxious about going in front of the camera, but when I did, something just clicked. And then I would see the pictures and I would be like, wow, that’s me?”
The sisters’ parents and grandmother at the latter’s home in Casablanca, in the 90s
Imaan and Aicha at their older sister’s house in Amsterdam with their nephew
Imaan and her father celebrating her third birthday at home
Growing up as the Netherlands-born children of a Moroccan mother and Egyptian father, the sisters – two of six siblings – shared a full, busy home in Amsterdam. Theirs was always rich in tradition and culture, with “cousins, aunts, everyone” eating at their house. It was a beautiful way to grow up, Imaan says. Their mother has always been supportive of their dreams, the sisters say, and was “definitely stricter” with the older siblings than with Imaan and Aicha. “She understood that she had to let me go and do my thing and find my journey,” Imaan shares. “And I think by me doing those things, she was able to be even easier on Aicha and really accept her for what she wants to do.” The melting pot of Amsterdam also helped Imaan hone her own identity as a self-proclaimed Afro-Arab. “As a kid, being in all those circles of different cultures helped me get a view on things and I understood that who you are and where you come from don’t necessarily define who you’re going to be.” At home, they speak Arabic with their mother and are proud of their roots that stretch deep into Africa and the Arab world. Curiosity led Imaan to do a DNA test, which came up “70% Egyptian and then after that it’s Sudanese and all these African countries.” While she’s aware of the added responsibility of representation, Aicha is proud of her big sister and the way she’s taking up her rightful space. “You opened a lot of doors for a lot of girls, and I really look up to that, because it isn’t easy,” she says. The industry is changing, Imaan notes – in part thanks to her, as well as models like Moroccan-British Nora Attal and Moroccan-Italian Malika El Maslouhi.
Aicha wears shirt, skirt, Jil Sander; earrings, Dior. Photo: Bibi Borthwick. Vogue Arabia, December 2022
Imaan wears jacket, dress, Acne Studios; earrings, Bottega Veneta. Photo: Bibi Borthwick. Vogue Arabia, December 2022
“I don’t shy away from my roots or my culture,” Imaan comments. “Everything I do, I want people to know where I come from. I’m just so happy that it’s possible now, and that the door is open. Looking back, I’m not going to say I’m confident all the time, but I feel confident within myself and with what I’ve accomplished as a woman of color, as a Muslim woman.” It’s an earned confidence born from fortitude, yes, but also from solid familial bonds. The sisters are looking forward to seeing each other – and the rest of the clan – in person again soon. Imaan sums it up succinctly, “When we’re together, we’re strong. I feel like we can conquer anything.”
Originally published in the December 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia
Style: Rudy Simba BettyFashion director: Amine JreissatiHair: Hos HounkpatinMakeup: Lucy BridgeStylist assistant: Claudia SoaresHair assistant: Paulo FonteMakeup assistant: Beatriz TexugoCreative producer: Sam AllisonOn-set production: Mamma TeamOn-set producer: Beatriz FeioProduction coordinator: Patricia AlvesLocation manager: Miguel CruzFirst assistant photographer: Dani BastidasDigi tech: Carole Durosoy

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