Athiec Geng for Vogue Arabia’s fourth anniversary issue photographed by Mous Lamrabat
This March, all 27 editions of Vogue worldwide are dedicating their issues to creativity and fashion’s artistic spirit. For Vogue Arabia, celebrating in this month its 4th anniversary, the theme takes a truly local angle, with an issue fully dedicated to the best creative talents coming from the Middle East and North Africa.
The conceptual covers are shot by Moroccan photographer Mous Lamrabat. They offer a message of optimism in a world that is facing so many challenges. Shot in Marrakech, the images by Lamrabat invite the viewer inside his singular universe; one that challenges modern misconceptions of beauty, and explores creativity within the world of the absurd and the surreal. With an often lighthearted undertone to his work, Lamrabat showcases an element of simplicity that portrays a real image of the region, telling journalist Myrna Ayad, “I want to show you where I’m from, not the way it’s shown in brochures.” The creative admits to being a bit of a hoarder – not only of props, but also ideas. For one of the cover images, he stacked an assembly of red fez hats first seen on the wall of a Marrakech riad atop the model’s head, before attaching a large red silk heart on her torso from a stash of props bought from Antwerp.
Farrah El Dibany photographed by Sherif Mokhtar
“At a time when the world is experiencing so many challenges, the joys of witnessing the genius of a fashion designer, artist, chef, or a performer, can drive us, more than ever, to a place of bliss, even if for a brief instant,” says Manuel Arnaut, Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief. “It is regrettable that historically, the work of creatives has been undervalued on so many occasions. I cannot help but think of my colleagues in the creative fields as unsung heroes, so many times working under harsh conditions, but bringing beauty, depth, and color to the world we live in.”
Schiaparelli spring 2021 couture. Photographed by Julien Vallon
By shining a spotlight on talent from a cross-section in the Middle East that has shaped fashion, arts, and design, the March issue brings to life the thriving and dynamic community in the region and showcases Vogue Arabia’s mission to support them. Some of the creatives included are Alia Bin Omair, Mahira Abdelaziz, and Yasmine Yeya, along with Rym Saidi and Zeinab Alhashemi.
The March anniversary issue also highlights a range of topics surrounding art and what creativity means today. From personal and powerful photo essays of a new generation of fearless young MENA talent shot in New York by Tunisian female photographer Oumayma Ben Tanfous, to a peek behind-the-scenes at surrealist fashion house Schiaparelli with an interview with its creative director Daniel Roseberry, this issue celebrates creativity in all its forms. Of course, March also showcases the latest high jewelry, SS21 collections, and the new abaya styles.
Shanina Shaik and Hilary Rhoda photographed by Greg Swales
In beauty, the SS21 trend report spotlights the most striking runway looks and how to achieve them, and makeup artist Niki M’nray pays tribute to iconic Middle Eastern female artists—from Safeya Binzagr to Monir Shahroudy—with an inventive interpretation of their work on models Shanina Shaik and Hilary Rhoda. In another striking tribute, celebrity hairstylist Nabil Harlow reimagines the decadence of the 1940s and 50s with his celebration of the golden age of Egyptian cinema. The issue also features Mohamed Abdelhamid, one of Egypt’s most successful SFX makeup artists—the favorite of stars such as Samia Gamal, Asmahan, Dalida—about some of the Arab world’s most important hair and makeup talents.
Photography: The Bardos
Creativity also comes with a twist of humor in this issue, spotlighting the famous Egyptian satirical figure Abla Fahita, who will star in the upcoming Netflix series Drama Queen, with her own couture created by some of the Arab world’s most exciting designers who created looks just for this shoot. March 8 is also when International Women’s Day is commemorated, and in this issue inspiring women from the region share their wisdom and insights. HE Ahood Al Zaabi, director of the United Nations Department at the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, writes exclusively for Vogue Arabia about gender equality and how the role of women in society must be reassessed, while Arwa Damon, senior international correspondent at CNN, speaks candidly about a topic all women will face at some point in their lives—menopause.
Designer Nora Al Shaikh and muse Lulwah Al-Homoud Photo: Taha Baageel
All this and more inspiring features, exclusive interviews, and groundbreaking fashion shoots, only in the March 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia.
Read Next: All 27 ‘Vogue Creativity Issue’ Covers, As They Land