Photo: Paolo Reversi
In the decade since she joined the royal family, the Duchess of Cambridge has honed her eye for photography, serving as the National Portrait Gallery’s patron, releasing her own images of Prince George, Princess Charlotte, and Prince Louis on their respective birthdays, and launching her Hold Still initiative during the pandemic. It’s natural then that, for her 40th birthday on January 9, Kate eschewed sitting for a painter, instead commissioning Italian photographer (and frequent Vogue contributor) Paolo Roversi to shoot a trio of portraits in Kew Gardens.
Photo: Paolo Reversi
Taken in November, the shots depict the Duchess in a series of ballgowns against a neutral backdrop. Over the course of 2022, the portraits will be displayed in locations with “special meaning” to Kate, according to Kensington Palace. The first, Berkshire, is where she was raised and where the Middleton family still lives; the second, St Andrews, is where the future Duchess famously met Prince William as a history of art student; and the third, Anglesey, is where the Duke and Duchess rented a cottage just after their 2011 wedding.
Photo: Paolo Reversi
The exact locations where the portraits will be displayed will be revealed shortly, and will form part of a wider National Portrait Gallery initiative, titled Coming Home. While the NPG – which is due to reopen in 2023 after a major refurbishment – is closed, many of its treasures are on show in locations across Britain, from Vanessa Bell’s portrait of Virginia Woolf at Charleston to Olivia Rose’s shot of Stormzy in the Museum of Croydon. Roversi’s three portraits of the Duchess will form part of the institution’s permanent collection from next year.
In the meantime, start planning a weekend break to Anglesey…
Read Next: 14 Times Kate Middleton Showed Us How to Re-Wear an Outfit and Make It Look Brand New
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk
Photo: Paolo Reversi
Lakkis in Max Mara and Valentino. Photo: Leen Lakkis
In a heartfelt narration of a mother’s admiration for fashion, stylist Leen Lakkis has formulated a visual eulogy for her mother, who passed away six years ago from cancer, through a campaign named ‘Femme en Movement’. Translating to “woman on the move,” the campaign spotlights some of Lakkis’s mother’s most cherished vintage staples, which she frequently wore during her travels for treatment. The wardrobe highlights her changing approach to fashion, which was influenced by different cultural exposures. And most would agree that nothing keeps a loved one’s spirit alive more than their clothing, which carries their scent, stories, and memories.
Chanel shoes. Photo: Photo: Leen Lakkis
Also featuring portraits of Lakkis’s mother in her favorite garments, the campaign praises bold color combinations and out-of-the-box designs created by the industry’s greatest icons, including Dolce & Gabbana, Prada, Saint Laurent, Chanel, MiuMiu, and Valentino. “Through Femme En Mouvement, I was able to revive the early 2000s from my late mother’s unique pieces, all while optimistically looking at the present moment,” Lakkis elaborates.
Without having to express herself through words, Femme en Movement honours Lakkis’s mother using timeless, much-loved pieces that promise to forever make a statement. Lakkis’s mother communicated her love for fashion by purchasing pieces she hoped her children would one day wear with pride, and this photo series brings her vision to life. “My mother is my everyday muse,” Lakkis says. “Her endless love and evolving taste in fashion left a huge mark in my everyday life. She’s my inspiration behind everything I do, and all what I want in the world.”
Photo: Leen Lakkis
Through this campaign, Lakkis hopes to portray her mother’s restless dedication to fashion and her belief in its power to uplift one’s spirits. She released it in October 2021, coinciding with Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and hopes to echo the importance of early prevention. “The cause has always meant a lot to me and my surroundings, so I took this opportunity to express my unlimited love to my late mother along with the fight towards awareness for sancer in general,” Lakki says.
Read Next: Big Shoulders and Lots of Vintage: How Lady Gaga Got Dressed for House of Gucci
Aquazzura’s Footwear Designer Edgardo Osorio Interviews Spanish Muse Naty Abascal on Her Resplendent Life
A new tome celebrates the resplendent life of one of the world’s most enigmatic women, Spanish muse Naty Abascal.
Dress, Giambattista Valli Haute Couture; earrings, ring, Bulgari. Photographed by Félix Valiente for Vogue Arabia
Born Natividad Abascaly Romero-Toro, in Seville, Spain, in 1943, the young “Naty,” as she came to be called, would grow into one of the most striking women in the world. With large almond-shaped eyes and aquiline nose, she would become a muse to Valentino Garavani and Oscar de la Renta.
She married into royalty, becoming la duchessa upon her union with the Duke of Feria and Marquis of Villalba. Perhaps it is Abascal’s infectious curiosity and optimism that have paved the way for a life that is as colorful and vibrant as her hometown. “The smell of the orange trees, its streets, churches, and palaces… Sevilla gives me strength and focus,” she waxes poetic. From the Andalusian city, Abascal ventured out into the world, leaving her indelible mark on fashion’s most revered. Now, a new book from Rizzoli, Naty Abascal: The Eternal Muse Inspiring Fashion Designers, highlights an exhibition organized by Museo Jumex in Mexico City called Naty Abascal and Fashion!, featuring her treasure trove of garments and memories with contributions by Valentino Garavani, Christian Lacroix, and Suzy Menkes, and photographs by Lord Snowdon, Richard Avedon, Peter Beard, and Norman Parkinson, and more. Garavani wrote to editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut ahead of this shoot, photographed in Madrid, “Naty is an incredibly joyful person. Always ready to smile and have a good time. She brings this same joie de vivre to the way she wears a dress; she wants to enjoy her clothes, not be a victim of them. This is something every woman should know in her choices and not be wearing clothes they don’t enjoy.”
Dress, Schiaparelli Haute Couture; shoes, Roger Vivier; necklace, rings, earrings, bracelets, Chaumet. Photographed by Félix Valiente for Vogue Arabia
Fashion for Abascal has seemingly been one magnificent revelation to another, stemming from key encounters. Having met almost 10 years ago at Milan’s Palazzo Morando, Edgardo Osorio and Abascal had, as she recalls, “an immediate connection.” She adds, “We were talking non-stop and sharing things and ideas as if we had been friends for a lifetime. It was really love at first sight.” In 2016, the two paired up to offer a six-piece capsule shoe and boot collection with a gypsy aesthetic. Now, the luxury footwear designer behind Aquazzura delves further into Abascal’s extraordinary life.
Naty Abascal in New York, 1966. Photo: Naty Absacal Archive. Courtesy of Alexius Ruspoli, Mario Sierra
Edgardo Osorio: Describe how you were as a child.Naty Abascal: A very happy one! Eleven brothers and sisters, can you imagine? Our home was a non-stop holiday. A happy family, all united and supportive.
You were discovered in New York with your twin sister, and then Richard Avedon photographed you in Ibiza. What moment do you regard as career defining?Most probably, it was the time I lived in New York. We were invited by the Spanish designer Elio Berhanyer to show his collection during the 1964 New York’s World Fair. The New York Times mentioned in a chronicle that a model from Spain was the fastest model in the world. They were wondering how I could manage to change clothes so fast… because I was on the runway virtually all the time. What they didn’t know was that there were two of us – my twin sister and I. That’s why we were always walking the runway! Avedon felt curious, he wanted to meet and decided to photograph the two of us for a fashion spread that Elizabeth Taylor and Russian ballerina Maya Plisetskaya were also a part of. That shoot sealed my fate with the fashion world forever.
Dress, vintage earrings, Valentino. Photographed by Félix Valiente for Vogue Arabia
One of the strongest images I have of you is of your arrival at my 30th birthday in Florence. You were so incredible! What are some of your favorite memories of our friendship?Everything. We have so many things in common. We love life, we are passionate, curious, and interested about so many things. But let’s go back to your fabulous two-night-long Bal Masqué. I think those evenings will go down in history because they were so unique, so splendid. It seemed as if we were at the Palazzo Labia in Venice, when Charlie de Beistegui gave what has been called “the ball of the century” back in 1951. The first night the theme you chose was “wild” and wild we were! All covered in the most exotic animal prints (fake of course!) and the most incredibly extravagant hats and dresses. It was a night to remember. But, the second night – oh my! The theme was “surrealism” and surreal was everything that evening, including me. I was wearing an out-of-this-world Giambattista Valli haute couture dress, so immense that I had to arrive in a horse-drawn carriage. My head was covered with hundreds of eyes, floating in a sea of fringes, all in white. A dream come true.
Dress Zuhair Murad Haute Couture; shoes, Aquazzura; vintage earrings, ring, Naty Abascal’s own. Photographed by Félix Valiente for Vogue Arabia
You’ve been in the limelight for decades. What has been your biggest challenge?To understand how to keep my own values in an ever-changing world. Fashion is a tough industry that never forgives and forgets very quickly. It is important to know when it is time to move onto the next chapter.
You returned to the runway in the 1980s; had you missed it? Or do you prefer being a stylist and muse?Once you have tried it, the runway is something that never abandons. Obviously, when I returned, it was for a special occasion – the first show of Carolina Herrera. Now, we are living in an interesting moment, because designers have understood that not only teenagers or anonymous models in their early twenties can represent the variety of women in the world. More and more often, they are using people of different ages to show their creations. One example is this shoot for Vogue Arabia, to celebrate the launch of my book.
Naty Abascal with Oscar De La Renta, Photographed by Alexius Ruspoli- Rodriguez, New York, 1968. Photo: Naty Absacal Archive. Courtesy of Alexius Ruspoli, Mario Sierra
On the topic of your book, which are your favorite pieces in the exhibit?First of all, this exhibit has been the most generous gift of my friend Eugenio López, founder of the Museo Jumex de Arte Contemporáneo in Mexico City. The whole process has been very personal. I would dare to say… intimate. Introspective. In some cases, these pieces have been with me for decades. It is difficult to choose, but I would say that there is a simple, short shirt- dress in yellow silk, with embroideries at the hem, that I am very fond of. It is from Oscar de la Renta. We used to go dancing most nights during the week. That dress has danced more than many other people in their lifetime. There is also an evening dress from Valentino. Black. Pure. What makes that outfit so special is the embroidered jacket that completes the look. It is entirely embroidered to recreate a Basquiat painting. But really, I do love all of them.
Valentino Garavani, Abascal, and Giancarlo Giammetti in Italy. Photo: Naty Absacal Archive. Courtesy of Alexius Ruspoli, Mario Sierra
As Christian Lacroix mentions about you in your book, along with the term “style,” the most important word in reference to you is “passion!” What are you passionate about nowadays?The same things as when I was younger: life. I am passionate about life. I am curious like a child, and everything interests me. This pandemic, though, has made me think once again about how important our homes are. How fundamental it is to feel at home, surrounded by harmonious things that make our lives more pleasant and beautiful.
What – in your life and career – are you proudest of?Everything. All that I have done is part of my learning curve in life. And let’s not forget the mistakes because they are part of life’s lessons. I don’t renounce or complain about anything. My sons, though, are who I do feel particularly proud of. They had challenging lives when they were younger but have navigated through difficult times with intelligence, resilience, discretion, and good manners. I am very proud of them.
Abascal with Edgardo Osorio. Photo: Naty Absacal Archive. Courtesy of Alexius Ruspoli, Mario Sierra
What do you compulsively hold onto?Beautiful things. I cannot resist the temptation of buying unique, rare objects, clothes, accessories, pieces for my homes… Whether they are unique or just simple and humble ones found in a flea market. What is important is that they excite me and stimulate my curiosity.
What do you think about in the moments before you fall asleep?How happy and blessed I am for having a life full of health, friends, work, and a beautiful family. Life is a miracle; something we cannot take for granted. Something we have to be grateful for, every minute of our lives.
What is good taste, to you? The opposite to obvious in-your-face pretentiousness. But good taste is something that cannot be defined so easily. What is good taste for me is bad for others. What is important in life is that what we do is coherent with our lifestyle and our personality. One cannot be wrong when following one’s own instinct.
Dress, Giambattista Valli Haute Couture; earrings, rings, Bulgari. Photographed by Félix Valiente for Vogue Arabia
When you walk into your wardrobe in the morning, do you ever feel uninspired? How do you decide on a look? The truth? I don’t think twice. I rarely have doubts, and not because I have given serious thought about what to wear. It is something that happens in a spontaneous way. Color is important for me. Maybe one morning I am obsessed with a color – red, for instance. I choose an impactful accessory, maybe a scarf, or printed pants… and then I start adding things. That way, I can change for a lunch, a day in the studio working, or a dinner party in the evening. The key is layers. One never knows what is going to happen, so it is important to be ready for any last-minute surprise.
What is it about an item of clothing that draws you to it? What catches your eye and makes you want to wear something? Well, you know me very well and you also know how eclectic I am with my taste regarding everything in life. From fashion to history or architecture, all interests me. But if we talk about fashion, a perfect white shirt is a staple in my wardrobe, and I am most confident wearing one of those, from morning to evening.
Jacket, dress, Zuhair Murad Haute Couture; hat, Mariana Barturen; vintage earrings, ring, Naty Abascal’s own. Photographed by Félix Valiente for Vogue Arabia
Throughout your life and career, you were friend and muse to many designers. What did you enjoy most about working with so many incredible designers? Some of them were not only friends but also mentors and teachers. I have learned many things from people like Oscar de la Renta, Valentino Garavani, Veronica Etro, and many others that I can consider, above all, my friends. Working with such talented people is a rare privilege. Everything they touch becomes special, it is their vision. Working so closely with them gives you a privileged access to what is in their minds, and how they translate an idea into something wearable. That is fascinating.
What is something about style that no one ever asks you but you would love to talk about? Manners. People talk about other people, about trends, fashion, events… but it seems that manners are taboo today. Manners, as well as personal style, are probably the most effective test to know somebody.
You’ve worked with great designers, photographers, artists… What do the world’s most creative people have in common? Fantasy. No restrictions. Freedom. Culture. Exquisite manners and curiosity.Read Next: Designers of Three Arab Brands and Their Artistic Muses on Inspiring Each Other’s Creativity
Originally published in the May 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia
Helen Nonini wearing a Vivia For Love By Vivia Ferragamo suit, an Altalen turban with Fornasetti Fabrics, and Pomellato Jewels (worn throughout). Photographed by Sandra Bourhani, Jenia Broggi, and Francesca Todde
When Milan-based Helen Nonini launched her consultancy agency H.Edge in 2015, it was with the vision to fill a niche that she could credibly and creatively cover. “We bring out the best of a company’s key assets, then shape them to better fit present and future challenges,” she explains about her platform that specializes in brand experiences and image. “We started in remote working mode, without offices. Paperless without business cards, and above all developing a model that would empower young talents – especially women,” she says. Nonini started her career in investment banking and private equity while passing through fundraising and non-profit sectors. Upon leaving the financial world, she landed the role of head of operations at luxury concierge service company Quintessentially. Equipped with contacts that she’s fostered over the years, she now enchants clients with her intuitive solutions. “I’m working with the main financial institutions of the country alongside supporting the top Italian institute for independent clinical research; a high-quality delivery service; and an online fashion marketplace connecting young and talented designers that do not have distribution channels to worldwide consumers,” she shares. In addition to H.Edge, her professional balancing act also includes partnerships for two startups that focus on mental health and yoga.
Helen Nonin wear in an Altalen turban and Caftanii Kaftan. Photographed by Sandra Bourhani, Jenia Broggi, and Francesca Todde.
A tour of turbans
Nonini has a serious presence, in part because of a specific signature – her turbans. How many exactly? “I have more than 100 turbans and I love them all because they are one-of-a-kind pieces,” she says of her headwear, all handmade by Milanese milliner Altalen. Bold in shapes, patterns, and colors, her turbans are an extension of her style. “I’m effortless in my approach because I follow my instinct and try to always feel at ease,” says the Pomellato brand ambassador, wearing a coordinating pastel Pucci pajama set and complementing silk turban. She relies on Massimo Alba shirts, Nasco Unico blazers, dresses by Diane von Furstenberg, Missoni, and Stephan Janson, and Fratelli Rossetti flats to sail her through the spring season.
A Caftanii Kaftan and Officina Del Poggio bag. Photographed by Sandra Bourhani, Jenia Broggi, and Francesca Todde.
The entrepreneur’s style approach to minimal cuts with flashes of color also applies to her jewelry collection. A Pomellato Nudo necklace and Iconica chain link bracelet soften her aesthetic of strong architectural lines, as do her Nudo rings featuring a flash of bright stones. Her grandfather’s watch adds a touch of bygone-era charm to her everyday looks.
Pants and slippers by Toile Society. Photographed by Sandra Bourhani, Jenia Broggi, and Francesca Todde.
Hydration is key to Nonini’s daily beauty regimen, and Santa Maria Novella Vitamin Cosmetic Oil occupies space on her vanity alongside Augustinus Bader, Helena Rubinstein, and Mi-rê creams. With Egyptian-Iranian roots from her mother’s side and Italian on her father’s side, her approach to fragrance is ingrained through her heritage. “Being born and raised in the Middle East has influenced my use of essences,” she says. She creates her own bespoke scent by layering six different perfumes and oils.
In a Loretta Caponi outfit, with Loretta Caponi guest towels. Photographed by Sandra Bourhani, Jenia Broggi, and Francesca Todde.
Food for the soul
“My favorite restaurant in Milan is Soulgreen,” shares Nonini, pointing to its healthy food and atmosphere. Nestled in the heart of the Garibaldi district, the restaurant with its exposed beam ceiling and lush greenery is known for a vegan menu of smoothies and quinoa or rice bowls bursting with a medley of fresh vegetables. Meanwhile, you’ll catch Nonini in the artistic district of Brera peeking over a menu at Osteria Stendhal for its contemporary and traditional Milanese cuisine. Asian Mood is her go-to for dim sum, while Davide Oldani is her destination for a multisensory gastronomical experience.
Nonini wearing an Altalen turban with Emilio Pucci fabrics, with shoes and outfit also Emilio Pucci, and jewels by Pomellato. Photographed by Sandra Bourhani, Jenia Broggi, and Francesca Todde.
Unplug and unwind
Nonini unfolds her day with a routine. “I open my windows, turn on some music and send my friends songs,” she says. “Letting the light in and giving rhythm to my day helps me approach my activities with a good vibe.” Another fundamental aspect of her day is devouring a good book by candlelight. Currently on her nightstand are Illusions by Richard Bach and The Soul’s Code by James Hillman. She herself is the author of business novel Professione Problem Solver. Meanwhile, spending time outdoors is what grounds Nonini. “I love nature, long walks in the countryside, and spending time at Lake Como – it’s a place I’m strongly and emotionally tied to,” she notes, adding, “Meditation, exercise, and massages are always done with my phone off to be disconnected from the rest of the world, but connected with myself.”
Read Next: Nojoud Alrumaihi’s Guide On How To Achieve The Perfect Work/Life Balance Style
Originally published in the April 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia
A young artistic collective is rewriting the rulebook, challenging stereotypes while celebrating and nurturing genuine diversity – meet the Muslim Sisterhood.
Members of the Sisterhood’s collective: Rahma Mohamed, Farzana Ahmed, Yasmin Moeladi, Jasmin Abraham, Lamisa Khan (wearing coat, Saks Potts at Selfridges; top, Ester Manas at 50m; pants, Daily Paper; shoes, Axel Arigato), Hana Raage, Jeeba Marri, Zeinab Saleh (wearing suit, Filles A Papa; shoes, Axel Arigato; earrings, Aurum), Ikram Yassin. Photo: Malak Kabbani
Founded in 2017 by Zeinab Saleh, Lamisa Khan (both London based), and Sara Gulamali (who currently resides in Canada), Muslim Sisterhood began as a beautifully compiled photo series, capturing young Muslim women expressing themselves freely and authentically. Today, the collective has evolved to work within photography, fashion, film, publishing, and events, culminating in the launch of a zine last year.
Clockwise from top left: Jeeba Marri, Hana Raage, Farzana Ahmed, Jasmin Abraham. Photo: Malak Kabbani. Photo: Malak Kabbani
Khan wears jacket, Tokyo James. Lamisa wears jacket, Miló Maria; pearl necklace, Butler & Wilson. Photo: Malak Kabbani
“This was the first moment that our online community could come together and celebrate our work in real life,” they say. “It was so empowering to create a space that completely catered to our needs as Muslims. We had a mocktail bar and prayer space, and we commissioned Muslim florists, DJs, and panelists. Everything in our zine was produced, designed, and curated by a diverse and entirely Muslim female team.”
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Saleh wears dress, Toga; pants, Milo Maria; earrings, Aurum. Khan wears dress, Shrimps; vintage head scarf, Atika. Photo: Malak Kabbani
Khan wears coat, Susan Forrest; dress, Ashley Williams at The Lobby; necklace, Butler & Wilson; earrings, Aurum. Saleh wears shirt, Marr; corset, Ellie Misner; jeans, vintage Levi’s at Atika; jacket, Toga; earrings, Maeve. Photo: Malak Kabbani
Rejecting the prejudice that western narratives can project onto Muslim women, they explain their motivation stems from “a realization that if you want to see certain things and ideas come to fruition in modern media, it’s best to do it yourself.” Merging activism with championing creative talent from marginalized communities, they describe curating a medium where “young women, people of color, and Black women can prioritize their experiences,” and ultimately take ownership of their lives. Shining a light on what it means to be young and Muslim today, the Sisterhood’s network continues to swell as their work gains momentum. “So many things have led organically into the other,” they say. “Every part of our journey has been a source of pride and joy. We can build ideas for the future as much as we like but as this year has shown, ultimately Allah is the best of planners.”
Saleh wears top, dress, tights, shoes, Prada. Photo: Malak Kabbani
Read Next: 10 Inspiring Muslim Women We Should All Look Up To
Originally published in the October 2020 issue of Vogue Arabia
Any place Afef Jnifen goes, paparazzi and camera crew are likely not too far behind. Regardless of whether she’s modeling fresh-off-the-runway looks, giving a speech about her homeland Tunisia at Inter Campus UN or stealing the spotlight at a red carpet event, the supermodel knows how to make a head-turning impact. In honor of the […]
The post Six Best Moments From Afef Jnifen’s Career appeared first on Vogue Arabia.