Saudi Issue

Vogue Arabia’s Saudi Issue Celebrates the Kingdom’s Women with a Triptych of Covers

Vogue Arabia’s Saudi Issue Celebrates the Kingdom’s Women with a Triptych of Covers

Yara Alhogbani for Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Sam Rawadi
Saudi Arabia’s vision for art, sport, and fashion are celebrated in Vogue Arabia’s annual issue dedicated to the Kingdom. Wearing a made-to-measure Tima Abid couture dress featuring Saudi’s emblem in gold embroidery, Yara Alhogbani personifies the country’s leaps in sports. The first professional tennis player from Saudi states, “I want to dedicate my time and knowledge to helping any Saudi girl with a racket and a dream.” Representing the country for fashion, supermodel Shanina Shaik, who is of Saudi heritage, poses cradling her baby bump and shares her excitement at becoming a mother for the first time along with her pride for her Middle Eastern origins. Songstress Dalia Mubarak also poses on a cover; the Saudi diva has performed alongside iconic artists such as Rashed Al-Majed, Rabeh Sager, and Majid Al Muhandis.
Dalia Mubarak for Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Sam Rawadi
“I’m proud to say that our publication was the first international title to really focus on the Kingdom, long before Saudi ‘opened up,’” says editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut. “Before Saudi became a market that everyone wanted to be in—generally motivated by commercial benefits.
At Vogue Arabia, our motivation has always been the culture, the people, and their stories—covering the new generation, but also the iconic names that paved the way for the new creatives. From Tamtam to Abadi Al-Johar, from Lulwah Al Homoud, to Safeya Binzagr, the list goes on and on.”
Shanina Shaik for Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Greg Swales
The issue includes a special invitation inside the most spectacular royal wedding of the year. HH Sheikha Meera bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan and HH Sheikh Zayed bin Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan married this May, with the images of the stunning ephemeral venue, orchestrated by Designlab Experience, featured exclusively in the magazine. “This was not your usual brief. It was unprecedented for us to be inspired by poetry, or by the love of two grandparents, for example, to be able to connect with these things that are so important to the bride. From meeting her, to getting to where we are today, it was a beautiful journey,” says co-founder Hibah Albakree.
Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Sebastian Böttcher
Saudi women in arts such as Zahrah Al Ghamdi and Sarah Brahim are celebrated in this dedicated issue. Of the rise in international attention, revered Saudi art patron Basma Al Sulaiman offers, “It was very important for me to preserve the story of Saudi art for the new generation as a concrete archive of where we were and where we are today. I knew a day would come when everyone would look at this with a fresh eye.”
Yara Alhogbani for Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Sam Rawadi
The biggest international Academy award-winning stars offer Vogue Arabia exclusive interviews for this issue. Humanitarian, actress, and director Angelina Jolie speaks of her new initiative with Guerlain to share bee-keeping skills with women in Cambodia, her eldest son’s birthplace. “We focused on training women, because we know women train others,” explains Jolie of the female-focused initiative. “Women in many places are very vulnerable, and so to be able to have an education, and a job, and a network is really important for them.”
Dalia Mubarak for Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Sam Rawadi
Ahead of her upcoming fall film opposite George Clooney, actress Julia Roberts took on the role of “godmother” of the Chopard Trophy this May, celebrating emerging actors. She speaks exclusively to Vogue Arabia of her love of high jewelry, and the power of vulnerability, revealing that even with a career spanning more than 30 years, she nevertheless gets nervous ahead of red carpet events. “That excitement is still so terrifying but thrilling. I don’t think you should be blasé on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival,” she declares.
Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Hayat Osamah
New fashion and fine jewelry designers are celebrated with two features highlighting those who are creating contemporary designs rooted in their country’s heritage. Among a dozen of such designers profiled, explore the pieces of Jwaher Jewels, Yataghan Jewellery, and Hindamme, named in references to the Arabic term meaning, “To possess perfect form in harmony in aesthetics.”
Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Greg Adamski
Such beauty is explored in a photographic feature shot in the province of Asir. Green mountains, colorful houses, and men adorned with flower crowns on their heads welcome authentic fashions, and genuine bliss experienced through camaraderie and hospitality so particular to Saudi.
Shanina Shaik for Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Greg Swales
Taking readers into the heart of the Kingdom, Dr Sami Angawi and his wife Amira open the doors to their sprawling home, Al Makkiyah, one of Jeddah’s proud symbols of cultural heritage. Al Makkiyah refers to Mecca. “That’s my origin, that’s my life,” says the founder and CEO of Amar for Architectural Heritage. “I was born in Mecca, where my family is originally from, and we are honored to be descendants of the Prophet’s family. When I decided to do something in Jeddah, I wanted to build a home that identifies and represents Mecca and Medina.” 
All this and more in the June 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia. 
Read Next: Editor’s Letter: How Our Saudi Issue Honors the Women Pushing the Kingdom Forward

Editor’s Letter: How Our Saudi Issue Honors the Women Pushing the Kingdom Forward

Editor’s Letter: How Our Saudi Issue Honors the Women Pushing the Kingdom Forward

Yara Alhogbani for Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Sam Rawadi
A Vogue Arabia tradition, every June, we release our annual Saudi Issue. I’m proud to say that our publication is the first international title to really focus on the Kingdom, long before Saudi “opened up,” and before Saudi became a market that everyone wants to be in — generally motivated by commercial benefits. At Vogue Arabia, our inspiration has always been the culture, the people, and their stories — covering the new generation, but also the iconic names that paved the way for the upcoming creatives. From Tamtam to Abadi Aljohar, from Lulwah Al Homoud, to Safeya Binzagr, the list goes on and on.
We have also accomplished many daring “firsts” that I’m proud of: we were the first magazine to bring a supermodel to Saudi Arabia, and we produced the first ever editorial shoot in the unbraved lands of NEOM. And our iconic cover from June 2018 featuring HRH Princess Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud driving a red convertible? It was truly epic.
Yara Alhogbani for Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Sam Rawadi
As Saudi looks ahead, so do we, this time with a triptych of covers that pay homage to women accomplishing amazing things, pushing the country forward. Wanting to inspire “every girl with a dream and a racket,” Yara Alhogbani is the new sports sensation in the Kingdom, and the first professional Saudi tennis player competing in big international competitions. In the opening portrait, she is wearing a beautiful couture dress by Jeddah-based designer Tima Abid, hand-embroidered to feature the country’s emblem.
One of the most successful Middle Eastern descendent models of all time, mama-to-be Shanina Shaik graces our Arabic cover. Inside the magazine, she speaks about her Saudi heritage, and the racism she faced in the modeling industry. From the runway to the stage, our third star is celebrated for having one of the most distinctive new voices in the Kingdom. Dalia Mubarak, who continues to redefine herself, bravely shares, “I think that my life and personality do not resemble the stereotypical image of Arab women in general, and the Gulf in particular; but I am very proud of my Arab-Saudi background, and hope to represent Arab women in a different and beautiful way.”
While we focus on people, in this issue we also bring attention to the stunning and rich landscapes of Saudi. Many years ago, I had the privilege of traveling with HRH Princess Reema bin Bandar Al Saud to the province of Asir, and I fell completely in love with its green mountains, colorful houses, and the tradition for men to wear flower crowns on their heads — and yes, I was scared of all the naughty monkeys you see running around. Since then, I’ve always wanted to produce a photoshoot in this magical location, so rich in colors and human warmth. If you are ready to be transported to a Saudi you never thought existed, turn the page and join us on this voyage.
Read Next: Watch: 5 Saudi Residents Share a Peek at Life Within the Kingdom in a Series of Personal Videos

Inside Our Saudi Issue Starring the New Faces of the Kingdom’s Cultural Renaissance and its Pioneering Icons

Inside Our Saudi Issue Starring the New Faces of the Kingdom’s Cultural Renaissance and its Pioneering Icons

Saudi star models Shahad Salman and Abdulrahman Alammar, dressed in bespoke pieces by designer Arwa Al Banawi. Photographed by Hayat Osamah and artwork by Lulwah Al Homoud
The June 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia celebrates the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with two cover stories where fashion and art meet, giving rise to a symbiosis of creative synergies.
The first cover dives deep into the universe of internationally renowned Saudi artist Lulwah Al Homoud, who honored Vogue by creating the bespoke cover artwork, faithful to her unmissable style where calligraphy and geometric patterns coexist. Al Homoud’s work can usually be seen on the walls of some of the biggest museums and galleries around the world, including the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the collections of the British Museum. Interviewed by leading Saudi curator Mashael Al Rushaid, the artist states, “Art can definitely be a mechanism for change; it does open healthy dialogues between people,” further adding, “National branding is through art.” This English cover is fronted by Saudi star models Shahad Salman and Abdulrahman Alammar, dressed in bespoke pieces by designer Arwa Al Banawi. They represent the strength and uniqueness of the Kingdom’s new generation of creatives.
In the same creative context, the second cover is a gathering of two generations of Saudi singers: newcomer Tamtam and the legendary Abadi Al-Johar. They pose on a set that celebrates the work of rising talent Abdulaziz AlAbdulaziz and his unmissable kaleidoscopic world, wearing bespoke looks by Hadeel AlHussain. Al-Johar holds a hand-painted oud. “I am happy to be a part of this work and to collaborate with a male artist who has been a source of inspiration for many past and present generations, and a young female artist with a global presence,” says AlAbdulaziz. Al-Johar states, “Bringing together artists from all over the Gulf states and urging them to cooperate in developing Gulf music will raise the profile of Gulf art. This is because art in the region is built on individual pursuits rather than cooperative collective ones.”
The issue also features Saudi’s most exciting young fashion talents, along with legends of the Kingdom’s creative industries. In a rare media appearance, Adnan Akbar opens up about his groundbreaking career and future projects, and speaks proudly of his home: “Makkah has always been, and still is, the crossroads of cultures and civilizations.” We also meet octogenarian female poet and journalist Thuraya Qabel, an activist who played a pioneering role in carrying the banner of women and breaking unjust traditions. She advises: “Don’t forget that you are a Saudi woman and that you are the daughter of a country that is the Qibla of the nations, and this means this is a great and holy position.”
Saudi Arabia’s energetic creative scene is represented throughout the June issue. A fresh cohort of designers is affirming the strength of Saudi Arabia to grow into a leading power of great design: meet Dania Shinkar, Hadeel AlHussain, Nouf Alhazmi (RealSelf), Raghad A Alhogail (Ragail), and Yazeed (UnasTokyo), who are focusing on sustainable innovation.
Moreover, Vogue Arabia meets dancer Samira Alkhamis, tenor and composer Marwan Fagi, countertenor Mohammed Khayran Al-Zahrani, and soprano Sawsan Al Bahiti. These four Saudi artists are raising the bar of high art in the Kingdom. They are shaping the landscapes of their respective fields and challenging artistic and cultural expectations through their distinct talents.
Also in June, the spotlight is turned on women from across the Kingdom who are excelling in their fields as artists, writers, humanitarians, pilots, and lawyers. These include the three generations behind Help Center Suad Al-Husseini Juffali, Maha Juffali-Ghandour and Dania Ghandour Alyan; aerospace engineer and rocket specialist Mishaal Ashemimry; lawyer and the first female founder of a Saudi law firm, Sofana Dahlan; and Mashael bint Mansour Binsultan, founder of the Equestrian Union initiative. These trailblazers are creating a new narrative of what contemporary Arab women represent.
An interview with social activist and the Kingdom’s first UN Development Programme Goodwill Ambassador, Muna AbuSulayman, brings forth her moving message on female empowerment, which will also be highlighted in a new book. The Saudi issue further features Jeddah-born Amy Roko, who has carved out a creative space without ever revealing her face. With 1.5 million followers on social media, the Saudi humorist opens up about her choice to wear the niqab, stating, “The stereotypical image of a woman who covers her face is of someone who is timid, submissive… I’m offended. I’m not timid and I’m not quiet. I’m bold.”
Read Next: Looking Back on Vogue Arabia’s Previous Saudi Issues and Their Landmark Achievements

Looking Back on Vogue Arabia’s Previous Saudi Issues and Their Landmark Achievements

Looking Back on Vogue Arabia’s Previous Saudi Issues and Their Landmark Achievements

Photographed by Txema Yeste for Vogue Arabia December 2020
Shortly after its first anniversary, Vogue Arabia made history by becoming the first-ever Vogue edition dedicated to Saudi Arabia. The June 2018 issue starring HRH Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud had been the first of many annual editions to come that would celebrate and spotlight the immense talent of the Kingdom.
As the region gears up for the reveal of Vogue Arabia’s latest Saudi Issue, we look back on the previous editions and their landmark achievements.

June 2018, starring HRH Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud
Photographed by Boo George for Vogue Arabia’s June 2018 issue
One of the publication’s most groundbreaking covers, and the first-ever Vogue edition dedicated to Saudi Arabia, it pictured HRH Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud in the driving seat during the month when Saudi lifted the driving ban on women. The artist and princess was shot by photographer Boo George in the desert outside Jeddah, marking the debut magazine cover for the daughter of the late King Abdullah.
“People often ask me what made me want to be on the cover of Vogue,” said HRH reflecting on the cover a year later. “There were two significant reasons that compelled me to accept the invitation. Firstly, I am a Saudi female artist, and Vogue Arabia is a prominent, well-established media brand with a wide reach. I am excited about the work I’m doing, and I saw it as a great opportunity to celebrate and share my paintings with an audience that is already familiar with me as a public figure within my country. Secondly, the specific edition of the magazine was exclusively focused on Saudi Arabia. Given my strong sense of patriotism and allegiance to my homeland, I felt that the timing was right to be involved in an exciting publication celebrating the Kingdom.”
June 2019, starring Winnie Harlow and Shahad Salman
Winnie Harlow and Shahad Salman shot by photographer Dan Beleiu and styled by Katie Trotter
In yet another world exclusive, Vogue Arabia flew top international model Winnie Harlow to Saudi Arabia, where she modeled alongside rising star Shahad Salman for the June issue, themed “women standing for women.” Photographed by Dan Beleiu in Riyadh’s Sadus heritage village, cover stars Harlow, from Canada, and Salman, from the Kingdom, shared their touching stories of success, notably pointing out how vitiligo – a skin condition caused by the lack of melanin – hasn’t stopped them from achieving their dreams.

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It didn’t take long for the distinctive cover shot in Saudi Arabia to grab global attention as it appeared on one of the biggest TV shows in the US. When Harlow appeared on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, in September 2019, the television host took the opportunity to discuss her work with the magazine. “I thought this was a cool thing. You’re on the cover of Vogue Arabia,” said Fallon. Harlow proudly chimed in to discuss the shoot, saying, “That’s my first Vogue. This is the beautiful Shahad, she is gorgeous. I really wanted to do something powerful for my first cover with Vogue Arabia. I’m really close with the people behind the scenes there. We’d been having discussions for about a year about what would be really powerful and we found her on Instagram, and she’s a friend of mine.”
December 2020, starring five young Saudi women, next star Saudi models, and couturier Ashi with muse and model Cindy Bruna

The December 2020 issue of Vogue Arabia celebrated the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with a five-cover special edition dedicated to the country and its people. For the first cover, the special project was lensed by Hayat Osamah and curated by historian Dr Layla AlBassam. It stars five young Saudi women from across the country dressed in their respective regional dress. The calligraphy reads, “In the heart of Saudi.” In brilliant contrast, the second cover draws the eye to the next star Saudi models, shot by photographer Txema Yeste with surrealist effect against the smart city of NEOM. International Saudi couturier Ashi, who has dressed Beyoncé, Cardi B, and Billy Porter, is also featured on a cover alongside model and Ashi muse Cindy Bruna.
HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud photographed by her daughter, Princess Sarah bint Faisal Al Saud
The issue also included an exclusive feature by Saudi ambassador to the US, HRH Princess Reema bint Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. Photographed for Vogue Arabia by her daughter, Princess Sarah bint Faisal Al Saud, she penned a letter to Saudi women, stating, “Whatever the future holds for the Kingdom, young Saudi women will be at the front of the line, integral to the process of shaping it. And that means, very soon, we will no longer refer to the ‘first’ Saudi women this or the ‘first’ Saudi woman that – because the presence and contribution of Saudi women in every job, occupation, career, and sector will simply be commonplace and unremarkable.” Princess Reema added, “The time has come to be judged by our capabilities and accomplishments and not by our gender.”
Read Next: Some of Vogue Arabia’s Most Special Moments Created in Saudi Arabia

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