Editor’s Letter

Editor’s Letter: An Ode to Pink, from Jaipur with Love

Editor’s Letter: An Ode to Pink, from Jaipur with Love

Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut. Photo: Ziga Mihelcic
Pink, not shockingly.
Last March, I visited Jaipur for the first time during Holi, and completely fell in love with the city. I instantly had the idea to put together an issue of Vogue Arabia fully dedicated to pink. From the walls of the iconic City Palace, to which we had special access for this issue through the kind support of Sawai Padmanabh Singh, the Maharaja of Jaipur, to Valentino’s Winter 2022 fuchsia collection that took social media by storm, the color seems to be literally everywhere.
Sawai Padmanabh Singh, the Maharaja of Jaipur. Vogue Arabia July/August 2022. Photo: Nishanth Radhakrishnan
I could not think of a better arena than the ‘Pink City’ itself to stage this blooming extravaganza. Let’s not forget that decades beforeKim Kardashian caused a stir in a shocking pink Balenciaga catsuit, Diana Vreeland so astutely stated that “pink is the navy blue of India.” More than a chromatic exercise, this issue also serves to highlight the strong link between the Gulf countries and India over centuries, initially motivated by trading roots, the two regions have been influencing each other in a creative tango that touches the fields of economy, food, art, architecture, entertainment, and fashion. I hope that as you turn these pages, you feel the same excitement we did putting them together in Jaipur. Pink made us happy, made us dream, and above all, it made us fall in love with fashion again and again.
Read Next: An Ode to Pink and India-Middle East Ties: Inside Vogue Arabia’s July/August 2022 Issue

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

Editor’s Letter: Manuel Arnaut on Working with Samira Said, and What to Expect from Our May 2022 Issue

Editor’s Letter: Manuel Arnaut on Working with Samira Said, and What to Expect from Our May 2022 Issue

Samira Said for Vogue Arabia, May 2022. Photo: Philipp Jelenska
This month I had a major fan moment, as we had the honor of photographing the one and only Samira Said. The singer is not only one of the most distinctive voices in the Arab world, on stage since the Seventies, she is also one of those stars you just have a blast with on set. As you might guess by Samira’s daring sense of style over the decades, she is truly Arabia’s fashion chameleon. She had no reservations during our photo shoot and was keen to try new things and reinvent herself. A true diva!
Visiting Samira at home in Cairo and chatting the night away over some Moroccan tea on a gorgeous Ramadan night was also a treat, and I loved to hear that after an eight-year hiatus, the artist is about to launch a new song in Moroccan Arabic, after Eid. That will certainly cause a commotion in her native country.
This month’s issue comes packed with other amazing women who inspire us with their leadership and vision. It is not a secret that the top roles in fashion, especially in regards to high-profile business positions, have been mostly occupied by men. Finally, we see a shift in this paradigm, with incredible women being appointed to top roles at iconic fashion houses. Some examples are Leena Nair, who was appointed Global CEO of Chanel in December; Hélène Poulit-Duquesne, CEO of Boucheron; Alison Loehnis, president of luxury and fashion at Yoox Net-A-Porter Group; Pascale Lepoivre, CEO of Loewe; and Tunisian Nadia Dhouib, who was just appointed general manager of Paco Rabanne. We speak with some of these women in a feature on p106.
We’re also delving deep to underscore fashion’s latest efforts on sustainable and cruelty-free creations. During the pandemic, we saw this important change being accelerated, and recently even Fendi signaled interest in collaborating on the development of lab-grown, plastic-free faux fur. On the other hand, I see many of the promises that have been made by the industry – less traveling, smaller shows, and so on – being completely forgotten, with fashion weeks and shows in exotic locations coming back stronger than ever before, pushing new purchases and consumerism.  What happened to “buy less, buy better?” As part of the “fashion machine,” I’ve been having a hard time finding a balance, both as a consumer and as a professional. I don’t have the answer now, but finding this equilibrium is something we at Vogue Arabia will be working on. And I hope you can do the same, too, as we all have a role to play in the positive or negative impact that fashion has on the ecosystem. It all starts and stops in our closets.
Read Next: Vogue Arabia’s May 2022 Issue Showcases the Return of an Icon with Moroccan Singer Samira Said
Originally published in the May 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia

Editor’s Letter: How Our April 2022 Issue Explores the New Codes of Modest Fashion

Editor’s Letter: How Our April 2022 Issue Explores the New Codes of Modest Fashion

Sisters Hani and Ugbad Abdi in their first shoot together. Vogue Arabia, April 2022. Photo: Luigi and Iango
I’m still blown away by the fantastic feedback on our 5th anniversary issue. This festive edition resonated with readers around the globe, especially with so many Arab women who are proud to be represented on a global scale as the modern leaders and businesswomen they are. Within the first 30 minutes that we revealed the first cover on Instagram, it was shared by more than 5,000 users.
However, in fashion’s best style, what is done, is done. And it’s now time to dive deep into April, a special time when we celebrate the arrival of the Holy Month. This inspired us to build this issue around the values of family and connection, but also the ever growing importance of modest fashion. As I wrote in last month’s editor’s letter, I still struggle to understand the western obsession with modesty, and why people who don’t fully understand these codes think that they have the knowledge – and sometimes the mission – to liberate women from modesty.
Of course, all generalizations are dangerous, but I can guarantee that most Arab women who have adopted modesty don’t need to be saved by anyone. In a story penned by Hafsa Lodi, we also observe how the codes of modesty have evolved over the last couple of years, mostly depending on new cultural and economical nuances. The complexity of this topic proves once again that clothes and fashion are much more than just what we wear.
On the topic of family, hijabi supermodel Ugbad Abdi returns to our cover. This time, she is joined by her younger sister Hani, who is in front of the camera for the first time. In the interview conducted by Janelle Okwodu, the siblings share their remarkable life journey, from fleeing the civil war in Somalia and living in a refugee camp in Kenya for nearly a decade, to a dream life (but one of challenges and hard work) in the US.
Another power duo, Arabia’s favorite international couturier Stéphane Rolland and his forever muse, the Spanish supermodel Nieves Álvarez, were photographed in Paris. Rolland has been visiting the Middle East for decades, and recently designed the wedding dress of HRH Princess Hussa bint Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the only daughter of King Salman. The idea to feature the couturier in this issue manifested after I watched his latest show in Paris and witnessed the incredible reactions from our followers on social media – his was the most liked and commented couture show of the season. It was powerful, artistic, and touching, and reminded me why I fell in love with fashion in the first place.
Read Next: Hijabi Model Ugbad Abdi and Sister Hani Star on Our Ramadan Issue Celebrating Family and Modest Fashion
Originally published in the April 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia

Editor’s Letter: Our 5th Anniversary and Biggest-Ever Issue is a Heartfelt Tribute to the Readers

Editor’s Letter: Our 5th Anniversary and Biggest-Ever Issue is a Heartfelt Tribute to the Readers

Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut. Photo: Ziga Mihelcic
This month, there were many discussions in the press and on social media on the most societal side of fashion. In France, the ban of the hijab – now also a reality in sports – continues to stab the fundamental rights of millions of Muslims in the country. As we reported on Vogue.me, the issue became an even bigger topic when supermodel Bella Hadid and beauty mogul Huda Kattan posted about it, showing their outrage against this prohibition. On the other hand, Vanity Fair’s annual Hollywood edition cover featuring Nicole Kidman wearing Miu Miu (a look combining an extremely short skirt and top), also sparked a wave of opinions on Instagram. Many followers of the publication accused the 54-year-old actor of not being age-appropriate, and even perpetuating a fetishist “schoolgirl” fantasy.
The more I think about these two stories, the more I can’t help but feel bewildered. In March 2022, why are we still dictating what women should or shouldn’t wear? In my opinion, if it makes you happy, and you are not being forced or putting anyone’s security at risk, dress in what makes you feel good – whether it is a hijab or a miniskirt.
This kind of attention and scrutiny in the public eye is something the three powerhouses we invited to front our fifth anniversary covers are extremely used to. However, this never stopped Amina Muaddi, Nadine Njeim, and Huda Kattan from thriving in their respective fields. As you can read on our cover, this special anniversary edition is all about women who are taking Arabia global, exactly like our magic trio, who touch millions around the world through fashion, beauty, and performance. We selected this theme with a clear intention: we want to make a statement, promoting the strength and entrepreneurship of Arab women and their ever evolving role in the region, but also Arab women’s image abroad. If you live in Dubai, Riyadh, or any other major Middle Eastern city, you know that things have changed at a rapid pace, but worldwide there are still some preconceived ideas of submissiveness that we want to shatter.
On a personal level, putting together this anniversary edition was exciting, but also challenging and scary. Not being Arab myself, I heavily feel the responsibility of creating content that our readers are proud of. This feeling was multiplied times twenty when we added the pressure of having to put together the best magazine we have ever produced. Assembling these pages was also an exercise of self-discovery and reflection. I always get emotional when, during my research, I flip through past editions of Vogue Arabia, as all the major features are associated with so many adventures, trips abroad, emotions, and stress – but mainly a feeling of satisfaction and of being privileged to have the opportunity to have a job I enjoy the most. Naturally, I love the result and the strong covers that constantly position Vogue Arabia at the center of the cultural zeitgeist, but I also love all the behind-the-scenes moments – from hiding inside a tuk tuk with Syrian singer Assala in the Marrakech medina, to sharing a set with the legendary Peter Lindbergh.
As you can imagine, editing a magazine is an intricate puzzle, and I’m only a small piece of it. I would like to thank the Vogue Arabia team, all our contributors, and all our advertisers for always elevating the publication with their creativity and generosity. Lastly, and most importantly, thank you to our readers, who have been with us for the past half decade. This magazine, with 500 pages – our biggest issue ever – is our heartfelt tribute to you.
Read Next: Behind-the-Scenes of Our 5th Anniversary Shoot with Amina Muaddi, Huda Kattan, and Nadine Nassib Njeim
Originally published in the March 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia

Editor’s Letter: Celebrating the Return of Fashion in the Middle East

Editor’s Letter: Celebrating the Return of Fashion in the Middle East

Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut. Photo: Ziga Mihelcic
Fashion is back! If you have any doubts about it, I invite you to check Arabia’s latest fashion calendar: in October alone, Giorgio Armani showcased a runway show at the Burj Khalifa, and Cartier inaugurated the meaningful Women’s Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. This month, Chanel presents its Cruise show in Dubai, and in Qatar, Fashion Trust Arabia is hosting a lavish three-day event in Doha that includes the opening of a major Dior exhibition in the city. Of course, you can read all about it in the magazine, while having access to all the festivities live via Vogue.me and our social media platforms.
The current events, and the general spirit of celebration of fashion in the region, inspired us to curate this issue with a maximalist and flamboyant approach, bursting with dresses, jewelry, and beauty that make you dream, and put you in that right mood to live life to the fullest. Also with plenty of reasons to celebrate, Oscar winner Penélope Cruz, who recently took home the best actress award at the Venice film festival, shines in our cover.
Cruz wears Chanel. Photographed by Luigi and Iango for Vogue Arabia November 2021
The Spanish actor will be in town for the Chanel Cruise show, so this was the perfect opportunity to catch up with the cinema icon. We met in Madrid for a photo shoot conducted by Luigi and Iango, and we had an interesting conversation about her career, her long-time collaboration with director Pedro Almodóvar, and the impact of social media on our lives–something Cruz has strong opinions about, as you can read in this month’s issue.
Another woman I’m proud to feature this month is Andrée Acouri, who looks glorious at 80 years young. Acouri was the first ever Arab top model and had a brilliant career walking for prestigious maisons such as Dior, Chanel, and Saint Laurent. After opening a modeling agency in Beirut, she mentored the young Georgina Rizk, who, under her wing, became the region’s first Miss Universe in 1971. Before I leave you with all these exciting stories, I would like to announce that Vogue’s Ball of Arabia will be back in December, this year in celebration of the Golden Jubilee of the UAE. I can’t give more details for now, but I can tell you that it’s something you will not want to miss.
Read Next: Penélope Cruz Stars on Vogue Arabia’s November Cover Ahead of Her Visit to Dubai
Originally published in the November 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia

Editor’s Letter: Exploring the Future Through the Lens of Fashion in Our October Issue

Editor’s Letter: Exploring the Future Through the Lens of Fashion in Our October Issue

Manuel Arnaut photographed by Ziga Mihelcic
For all of us living in the Middle East, we are spoiled by a region that offers a unique mix of heritage and traditions, combined with state-of-the-art technology, and a constant search for what the future will be. Look, for instance, at some of the most groundbreaking projects currently disrupting the Gulf, such as the UAE’s efforts to explore space and the opening of the new Museum of the Future, the creation of the world’s ultimate city in KSA’s Neom, or the kick-off of Expo 2020 Dubai this month. It is in this exciting context that we decided to explore how the future will look through the lens of fashion.
Rawdah Mohamed, Nadia Khaya, and Aouatif Saadi photographed by Julien Vallon for Vogue Arabia October 2021
Starting with our cover, we present three models hailing from Morocco and Somalia, who, more than just being beautiful (I personally find just being beautiful very boring these days), have strong voices that impact the industry and society in general. On p94, they share their experiences of dealing with racism and discrimination, and they reveal how they have turned their uniqueness into their biggest assets.
This month, in a feature we call The Vanguards, we turn the spotlight on a group of extraordinary individuals who are breaking boundaries in the arts, design, and fashion worlds. One of them is Lebanon’s Khaled El Mays, who I met many years ago in Beirut, and who I’ve been following and admiring ever since. Last month, when I visited Milan Design Week, I was extremely proud to see his work in the exclusive Nilufar Gallery and also as part of Dior’s Medallion Chair exhibition, next to iconic industry personalities such as Nendo and India Mahdavi.
Valentino couture. Photographed by Bruno & Nico van Mossevelde
One of the names who is also reshaping the future of fashion is Pierpaolo Piccioli, creative director of Valentino, who gave Vogue Arabia an exclusive preview of the maison’s latest couture collection, before it even hit the runway in the Venetian Arsenal. During my sit-down with him in the brand’s stunning Place Vendôme offices, we discussed topics such as gender-neutral fashion and his position that fashion is not art. The latter concept sounds contrary to what we usually promote at Vogue, but I invite you to jump to p128 to better understand Piccioli’s vision.
From left: Fatima Al-Fihri, Zaha Hadid, Assia Dagher, and Sameera Moussa. Illustrated by Nourie Flayhan
Of course, all progress is only possible if it’s anchored in a strong foundation: in October, join us in celebrating the legacies of some of the most disruptive women from the region, including Tunisian Fatima Al-Fihri, who founded the world’s first university more than 1,000 years ago, Egyptian feminist writer and activist Nawal El Saadawi, and Zaha Hadid. I hope this new issue of Vogue makes you feel inspired and hopeful for a better future. We all need this extra motivation now.
Read Next: Go Inside the Vogue Arabia October 2021 Issue for Fashion’s New Frontiers

Editor’s Letter: Why Our Summer Issue Questions Society’s Description of the “Perfect Body”

Editor’s Letter: Why Our Summer Issue Questions Society’s Description of the “Perfect Body”

Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut. Photo: Ziga Mihelcic
This month was extremely emotional for us at Vogue, as we approached the theme of the body from the rawest and most candid perspective to date. Every year, as temperatures rise and swimsuit season approaches, many of us embark on crazy diets and endless hours at the gym, looking for fast results in the shallowest way – I exercise just to lose weight quickly, not for my health. This could be a consequence of years of brainwashing from the entertainment and fashion industries, who have been promoting harsh patterns of beauty and an idea that the slimmer you are, the more beautiful you are, for decades.
Thankfully, the fashion community – from publications to designers – has been trying to fight this demon, with this reflecting in the visibility of more diverse bodies on covers, runways, and campaigns. This month’s cover star, Precious Lee, is the perfect example, as her glorious face and curves are everywhere this season – from the Versace show to the covers of British Vogue and Vogue Brasil. I met Precious in New York four years ago. She was not yet the supermodel she is today, but I was immediately blown away by her beauty and luminous personality. She had the full package. After I returned to Dubai, I told everyone in the office that the woman I met for dinner was going to be a star. And here she is, shining as bright as a diamond, shot for this month’s issue by Paola Kudacki, a photographer I have been keen on working with for years. Paola, Precious, and the team were in the studio until 3am, completely carried away by their creative process. Their passion is reflected in every single image they produced.
Precious Lee photographed by Paola Kudacki
In this issue, we also shatter further stereotypes around the classic idea of femininity. If sometimes society overlooks women with curves, the same happens with women with muscles. Strong female bodies are considered by some to be manly and not elegant, as if women have no right to a powerful figure. This led us to put together an editorial with three high performance athletes, styled in anything but their gym clothes, reclaiming their right to their femininity and strength.
Being on set with Dareen Barbar, Rania Hammad, and Zainab Al-Eqabi was definitely the highlight of my month, as I was inspired by their stories of perseverance and positivity. When they described to me how they lost their limbs, it put everything in my life in perspective. It makes me proud that we are dedicating a big part of this issue to people of determination, so many times overseen by society – and even more so by style publications. I’m happy to see that fashion brands, from high street to luxury, are also working towards including in their collections pieces for this segment, with Burberry, Gucci, Tommy Hilfiger, and Mango normalizing different bodies. But there’s still a lot of work to do around awareness and inclusion. As the Iraqi activist Zainab states, “The more you see my amputation, the more you will stop seeing it.”
Read Next: Precious Lee Stars on Our Body Positivity Issue in an Ode to Real Diversity and Empowerment

Editor’s Letter: Why Our May Issue is Dedicated to the Highest Artistries and Haute Couture

Editor’s Letter: Why Our May Issue is Dedicated to the Highest Artistries and Haute Couture

Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut. Photo: Ziga Mihelcic
Ever since I was a little boy, I remember being surrounded by people who could make things. Beautiful things. One of my fondest memories is of my maternal grandmother – a woman so important in my development – and the long evenings spent by her side when she would knit the most beautiful crochet patterns for hours and hours. These delicate webs would then be applied to bedsheets or tablecloths, only to be enjoyed on special days. Since then, I’ve always been impressed by people who can make things with their bare hands – whether a sculpture, a piece of furniture, or a beautiful dress.
To my delight, the Arab world is a place where I also found the same love for all things handmade, following strict centuries-old techniques that are still being respected. In this issue dedicated to the highest artistries, we have the honor to include an interview with HH Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah. The royal leads different cultural organizations, including the Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council, which focuses on preserving traditional Emirati heritage. “We all must understand that a pursuit of modernity doesn’t mean letting go of the past. The past is what shows us the way to our future,” shares Her Highness with Vogue.
Malika El Maslouhi wearing Guo Pei couture. Photographed by Thibault-Théodore for Vogue Arabia May 2021
Speaking of fashion in a more global way, it is also not a secret that Arab clients have been key couture and high jewelry customers for decades. More than just buying quantity, the region is known for its impeccable sartorial taste, loving everything that is exclusive, produced in limited quantities, and made using the most lavish raw materials. This motivated us to build the issue around a 14-page portfolio story where Moroccan model on the rise Malika El Maslouhi wears couture looks by classic maisons such as Giambattista Valli and Dior, but also more experimental houses like Iris van Herpen and Viktor & Rolf. In a story penned by the elegant Amy Fine Collins, the woman behind Vanity Fair’s International Best-Dressed List, we discuss if couture will survive in a world dominated by Zoom calls and restrictions. I invite you to read the conclusion on p84.
We could not do an issue dedicated to the topic of couture and artistry without highlighting the work of iconic couturier Elie Saab. Even following last year’s Beirut blast, nothing appears to slow down the Saab family, now busier than ever with the main fashion collections, but also new makeup and fragrances, watches and home lines. I’m glad to witness the growth of Elie Saab’s global empire and influence, even in a moment when the world is struggling.
Like couture, some skeptics say that print magazines are something of the past. Naturally, I don’t agree with this, and I’m pleased and excited to invite you to try our new augmented reality features that are being announced and promoted on Vogue.me and on our social media. Last month, our cover came to life as never before, and singer Balqees Fathi showed up in your living room. It looks like magic, but it’s just Vogue leading the future of fashion.
Read Next: Vogue Arabia’s May Issue Celebrates Artistry, Craftsmanship, and Savoir Faire

Editor’s Letter: Why Strong Women are at the Center of Our April Issue Dedicated to the Importance of Family

Editor’s Letter: Why Strong Women are at the Center of Our April Issue Dedicated to the Importance of Family

Manuel Arnaut and HH Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Photographed by Boo George
Women – strong women – are at the center of all our editions, but this month in particular, even more so. As we enter the Holy Month, we dedicate this issue to the importance of family, and there is no question that women are the glue that holds this institution together. Wise, giving, loving, women are at the heart of it all.
This year, as the UAE celebrates its 50th anniversary, we are proud to have on our cover HH Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who poses for the first time ever for a magazine. Her Highness is the granddaughter of the founders of the country – the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan and HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak – and leads by example, heading many organizations in the fields of arts, education, sports, and philanthropy, such as the Fatima Bint Mubarak Ladies Sports Academy and the Fatima Bint Hazza Cultural Foundation, among others. She is also an accomplished horseback rider and breeder, the first female judge in the UAE for Arabian Beauty Horse shows, and the founder of Al Shira’aa Stables. I had the pleasure of visiting Her Highness at the royal stables and sitting for a chat on the topics of the UAE, the female forces taking the country forward, and her loved ones. “My grandmother HH Sheikha Fatima bint Mubarak is my mother, my role model, my idol, and my whole world,” she shares. “She is also an infinite source of love and compassion. She is truly the Mother of the Nation, and my own mentor.”
One aspect that always amazes me about the region, is its everchanging social landscape, and the way things mutate so quickly. Traditions are still being cherished, but the social taboos of yesterday have no place in the world of tomorrow. Read, for instance, our feature on p42 in Arabic, where a brave group of female camel riders reveal their story for the first time, tapping into an activity that in the past has been mainly associated with men. The feature comes with a beautiful portfolio of images captured by our picture editor Ankita Chandra.
Also a true pioneer, but in the world of cinema, is Fatma Hassan Al Remaihi, CEO of the Doha Film Institute, who has been transforming the industry, locally and internationally. Not only is she able to capture everyone’s attention on the world’s biggest red carpets, she is also a firm supporter of local talents, placing women front and center along the way. In this issue, she reveals how she fell in love with the seventh art, and her plans for the overall direction of the institute.
Lastly, I would like to wish a happy anniversary to couturier Rami Al Ali, who celebrates 20 years of his fashion house this month. At Paris fashion week, I’m always proud to attend his perfectly put together presentation – at the Ritz Paris or Le Meurice – as I feel it represents the region in such a sophisticated and beautiful way. Not long ago, in Dubai, I had the pleasure of attending a dinner at Rami’s home, which we’ve tried to recreate on p94, surrounded by other creatives handpicked by the couturier. It was a gorgeous night, lit by candles and with the most delicious Syrian food. There, I also had the chance to meet Rami’s sisters, elegant and strong women, who seem to be among the pillars of his brand. Suffice to say that next to a great man, there are always great women. And vice versa.
Read Next: April 2021 Cover: HH Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan on Embracing the Values of “Family, Nation, and Strength”
Originally published in the April 2021 issue of Vogue Arabia

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