Models

Pictures: Amina Muaddi Unveils New Campaign Celebrating Her Arab Roots

Pictures: Amina Muaddi Unveils New Campaign Celebrating Her Arab Roots

Imaan Hammam in Amina Muaddi’s new campaign still shared exclusively with Vogue Arabia. Photo: Dexter Navy. Courtesy of Amina Muaddi
With a number of high-profile collaborations in her career, there’s no doubt that Amina Muaddi‘s passion is palpable in every launch. For her latest, the Jordanian-Romanian accessories designer is taking things a step further by honoring her Arab roots through a full-fledged campaign.
The imagery accompanies Drop 2/22 of Muaddi’s namesake label beloved for its edgy heels, which are modeled by Imaan Hammam of Moroccan-Egyptian heritage in this campaign. The former Vogue Arabia cover star forms part of a Middle East and North African team enlisted by Muaddi to honor the collective Arab culture and the DNA of her brand. While the looks were styled by Jahleel Weaver, who is Muaddi’s longtime collaborator, friend, and stylist to Rihanna, the photos were shot in Cairo by Egyptian-British visual artist Dexter Navy.
Photo: Dexter Navy. Courtesy of Amina Muaddi
“I had been trying to make this project happen with Dexter for quite a long time,” shares Muaddi with Vogue Arabia. “I really wanted to do something meaningful, an ode to my Arab heritage and a celebration of our culture.” Although born in Romania to a Jordanian father and Romanian mother, Muaddi and her family moved to Amman shortly after her birth, where she spent part of her childhood. “I had a big family and a lot of cousins who I would play all the time with,” the designer had recollected in a previous conversation with editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut. “I had this garden where my family had figs and olive trees, and to this day when I taste figs, I remember Jordan so it was definitely an important moment of my life.”
In the campaign, Hammam wears the brand’s new embellished heels, which would fit right in on a red carpet walked by one of Muaddi’s many A-list clients just as much as they blend in with Cairo’s vibrant scenes in the campaign. “This project is important because it is close to our hearts,” says the designer. “There isn’t nearly enough representation and spotlight on people with our background. It was crucial for me to work with an almost entirely Arab crew.”

Check out more images from Amina Muaddi’s Drop 2/22 campaign below.
Photo: Dexter Navy. Courtesy of Amina Muaddi
Photo: Dexter Navy. Courtesy of Amina Muaddi
Photo: Dexter Navy. Courtesy of Amina Muaddi
Photo: Dexter Navy. Courtesy of Amina Muaddi
Photo: Dexter Navy. Courtesy of Amina Muaddi
Photo: Dexter Navy. Courtesy of Amina Muaddi
Read Next: 15 Times Amina Muaddi Aced Cool Girl and CEO Style

Gigi Hadid, Dua Lipa, and More Will Headline This Year’s Forces of Fashion Summit

Gigi Hadid, Dua Lipa, and More Will Headline This Year’s Forces of Fashion Summit

In its sixth year, Vogue’s Forces of Fashion summit will return as a virtual and in-person event in both New York and London on October 14. The event will allow audiences to watch Vogue editors from around the world speak with designers, influencers, and industry executives in a series of candid panels and discussions.
Headlining the event in New York at Spring Studios in New York are Vogue editor in chief Anna Wintour, supermodel Gigi Hadid, designer Christopher John Rogers, and artistic director of Fendi and Dior Men’s Kim Jones, among others. Meanwhile in London, British Vogue editor-in-chief and European editorial director Edward Enninful will be joined by Dua Lipa, makeup artist Charlotte Tilbury, and photographer Nadine Ijewere.
Vogue Club members will have access to all this content on demand, as well as the opportunity to virtually join networking sessions with Vogue’s network of editors, stylists, and creatives, and attend the in-person event at a discounted price. A portion of the proceeds from the event—which is presented by Brizo, John Hardy, and Rothy’s—will support NewYork-Presbyterian’s Youth Anxiety Center.
Originally published in Vogue.com
Read Next: 17 Questions with Nour Rizk, the Lebanese Model to Feature on a Vogue Arabia Cover Twice

17 Questions with Nour Rizk, the Lebanese Model to Feature on a Vogue Arabia Cover Twice

17 Questions with Nour Rizk, the Lebanese Model to Feature on a Vogue Arabia Cover Twice

Nour Rizk wearing Lebanese designer Georges Hobeika. Vogue Arabia, July/August 2022. Photo: Nishanth Radhakrishnan
Cast your mind back to December 2019, when Vogue Arabia spotlighted the new generation of Arab models taking the fashion industry by storm. One of the faces to make their debut on the magazine cover then was Lebanese model Nour Rizk, who returns to our latest issue this summer—alongside Indian model Maumita—celebrating the enduring ties between the Middle East and India.
Having experienced European and Arab cultures growing up, Rizk admits to being influenced by the best of both worlds. While she started modeling full-time at the age of 18, she finds herself fortunate enough to have developed multiple passions while studying in Dubai. The model has been devoting her off-duty time to learning poetry, and to Le Rallye Des Graces, an all-female car rally that invites women from all around the world, launched by her mother Chahrazad Rizk.

Below, get to know all about Nour Rizk in 17 questions.
How would you describe yourself to someone you just met?
No one is perfect and sometimes it’s hard to pinpoint the things you love about yourself. Every person will have a different perception of you no matter how much you hope that it’s a good one. If there’s one thing I can proudly admit, it’s that I’m a good person with a kind heart. I see beauty in everyone’s journey, so you can tell me anything and I won’t judge. Respect is my moral code and something I’ll always take into account. But most importantly, I like to think that I’m quite funny!
How and when did you get into modeling?
Summer of 2016, I was in London with my family for a vacation. We were about to go watch the Lion King play when my brother saw a Subway sandwich shop and wanted to get a snack. I went in with him when two scouts from my current agency, Models1, were behind us in line. I got scouted at that moment but didn’t start full-time modeling until I graduated high school and moved to London. I like to give my brother the credits as he was the reason we went into Subway. Overall it’s been a great experience growing as a person and a model since then!
What three words best describe your personal style?
Versatile, polished, and bold.
What is the oldest and most cherished item in your closet?
My mom’s Alexander McQueen electric blue vintage bag. It’s one of the pieces in my closet that I just love to look at. If I was a bag, I’d definitely be this one!
Can you share a few highlights of your career with us?
My first runway show in Paris for Alexander McQueen was an unforgettable event as it’s always been a goal of mine to be a part of his artistry and legacy. As well as having the pleasure of working with talented photographers like David Sims for Vogue France and Tyler Mitchell for the Loewe perfume campaign. I’m proud of being where I am today. If you told my younger self that she’d be on the cover of Vogue, work with all these great brands, and be around so many people she looks up to, she wouldn’t believe you!
Who is your dream designer to work with?
Versace, Versace, and Versace…
What were the best moments of shooting the Vogue Arabia cover?
Being able to shoot in the beautiful sites of Jaipur I only ever saw in pictures! As well as interacting with the locals and the culture when we shot in the flower markets and streets of the city. I’ve also never seen so many peacocks in one place before—it was so fascinating! This was my first time in India but definitely not the last. I also loved working with the team. Meeting them all for the first time and sharing this experience together was the best part. The very unique trip and its beautiful production have made it unforgettable.
Since our issue is all about celebrating the color pink, how does the color make you feel?
Pink is such a romantic color, which I thought matched perfectly with the charm of the city. I believe that pink brings out my feminine side, and I think it subconsciously puts me in a good mood.
What’s the best thing about being a model?
I’m naturally a person who gets inspired easily by my surroundings, so being in an industry where I constantly am meeting new people and indulging in their vision is so fulfilling to me. As a model, you’re always traveling and experiencing things you wouldn’t have thought of doing. Also, meeting a large variety of people and personalities from all around the world who are all linked by their passion/interests. It’s so much fun challenging yourself and seeing the results you, and each team you work with, create.
What’s the worst thing about being a model?
Personally, it took me a while to adjust to the fast pace and last-minute lifestyle. It’s hard to make plans and stick to them when you’re not sure if you’ll be in another city that day. Changing my mindset and accepting this as part of the job was the only way to not see it as a burden.
If you could make Jaipur your home, where would you live?
My favorite location we shot in was the Jaigarh fort, as the scenery there is breathtaking. If I can build myself a house right where the garden is, it’d be the best view to wake up to and have my morning coffee.
What makes Vogue Arabia special to you?
It’s always been so important to bring diversity to the fashion industry. As much as it’s evolving greatly, the Arab world has so much more to be seen. Beauty is worldwide, and the Middle East is full of it! Vogue Arabia has been a gateway to implementing the talents and charm of this region to the world. It’s special in many ways as it symbolizes the exceptional and distinct creatives in the area.
Tell us one secret from the day you spent shooting with Vogue Arabia in Jaipur.
During one of the days we were there, it was 42 degrees celsius, and I was wearing really cool black Richard Quinn latex stockings. As great as the outfit looked, I’ve never sweated that much in my life! By the end of the day, the stockings were filled with water and you could hear puddle noises every time I took a step. It was very gross taking them off but the styling team did a great job of laughing it off with me!
If you could take home one outfit/jewelry piece from the cover shoot, which one would it be?
It’d definitely be the asymmetric pink suit with the turban. Such a fun look and cool combo!
Name one song that reminds you of India.
The song from The Beatles called “Within You Without You” reminds me of India. The band had many songs influenced by the country, I think this one was even written there.
What’s one song that always reminds you of the Middle East?
The song by one of my favorite artists, Dalida, that’s called “Helwa Ya Baladi”. It talks about how no matter the distance, you can never forget and stop cherishing your country and the memories you made in it.
What’s one thing you think India and the Middle East have in common?
India and the Middle East all have so much soul and culture that is hard to ignore. The concept of sharing in both areas is very prominent. They have very traditional ways of dressing their tables with many dishes and spreads that are intended to be shared and enjoyed as a union. I find that it’s one of the most beautiful things about the two cultures. Nothing is more engaging than passing food and serving it onto other people’s plates during a meal.
Read Next: 17 Questions with Maumita, the First Up-and-Coming Indian Model to Front Vogue Arabia’s Cover

Saudi Model Amira Al Zuhair is Taking Over the Paris Couture Week Runways This Season

Saudi Model Amira Al Zuhair is Taking Over the Paris Couture Week Runways This Season

Georges Hobeika
We’re only a couple of days into the Fall/Winter 2022 Paris Couture Week, and Arab representation on the runway has already had a moment. Walking the shows for not one but four coveted designers, Saudi Arabian model Amira Al Zuhair is taking couture week by storm. If she looks familiar, it’s because Al Zuhair has previously fronted one of Vogue Arabia’s December 2020 covers celebrating up-and-coming models in the Kingdom, and continues to feature in the magazine’s editorials since.
Giambattista Valli
On the first day of couture week, Al Zuhair modeled the Fall/Winter 2022 couture collection of fellow Arab, Georges Hobeika. The Lebanese designer’s Mother Nature-inspired collection saw Al Zuhair dressed in a multi-colored piece, featuring a sheer blue top with floor-grazing sleeves, and a two-toned embellished skirt. Bringing the day to the end, Al Zuhair was spotted at the Giambattista Valli show next, where she took the runway in a maximalist number—a brown dress with a voluminous, layered skirt.
Armani Privé
The next day, the model walked the runway for Alexis Mabille twice in two distinct looks—one, featuring a collared shirt and corseted skirt, and the other, a minimalistic, slinky dress. Later, she was a part of Giorgio Armani’s Armani Privé show—one of the most revered ones in the fashion calendar—which saw the octogenarian designer met with a standing ovation. “Thank you for this magical moment!” wrote Al Zuhair on a clip of her walking the runway in a sparkling blue look shared on Instagram.
Alexis Mabille
Looking at the model’s busy start to the shows and with two more packed days left in Paris Couture Week, it is safe to say this may not be the last time we will see Al Zuhair on the runway this season.
Read Next: The Best Behind-the-Scenes Moments from the Fall 2022 Couture Shows

17 Questions with Maumita, the First Up-and-Coming Indian Model to Front Vogue Arabia’s Cover

17 Questions with Maumita, the First Up-and-Coming Indian Model to Front Vogue Arabia’s Cover

Maumita poses against the Hawa Mahal in Jaipur. Vogue Arabia, July/August 2022. Photo: Nishanth Radhakrishnan
Besides being dedicated to the color pink, the Vogue Arabia July/August 2022 issue also celebrates the strong ties between the Gulf and India that have influenced each others’ food, art, fashion, and much more. And so, featuring on our cover for the first time is an up-and-coming model hailing from the country. Originally from Guwahati in Assam, Maumita is a 21-year-old who is currently pursuing a BA majoring in psychology. Her repertoire so far includes working for some of the much-loved Indian brands, such as Label Ritu Kumar, Fab India, Myntra, and Pink City Prints.

Below, get to know all about Maumita in 17 questions.
How would you describe yourself to someone you just met?
Introvert, great listener, and adventurous.
How and when did you get into modeling?
I have always enjoyed being in front of the camera—whether it’s acting or modeling. When I was a kid, my dad used to take pictures of me and my sister with his film camera. That’s how it started. I am extremely grateful to have been scouted right in my hometown, and then I was guided to get placed with agencies.
What three words best describe your personal style?
Comfortable, timeless, and expressive.
What is the oldest and most cherished item in your closet?
It’s definitely my mom’s mekhela sador from her wedding, which is a traditional Assamese attire. It’s priceless!
Can you share a few highlights of your career with us?
It has to be shooting for Fab India which was one of my biggest campaigns and of course, Vogue Arabia!
Who is your dream designer to work with?
It’s hard to name one but nationally, Sabyasachi Mukherjee and internationally, Casey Cadwallader, Yohji Yamamoto, and Supriya Lele.
What were the best moments of shooting the Vogue Arabia cover?
It was an absolute honor to shoot with the Maharaja of Jaipur. Besides that, getting to wear the most stylish outfits and working with an amazingly talented crew in my beautiful country were a few of the best moments of shooting for Vogue Arabia.
Since our issue is dedicated to pink, how does the color make you feel?
It makes me feel warm because it reminds me of love, bonding, happiness—and Jaipur!
What’s the best thing about being a model?
The best thing about being a model is getting to wear literal pieces of art that take a lot of time and effort to create, meeting super creative people from different cultural backgrounds, and traveling to beautiful places with a beautiful history.
What’s the worst thing about being a model?
The worst thing about being a model is having to stay away from my loved ones and being anxious about missing my flights!
If you could make Jaipur your home, where would you live?
Probably in Hawa Mahal (I wish it was possible). I bet it has a spectacular view!
What makes Vogue Arabia special to you?
Vogue Arabia is empowering and that’s what makes it special to me. Being one of the top Vogue magazines, it lends a voice to Middle Eastern women and also brings cultures together, and creates a platform to showcase the best in fashion.
Tell us one secret from the day you spent shooting with Vogue Arabia in Jaipur.
If I do tell, it won’t remain a secret anymore!
If you could steal one outfit/jewelry piece from the cover shoot, which one would it be?
The purple Elie Saab outfit that was shot in the middle of a huge crowd in a flower market. It was so dramatic, I loved it. Also, I could walk around in those Versace platform pumps forever.
Name one song that reminds you of India.
‘Yeh Jo Des Hai Tera’ by A.R. Rahman. It has a beautiful meaning behind it.
What’s one song that always reminds you of the Middle East?
‘Noor’ by Gobi Desert Collective. I discovered this song a few months ago and it reminds me of the Middle East whenever I listen to it.
What’s one thing you think India and the Middle East have in common? 
The warmth of the people and the colors of their cultures!
Read Next: How the Luxury Design House of Sabyasachi is Bringing India’s Rich Heritage to the World

Supermodel Shanina Shaik on Her Saudi Roots, Battling Racism, and Becoming a Mother

Supermodel Shanina Shaik on Her Saudi Roots, Battling Racism, and Becoming a Mother

Dress, Atelier Zuhara; earrings, ring, Ana Khouri. Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Greg Swales
Supermodel Shanina Shaik is a force to be reckoned with. The 31-year-old model, who is of Saudi Arabian, Australian, Lithuanian, and Pakistani descent, just announced her pregnancy to her 2.8 million followers on Instagram and she couldn’t be happier. There’s a lot she’s looking forward to — a new baby and a personal product line expected on shelves next year. One look at her Instagram profile, and one imagines how idyllic herlife is — poolside weekends, sandy beaches, and lots of travel. But the reality is that her journey is not without its hurdles.
Shaik for Victoria’s Secret. Photo: Getty
Raised in Australia, Shaik describes her youth as somewhat tumultuous. “I had a difficult time in school dealing with bullying, but overall, I loved my childhood. I loved the weather, playing sports outside, the food, and much more.” She credits her mother with being her biggest cheerleader during tough times and admits her journey would have been different without her support. Although Shaik’s been modeling since she was eight years old, it wasn’t until she finished as a runner-up in the Australian reality show Make Me a Supermodel in 2008 that doors started opening for her. At 17, she moved to New York, where she felt she would be more accepted as a model.
Shanina Shaik, sat on her grandfather’s lap, with her family in Singapore
Due to what would have been considered unconventional looks at the time — wide, high cheekbones that create an almost feline appearance, olive skin, and a hard-to-pinpoint heritage outside the usual white, blonde-haired, and blue-eyed models — breaking into a world that is often criticized for its lack of representation was no easy feat. “I have a diverse ethnic background — it wasn’t accepted or recognized in the modeling industry, which still had to make a lot of changes and celebrate diversity. I was part of a slow movement that has come a long way today.” But Shaik didn’t let racism break her spirit — if anything, it made her more resilient. “Luckily, I received a modeling contract with a New York agency after being scouted on the model search reality show — that’s when my career kick-started, and I felt accepted. No one should ever deal with racism in their work environment.” Since then, there’s been no stopping her. In 2011, she was cast in the Victoria’s Secret show, where she walked with other supermodels like Joan Smalls and Chanel Iman, and later walked the runway for some of the biggest names including Jason Wu, Tom Ford, and Chanel. “Walking in the Victoria’s Secret fashion show has been the highlight of my career as has working with top renowned fashion designers and photographers. As a little girl, it would have been surreal if you told me this would be my future.”
Shanina Shaik’s Pakistani grandfather and Saudi Arabian grandmother on their wedding day
Despite her multicultural upbringing, Shaik resonates most with her Middle Eastern culture and Saudi roots. “My grandmother was from Saudi Arabia. I’ve seen pictures of her, and I resemble her in so many ways,” she says. The model visited the Kingdom last year to mark the opening of the Red Sea International Film Festival. “It was an extremely special trip to travel to Saudi Arabia. I wanted to see my family’s culture and understand my heritage. Additionally, it was an important historical event to be a part of and witness the international film festival.” She was seen on the red carpet in a dazzling sequined gown by Lebanese-American designer Eli Mizrahi of Monôt, one of her favorite Middle Eastern labels.
Top, dress, shorts, boots, Simone Rocha; pearl earrings, Ana Khouri. Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Greg Swales
For her personal style, Shaik gravitates to high-low fashion. “I like to find cute vintage pieces and incorporate them into my daily dressing.” Her aesthetic features cool, oversized looks — a silhouette she gravitates towards with vintage tees being her favorite find now. “My everyday look consists of t-shirts, baggy jeans, or suited pants, with a blazer and boots. I also like Eterne, vintage Chrome Hearts, and IRO for daily dressing.” For the red carpet, she prefers figure-hugging looks and works with her stylist to pick the perfect outfit. During her pregnancy though, comfort is key. “My bump has been growing rapidly,” she exclaims. “I want to have fun moments showing my bump during the summer season, and I’m not afraid to wear heels either.”
Dress, Prada. Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Greg Swales
Physical and mental wellbeing is important to her, and Shaik switched up her self-care routine to suit the pregnancy. She’s steering clear of any retinols, fragrances, and benzoyl peroxide and wearing sunscreen to avoid pigmentation — “I can’t live without my Liberty Belle SPF 50+ Superstar sunscreen. It’s a staple product in my skincare bag.” Some of her favorite skincare brands include Biologique Recherche, KORA, 111 Skin, and Rodial. For body care, she applies Belly Oil by Hatch, Trilastin’s Maternity Stretch Mark Prevention Cream, and Vitamin E oil. When it comes to exercise, Pilates has been her go-to as she loves the results. “Currently, I only do prenatal Pilates classes. I work with my favorite trained Pilates coaches to guide me in a safe workout.”
Dress, coat, Maison Margiela; gloves, Handsome Stockholm; earrings, Ana Khouri. Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Greg Swales
As Shaik’s body changes during her pregnancy, she’s in no hurry to bounce back into shape right after birth. “It’s a shame that society and pop culture have placed pressure on women to ‘bounce back.’ It causes stress and unnecessary worry that could lead to mental health issues. More importantly, your body needs to heal.” Instead, she’s amazed to see how her body is changing to bring life into this world. “Your body is doing what it needs to do to create a healthy space for your baby. It’s important to listen to it during this time.” In the age of diet culture, it’s refreshing to see her spread a positive message, especially for the next generation.
Dress, Sportmax; earrings, rings, Anabela Chan; shoes, Christian Louboutin. Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Greg Swales
When asked if she has considered a specific parenting style she wants to follow, the model answers, “I don’t believe there is a ‘textbook’ way to be a parent. I haven’t met my child yet, I don’t know its personality. I know I will give my baby unconditional love, safety, support, and guidance.” An animal lover at heart, Shaik will pass on some valuable life lessons to her child, especially when it comes to standing up for what’s right. “I feel like it’s our rightful duty to care and be a voice for animals,” she adds. “Humans make inconsiderate choices that cause irreversible changes to ecosystems and living creatures. Our future and our children’s futures look scary.”
Dress, gloves, necklace, Saint Laurent. Vogue Arabia, June 2022. Photo: Greg Swales
While taking on the role of a mother is one she’s most looking forward to, she also has a few words of wisdom for the next generation of upcoming models — especially those of color. “Always believe in yourself and make sure your voice is being heard. Protect your mental health and surround yourself with a team who love, support, and want the best for you.”
Originally published in the June 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia
Style: Danyul BrownFashion director: Amine JreissatiHair: Miles JeffriesMakeup: Michael AnthonyDigital tech: Meredith MunnLighting: Maya Sacks, Sandy RivasSet designer: Lucy HoltSet assistants: Scott Morris, Aryn MorrisStyle assistants: Molly Mundy, Adam ChiaProducer: Alexey Galetskiy
Read Next: Mom-to-Be Style: Shanina Shaik’s Best Maternity Looks to Date

Hijabi Modeling Star Ugbad Abdi on Welcoming Her Younger Sister Hani in Fashion

Hijabi Modeling Star Ugbad Abdi on Welcoming Her Younger Sister Hani in Fashion

Modeling star Ugbad Abdi’s career has been shaped by faith and family – and now, her younger sister Hani is joining her in fashion.
Hani (left) wears jacket, Dries Van Noten; earrings, Alexis Bittar; headwrap, stylist’s own. Ugbad wears bodysuit, Balenciaga; dress, AZ Factory; headwrap, stylist’s own. Vogue Arabia, April 2022. Photo: Luigi and Iango
Transformation is an essential part of being a model, but Ugbad Abdi appreciates every moment she gets to be herself. The 23-year-old star has spent most of the year so far traveling for work, jetting from one destination to the next as she brings designer fantasies to life. On paper, the job is glamorous – one day, she’s a Versace beauty in Milan, the next an urbane muse for Tom Ford – but the ceaseless nature of fashion’s current calendar means every spare minute is precious. Fresh from a trip to Miami for a shoot and blessed with a rare evening off, Abdi could explore the city, but she’d rather call her mom. “I’m always checking in, giving her little updates on how things are going,” she shares on the phone from Manhattan. “My family was just here over the holidays. I loved it. We spent so much time going to parks, riding our bikes, or hanging out. They’re such a big part of my life.”
Vest, skirt, Luchen; headpiece, JR Malpere; earrings, necklaces, bangles, and bracelets, Alexis Bittar. Photo: Luigi and Iango
One of five siblings, Abdi is part of a close-knit Muslim family in the Somali community of Des Moines, Iowa. A hub of activity in the American heartland, the city has been the star’s home since she was nine. Born in Kismayo, Somalia, Abdi and her family fled the nation’s civil war in the 90s, relocating to a refugee camp in Kenyan suburbs. Though far from the bustle of fashion capitals, she dreamed of seeing the world and taking her loved ones along for the journey. “I was always telling my family that we should travel. I was in love with anything that took me beyond my hometown,” she says. “There was just so much I wanted to see and experience.”
Abdi’s family understood that implicitly. “They’ve been my biggest supporters from the beginning,” she says. “Everyone is exposed to so much information, positive and negative, about fashion, and people can have a hard time grasping what we do as models. I was fortunate to have a family who understood. My mother saw how happy this made me and that having a career where I get to experience different cultures and continuously learn was so important to me.”
Dress, leggings, shoes, Fendi Haute Couture; helmet, Heather Huey. Photo: Luigi and Iango
In modeling, a support system can mean the difference between success and failure. A highly competitive field with long hours and high turnover, the business of beauty is daunting. Abdi, who was discovered by a scout from Next Management after posting images of her makeup artistry on social media, relied on her mother to navigate the ups and downs of her new career. “When I started, I had no idea what I was getting myself into,” she says. “All through high school, people told me that I should model because I’m so tall, but in Iowa, you can’t just walk into an agency. Modeling was jarring because I didn’t grow up looking at people in the spotlight.”
Abdi’s inspirations hewed closer to home. The women in her family were the people she looked to most, and their influence informed many of her earliest accomplishments. “I remember calling my mom seconds after I walked Valentino,” Abdi says of her debut at Pierpaolo Piccioli’s SS19 couture show. “I sent her a video before I even stepped out of the building, and I could hear her excitement and pride. Booking my first Vogue Arabia cover (October 2019, in Peter Lindbergh’s last editorial fashion shoot) was such a big deal because she loves the magazine, and I was thrilled for her to see it in print.”
Jacket, skirt, tights, boots, Alexandre Vauthier Haute Couture; gloves, Causse; helmet, Heather Huey; earrings, Alexis Bittar. Photo: Luigi and Iango
Sharing her second cover with little sister Hani was a full-circle moment. “What is so rewarding is finally being able to take my family into what I do, instead of sharing the outcome with them,” Abdi explains. “Very few people get to experience working on a project like this and having Hani on set with me was amazing. Watching her have so much fun reminds me of how I felt when I first started. When I looked over at her while she was shooting her singles, I was in awe. She was serving face! I had to pull her aside and tell her how proud I was.”
Hani (left) and Ugbad wear jackets, dresses, baseball caps, gloves, shoes, Marc Jacobs
Though they’d discussed posing together in the past, Abdi never envisioned their first collaboration would result in a Vogue cover. “We’ve been talking about it forever. I’ve always wanted to do an editorial with my family,” says Abdi. “Of course, neither of us could have predicted it would happen so soon. “Hani is only 18 and just stepping into this world. This is her first shoot, so I wanted the experience to be as comfortable as possible.” Accomplishing that meant giving her little sister a crash course in modeling basics. To outsiders, posing for a portrait might seem intuitive, but after years of working with photographers and stylists, Abdi understands how much preparation goes into each image. “I gave her a little pep talk, especially about heels,” says Abdi. “Shoes are part of the learning process. There are still times when I still struggle with them, but she adapted so quickly. The moment she got in front of the camera, she had it down.”
Bodysuit (worn throughout), Balenciaga; bathing suit, skirt, earrings, bracelets, bag, Chanel; headpiece, JR Malpere; gloves, stylist’s own. Photo: Luigi and Iango
Stilettos aside, Abdi’s highlight was seeing Hani interact with photographers Luigi Murenu and Iango Henzi, whose work she’d long admired. “She loves to take pictures and capture special moments, so I understood how much connecting with Luigi and Iango would mean to her,” says Abdi. “On set, they’d discuss the cameras they use and their techniques, how to set up a shot or retouch an image. She loved every minute, and it allowed me to see her exploring one of her passions.”
Dress, gloves, neck scarf, necklace, Marc Jacobs; earrings, cuffs, bangles, Alexis Bittar
At present, Abdi’s own goals center on advocating for her community. Her roots have informed her career trajectory, and as one of fashion’s most prominent hijabi models, Abdi’s influence extends beyond the catwalk. Keenly aware of how her presence in the industry reflects broader social change, she wants to be a force for good. “It’s about challenging perceptions about what a Muslim woman can and can’t do,” she says. “I don’t take for granted how difficult that can be, but we all have a voice and opinions. I’m lucky enough to also have this platform. When I get messages from women saying that they feel represented by me or that for the first time they see someone who looks like them in a magazine or runway show, it’s so meaningful. “For me, that’s what makes the work worthwhile.”
Dress, leggings, shoes, Fendi Haute Couture; helmet, Heather Huey. Photo: Luigi and Iango
Fittingly, their images of two confident, elegant women in hijab speak volumes. Though the shoot went off without a hitch, Abdi and her sister haven’t told their family about the big moment. With the issue centered on family and releasing during Ramadan, the pair decided it would be best to wait to share the good news. “The holidays are so special for us. We’re a big family, and it’s a time when we all come together and take a moment to appreciate each other, which has been so important during the pandemic,” says Abdi. “This means so much, and we wanted to wait until Ramadan so that we could share it with everyone.”
Keeping the secret under wraps required some sleight of hand. “My mom and I talk almost every day, and sometimes I just want to blurt it out,” says Abdi. “Seeing her reaction in person will be worth the wait. I know she will be so excited once we present her with the hard copy. This was a moment I’m going to cherish for the rest of my life and to be able to see her experience it for the first time surrounded by our entire family makes it even more meaningful.”
Dress, gloves, neck scarf, necklace, Marc Jacobs; shoes, Alaïa; earrings, cuffs, bangles, Alexis Bittar
Read Next: How Modest Fashion is Evolving and Being Embraced By Women All Around the World
Originally published in the April 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia
Style: Gaultier Desandre NavarreSittings editor: Michael PhilouzeHair: Sasha Nesterchuk using KérastaseMakeup: Sil BruinsmaLighting director: Dean DodosStyle assistant: Liv EklundStudio manager: Kristian Thomassen

Hijabi Model Ugbad Abdi and Sister Hani Star on Our Ramadan Issue Celebrating Family and Modest Fashion

Hijabi Model Ugbad Abdi and Sister Hani Star on Our Ramadan Issue Celebrating Family and Modest Fashion

Ugbad Abdi. Vogue Arabia, April 2022. Photo: Luigi and Iango
Star photographers Luigi and Iango bring into focus a richly colored cover story starring Ugbad Abdi and her younger sister Hani. Abdi is the world’s leading hijabi supermodel, born in Somalia and raised in a Kenyan refugee camp after fleeing her country’s civil war, and in Des Moines, Iowa. She has walked and opened shows for Marc Jacobs and Michael Kors along with Fendi, Chanel, Burberry, Dries Van Noten, and Valentino Haute Couture, always in her hijab.
This month, returning to our cover in her first appearance after the October 2019 issue, Abdi highlights the importance of family during Ramadan. Speaking to Janelle Okwodu, Abdi, who was scouted on Instagram a few years ago, shares, “My mother saw how happy fashion made me and that having a career where I get to experience different cultures and continuously learn was so important to me.” The hijabi supermodel didn’t initially think fashion was for her, recalling, “Modeling was jarring because I didn’t grow up looking like people in the spotlight.”
Her Highness Sana Al Maktoum. Vogue Arabia, April 2022. Photo: Luigi and Iango
Coming from one of the leading families in the GCC, passionate designer and philanthropist Her Highness Sana Al Maktoum reveals her new collection of high jewelry in this issue, along with highlighting the numerous causes she supports, like the opening of Fakeeh University Hospital’s new breast clinic. The young royal speaks about her family, sharing, “The butterfly motif in my jewelry is a tribute to my grandmother, as she is my greatest inspiration and my muse. My grandmother was one of the first educated Emirati businesswomen and I’m often told by family members that I have her spirit guiding me always. She was the leading light for the empowerment of Emirati women here and I hope to carry the torch.”
Meanwhile, the undeniable shift of modest fashion penetrating the west is explored by journalist Hafsa Lodi, who decodes the motivations driving women across the globe to design, deconstruct, and dress in modest fashion today. “Hijabi models are no longer novelties, and most fashion is no longer limited to annual Ramadan capsules – or to Muslim consumers for that matter,” she writes.
On the topic of fashion, we explore another shift taken as of late by fashion houses, notably a price surge in luxury goods. “The bag regains the function of rarity, at a time of image saturation and dematerialized experiences, offering a return to the material, the tangible, reminding us of a time when luxury wasn’t industrialized and mass-produced,” comments Manon Renault, fashion critic and lecturer in cultural studies at Paris’s Sorbonne university.
Leïla Slimani
Continuing the theme of family, Vogue Arabia speaks with Morocco-born Prix Goncourt winner Leïla Slimani about her latest novel, Regardez-nous danser, the second in a planned trilogy. The writer – who also serves as emissary for French President Emmanuel Macron – considers her trilogy a tribute to the Moroccan women in her family. “To the birds who managed to fly in a sea of ants,” she says, adding, “They worked and they took care of the education of the children. They laughed, and they continued to organize parties and to live. So I think that it’s a real homage to the fact that even in a very patriarchal society, even in a society where it’s so difficult to be free, maybe – and it’s a paradox – women were freer than men in my family.”
Stéphane Rolland and Nieves Álvarez. Vogue Arabia, April 2022. Photo: Luigi and Iango
Celebrating 15 years of his haute couture house, Stéphane Rolland returns to the runway with his eternal muse, Spanish supermodel Nieves Álvarez, by his side. Both are photographed and interviewed in this month’s designer feature. Rolland, the favored international couturier of the Arab world, comments, “My Middle Eastern clients understand perfectly how to interpret couture.” Notably, in 2021, Rolland designed the wedding dress of HRH Princess Hussa bint Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, the only daughter of the ruler of Saudi Arabia. Her dream was to wear a gown that paid tribute to her country and its culture. “Together, we decided to create a contemporary gown by reinterpreting the bisht,” recalls Rolland of the standout career moment.
All this and more in the April 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia, on stands April 1.
Read Next: 13 of the Best Ramadan 2022 Capsule Collections for Iftar and Suhoor Gatherings

8 Rising Arab Models From Our Anniversary Issue Who Need to Be on Your Radar

8 Rising Arab Models From Our Anniversary Issue Who Need to Be on Your Radar

Vogue Arabia, March 2022. Photo: Bruno+Nico
The March 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia is an extra special one for many reasons. In commemorating our 5th anniversary, the magazine has also brought along both, rising and well-known talents from around the region for the celebration. And so, recognizing that models are a significant part of a fashion publication, Vogue Arabia’s anniversary edition serves as a platform for some of the newest Arab faces in the industry. The list includes models who have previously been featured in our issues, a couple who have fronted the cover, as well as a few making their Vogue Arabia debut.

From Morocco to Syria, these are the Arab models to have on your radar. Scroll to see them in action in our March 2022 issue.
Amira Al Zuhair, Saudi Arabia
Modeling Chaumet tiaras in this partnered shoot, the Saudi model was photographed in Diriyah dressed in dreamy gowns and abayas. Al Zuhair has previously starred on the December 2020 cover of Vogue Arabia.
Vogue Arabia, March 2022. Photo: Philipp Jelenska
Vogue Arabia, March 2022. Photo: Philipp Jelenska
Aouatif, Hanane, and Jasmine, Morocco. Valentine, Algeria-Iran
Vogue Arabia, March 2022. Photo: Alice Rosati
Vogue Arabia, March 2022. Photo: Alice Rosati
Emerging new models from Morocco, Algeria, and Iran, came together in this playful shoot which showcases key pieces from the Spring/Summer 2022 collection with monochromatic strokes and splashes of pastel. Aouatif has previously starred on the October 2021 cover of Vogue Arabia.
Lana Al Beik, Palestine-Syria
A familiar face in Vogue Arabia, the Palestinian-Syrian talent models the creations of a new generation of Arab designers that are working to bring fashion and sustainability together.
Vogue Arabia, March 2022. Photo: Francesco Scotti
Vogue Arabia, March 2022. Photo: Francesco Scotti
Nala Osman, Somalia
Making her Vogue debut this month, the hijab-wearing Somali model poses in pieces doubled up on texture, structure, and volume in a subversive twist on next-level layering.
Vogue Arabia, March 2022. Photo: Bruno+Nico
Vogue Arabia, March 2022. Photo: Bruno+Nico
Rawdah Mohamed, Somalia
Another known figure to often feature in Vogue Arabia, the Oslo-based Somali model showcases a creative spin on modest dressing with a bold combination of color, print, and texture. The hijabi model has previously starred on the October 2021 cover of Vogue Arabia.
Vogue Arabia, March 2022. Photo: Amina Zaher
Vogue Arabia, March 2022. Photo: Amina Zaher
Read Next: Editor’s Letter: Our 5th Anniversary and Biggest-Ever Issue is a Heartfelt Tribute to the Readers

5 Things To Know About Valentino’s Hot Pink FW22 Show

5 Things To Know About Valentino’s Hot Pink FW22 Show

Pierpaolo Piccioli unveiled a fall/winter 2022 Valentino collection at Paris Fashion Week that was entirely pink and black, and designed to encourage a “moment of reflection”. Vogue’s fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen reports.

The show was all pink and black
Photo: Courtesy of Valentino
This season’s Valentino collection was entirely pink and black. “I was fascinated by the idea of having this moment of reflection and digging deeper,” Pierpaolo Piccioli said during a preview. Presented in a huge space painted to match the exact pink of the collection, his idea was to intensify the senses and make us look at the details of each garment – the silhouette, the neckline, the surface decoration – rather than focusing on “looks”. Ultimately, he said, he wanted the character of each model to stand out, rather than what their appearance represented.
The effect was meant to increase ways of seeing
Photo: Courtesy of Valentino
“I wanted a moment of reflection: to think about what’s going on,” Piccioli said. “I was reading a book about Fontana [the Italian artist and Spatialist], who used to cut up his work – not in order to destroy it but to build new opportunities; new dimensions,” the designer went on. “You know when you see a book of black and white portraits, after two or three pages you know it’s a black and white portrait book, so you don’t expect to see blonde hair and blue eyes? You go deeper into expressions: wrinkles… I wanted to get that feeling.” Once the eye adjusted to all that pink, the effect did work. You noticed the details of garments, and looked at the models’ faces.
Piccioli focused on necklines to frame personalities
Photo: Courtesy of Valentino
For Piccioli, whose work always revolves around the celebration of individuality and diversity, the monochromatism – which is, in essence, uniformity – was meant to draw the observer’s attention to the individual wearing the clothes. To underscore that point, he focused on necklines – what he called “Madonna meets the street” referring to the way the Holy Mother’s face was framed by Renaissance artists – and placed them on a cast including Penelope Tree and Kristen McMenamy. “You go deeper into the faces: who they are, and not what they represent,” he said. “When you see only pink, you get them.”
The collection elevated and expanded everyday codes
Photo: Courtesy of Valentino
Scored with different versions of Yazoo’s “Only You” – a nod to Piccioli’s individuality-highlighting premise – the collection continued his couture-ification of everyday codes, adapted for ready-to-wear. A t-shirt elongated into a draped minidress, a sporty jumpsuit morphed into a formalwear silhouette, and a generational cargo suit was imbued with a glamorous hourglass shape. Menswear dealt in the very oversized, from giant suits to puffer coats and highly embellished transparent evening tops, all of which will be sold in stores in just pink and black, the way it was presented, Piccioli vowed.
“Pink PP” will be a Pantone color 
Photo: Courtesy of Valentino
Piccioli’s particular shade of pink will be added to Pantone’s official color scale under the name of “Pink PP” – a counterpart, perhaps, to Valentino Garavani’s “Valentino Red”, although he said it wasn’t meant to rival the house’s trademark color. And while he never wears pink himself, Piccoli explained it’s an ongoing fascination. “I always want pink in my collections. It’s a color I feel you can subvert better, because it already has a lot of meaning. It changed during the centuries: it was the color of the power of men, then it became girlish… I like to subvert the idea. Today, it means different things.”
Read Next: Demna Sends a Heartfelt Message to Ukraine at the Balenciaga FW22 Show
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk

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