The excitement was palpable as guests received a traditional Emirati welcome to the Ball of Arabia—one of the region’s highly-anticipated events of the year—on December 12. The gilded Raffles The Palm Dubai served as the perfect setting for the night’s celebration of the UAE’s Golden Jubilee and for all the dazzling gold outfits seen on celebrities, perfectly in line with the ball’s dress code.
Among the exclusive guest list featuring royalty, notable Emiratis, style icons, and VIPs, were the ball’s co-chairs: creative director and top business woman Ingie Chalhoub, beauty moguls Huda and Mona Kattan, actor Mona Zaki, and couturier Zuhair Murad. Both Mona Kattan and Mona Zaki opted to champion their co-chair Murad in glittering numbers from his label, while Huda Kattan made her debut in UAE-based designer Michael Cinco. As for Chalhoub, creative director of Ingie Paris, and Murad, their looks for the night were an easy choice: both wore pieces from their respective labels. Also in attendance were Dorra Zarrouk, Nadine Nassib Njeim, Rym Saidi, Lojain and Aseel Omran, Nargis Fakhri, Rawdah Mohamed, Enjy Kiwan, Karen Wazen, HH Sayyida Basma Al Said, and many more. A select few attendees including Rym Saidi, Mona Zaki, Lojain Omran, and Rawdah Mohamed also arrived in style, in customized cars, courtesy of our partners Audi Middle East.
Guests awaited to head to the ballroom on a bespoke platform in the shape of the UAE, which was patterned in the golden sands the nation is rich with. As hors d’oeuvres were served alongside Mohamed Hadid‘s own Hadid Caviar—which has been dubbed the “world’s most desired”—guests were also treated to traditional Emirati music. The highlight of it all? The UAE’s Guardians of Heritage, supported by the General Women’s Union, spotlighting the age-old Emirati crafts for a gathering of some of the regional and international world’s most renowned. As the final exciting experience just before the dinner, guests had the opportunity to star on their very own Vogue Arabia covers with a little help from our partners Level Shoes’ special photo booth.
It was then time to be seated under the chandelier-lit ballroom, on tables named after former Vogue Arabia cover stars, and decorated in a dream-like setting by The Flower Society founded by Zoya Sakr. Taking the stage as the MC for the evening was Lebanese entrepreneur and humanitarian Jessica Kahawaty, who also previously hosted the inaugural Ball of Arabia in 2018. After a speech by Shashi Menon, Founder & CEO of Nervora and publisher of Vogue Arabia, guests were served a delectable three-course dinner: foie gras mousse terrine with brioche and fig chutney, steak with horseradish pomme purée and baby vegetables, and traditional Italian tiramisu.
The stage was then taken by editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut, who thanked guests for coming, and the team at Vogue Arabia, as well as those who’d worked behind-the-scenes to make the Ball of Arabia a roaring success. “Tonight, we are celebrating the 50th anniversary of the UAE, a celebration we started earlier this with powerful covers in April, September, and December,” said Arnaut. “They featured HH Sheikha Fatima bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nayhan, the granddaughter of HH Sheikh Zayed and HH Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, and most recently, a wonderful edition fully dedicated to the Golden Jubilee, containing a letter penned exclusively for Vogue Arabia by the Mother of the Nation.”
After this, all that was left was the moment guests were waiting for: An enthralling performance by the Caesar of Arabic Song, Kadim Al Sahir. The Iraqi singer and former Vogue Man Arabia cover star had guests moving to his stirring vocals and the rhythm of his hit tracks including ‘Haddithini’, bringing the night to a powerful end.
For an inside look at the Ball of Arabia, scroll through the gallery below: