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Happy Birthday Vogue Arabia: Here’s Our Greatest Milestones

Jacket, Beige; Shirt, stylist's own; pants, Blugirl; Hat, Elisabetta Franchi; Ring, Jordan. Photographed by Boo George for Vogue Arabia's June 2018 issue.

HRH Princess Hayfa Bint Abdullah Al Saud. Photographed by Boo George for Vogue Arabia’s June 2018 issue.

On March 2017, Vogue Arabia finally launched its very first print edition (the brand first launched digitally in October 2016), with American-Palestinian model Gigi Hadid, shot by Inez and Vinoodh, on the cover. Within just three years, the 22nd edition of Vogue, which is a partnership between Condé Nast and Nervora, has become a unique cultural barometer for a Middle Eastern audience; offering content that is is thought-provoking, relevant and always influential. To date, it is estimated that, across all platforms, more than 250 million people have been exposed to Vogue Arabia content.

Gigi Hadid

Gigi Hadid photographed by Inez and Vinoodh for the Vogue Arabia March 2017 issue cover

“In just three years we’ve had some incredible high moments that make me proud of the work that the team and I crafted,” explains Editor-in-Chief Manuel Arnaut. “Besides providing an accurate representation of the style of Arab women, we’ve offered a window into their accomplishments and talents – a positive message I consider so important in a region where women’s roles are constantly being reinvented and challenged, and where women are so many times misrepresented. We also tackled topics that many considered taboo – from domestic violence and honor killings to mental health – always with access to the world’s leading opinion leaders and celebrities. And let’s not forget our serious commitment towards supporting Arab designers, as they are the foundation of the region’s fashion ecosystem. I truly hope that as a reader you feel represented and fulfilled as you enjoy the content we share in the print editions and on our online platforms.”

There have been many milestones celebrated at Vogue Arabia, from world exclusives to groundbreaking campaigns, but here are some of the biggest highlights…


The First September Cover  

Bella Hadid photographed by Karl Lagerfeld

Bella Hadid photographed by Karl Lagerfeld for the September 2017 issue of Vogue Arabia

In a world-exclusive collaboration, the legendary designer and photographer Karl Lagerfeld photographed Bella Hadid for Vogue Arabia’s first September issue, in 2017. Hadid referred to her roots in her exclusive interview: “[Doing the cover story allowed me to] represent and cherish my half-Palestinian blood from my father and his strong, loving, wonderful Arab side of my family. This cover is in honor of my teta Khair Hadid, my family, and my Arab/ Muslim friends out there.”

The First Hijabi Cover Star

Halima Aden

Halima Aden for the June issue of Vogue Arabia. Photographed by Greg Kadel and styled by Paul Cavaco

In another world exclusive Vogue Arabia featured hijabi model Halima Aden on the cover of the June 2017 Ramadan issue. It was the start of a strong relationship and bond with the model, who also helped the brand make history, in April 2019, when she graced the cover with fellow hijabi models Ikram Abdi Omar, and Amina Adan – it was the first-ever group hijabi cover for Vogue.

Halima Aden

Halima (back) Wears Top, Dior Couture; Ikram (front left) Wears Dress, Givenchy; Amina (front right) Wears Top, Jumpsuit, Dior Couture. Photographed by Txema Yeste for Vogue Arabia April 2019.

The First Anniversary Cover

Imaan Hamaam and Iman on the March 2018 anniversary cover. Shot by Patrick Demarchelier

Imaan Hamaam and Iman on the March 2018 anniversary cover. Shot by Patrick Demarchelier

Supermodels Imaan Hammam and Iman were the cover stars for the March 2018 first anniversary issue of Vogue Arabia. The duo were shot together in New Year by Patrick Demarchelier. Arnaut said at the time, “Finding the right model or celebrity that effortlessly combines an idea of beauty and style, while also capturing the spirit of the times, is an exercise that occupies my mind for the better part of the month. I truly believe that a cover should also encapsulate a message of hope and go above and beyond just a pretty image. This is exactly what we tried to achieve when we invited two of the biggest models with strong ties to the Arab world to be our March cover stars.”

The Size-Inclusive Issue

Ashley Graham and Paloma july august vogue arabia

Ashley Graham and Paloma Elsesser. Photographed Miguel Reveriego by for Vogue Arabia, July/August 2018

During July/August 2018– a time when people are always more body-conscious and many magazines are promoting fad diets and ways to stay thin – Vogue Arabia featured two size-inclusive models – Ashley Graham and Paloma – on the cover, championing diversity in fashion and proving Vogue Arabia represents all women.

The Saudi Issue

VOGUE ARABIA JUNE ENglish cover HRH Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud

HRH Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud, photographed by Boo George for Vogue Arabia’s June 2018 issue

Ahead of June 24, 2018, when women in Saudi were granted the right to drive, Vogue Arabia was the first publication to discuss the groundbreaking reform and how it affected the lives of Saudi women. Putting HRH Princess Hayfa Bint Abdullah Al Saud on the cover and interviewing phenomenal women in the region who are challenging stereotypes was a major step forward in helping give the women a voice.

The Kardashian Issue

Kim Kardashian, Kanye West, Thierry Mugler, September issue, Vogue Arabia

Kim Kardashian wearing Thierry Mulger archive on the September 2019 cover of Vogue Arabia. Manfred Thierry Mugler art directed the shoot, while husband Kanye West interviewed the star

The September 2019 issue, Vogue Arabia invited fans into the surreal world of Kim Kardashian West, with the entrepreneur and reality TV queen starring in her first-ever cover story for the magazine. The shoot, shot by photographer Txema Yeste, was accompanied by a refreshingly honest interview by her husband, rapper and designer Kanye West. In a world-exclusive production, the supercharged, superstar cover featured iconic designer Manfred Thierry Mugler leading the art direction, styling fashion’s most controversial star in vintage archive pieces as well as two FW19 looks.

The Peter Lindberg

Ugbad Abdi photographed by Peter Lindbergh for Vogue Arabia, October 2019.

Ugbad Abdi photographed by Peter Lindbergh in the streets of New York for Vogue Arabia, October 2019

The October 2019 issue was a special edition collector’s issue paying homage to the late photographer Peter Lindbergh, who shot the cover story with modest model Ugbad Abdi, in what would later become one of his last shoots ever. The cover was the second shot by Lindbergh for Vogue Arabia. His first, also shot in New York, starred Gigi Hadid as the muse.  “Peter was warm, friendly, and always eager to cooperate,” remembers Arnaut of the project.

The Vogue Values Issue

january 2020 cover, Meryem Tilila Oulhaj, vogue values

Meryem Tilila Oulhaj wearing carpet piece, shirt, Karim Adduchi. Photo by Elizaveta Porodina

In January 2020 Vogue Arabia embarked on a new mission to focus on sustainability and inclusivity as part of the Vogue Values campaign, which is a long-term commitment standing for the values of diversity, responsibility, and respect for individuals, communities, and our natural environment. The issue also saw the appointment of Vogue Arabia’s new sustainability editor, Livia Firth.

The Pop Arabia Issue

VOGUE ARABIA COVER MARCH 2020 Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi. Photography: Hassan Hajjaj

Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi wears jumper, her own; dress, socks, shoes, Andy Wahloo Super-Lux; pants, Rochas; glasses, Andy Wahloo Super-Lux X Poppy Lissiman; earrings, rings, Sohail Abdullah. Photography Hassan Hajjaj

The third anniversary issue saw Sheikha Hoor Al Qasimi, Assala Nasri, and Yousra chosen to be the A-list cover stars shot by Moroccan Photographer Hassan Hajjaj in his colorful riad in Marrakech.

Thought-Provoking Content

Ilhan Omar

Ilhan Omar photographed by Stacy Zarin Goldberg for Vogue Arabia April 2019

When Donald Trump told four congresswomen to go “back home”, we interviewed politician Ilhan Omar to give her an opportunity to have her side of the story heard.


Photography: Nina Wessel

In a heartfelt letter, Palestinian activist Ahed Tamimi told the story of her arrest and eight months in an Israeli prison – and the struggles she faced as a symbol of resistance.

 Sheikha Lulu M. Al Sabah abolish 153

From left: Sheikha Al Nafisi; Dr Alanoud Alsharekh; Amire Behbehani; Sundus Hamza; Lulu M Al Sabah

“We need to change the notion that a woman is a man’s property. We need to disassociate the idea that there is any honor in murder. The shame is on the murderer himself, not on the woman,” says Sheikha Lulu M. Al Sabah in an exclusive interview in Vogue Arabia’s July/August 2017 issue. The outspoken Kuwaiti co-directs Abolish 153, a campaign launched in 2014 that advocates for the dissolution of legislation that seemingly excuses honor killings, rape, and domestic violence in Kuwait. The campaign’s other founding members are Dr Alanoud Alsharekh, Sheikha Al Nafisi, Amira Behbehani, and Sundus Hamza, while Nawar Al Barak and Shoroq Burhamah.

Manal Al-Sharif, celebrating the Crown Prince's reforms.

Manal Al-Sharif, celebrating the Crown Prince’s reforms.

After the women’s driving ban was lifted in the Kingdom, Vogue Arabia spoke to Manal Al-Sharif who has campaigned endlessly to get full citizenship for Saudi women, even getting arrested along the way.

During the Cairo Film Festival, Vogue Arabia teamed up with some of the biggest stars in the industry to shine a spotlight on gender quality.

Again, utilizing its access to star power, Vogue Arabia also teamed up the brightest stars in the film and fashion industry to promote the message to #buyarabdesigners. “Supporting Arab designers is at the core of everything we do. With this campaign and video – where we combined the talents of leading Arab stars, regional designers, and influencers – we are aiming to amplify this message, inviting our audience to invest in Arab fashion. From modest to streetwear, from red carpet to casual, local fashion is vibrant, in great health, and should be supported by all,” remarks Vogue Arabia Editor-in-Chief Manuel Arnaut.

Major Events

Vogue Loves Fashion Avenue  

Well-heeled A-listers and industry insiders flocked to Zeta at the Address Downtown to fete the Dubai Mall‘s 10th anniversary. As the clock struck 11.30pm, the Burj Khalifa came alive with a spectacular, fashion-filled projection that had everyone pull out their phones to capture the dazzling two-minute show. The projection was part of Vogue Loves Fashion Avenue, a 10-day calendar of events from talks (including Naomi Campbell) to live performances (including Nancy Ajram), as well as interactive installations, and masterclasses, designed to celebrate The Dubai Mall’s 10th birthday.


Naomi Campbell got emotional during her talk at Vogue Loves Fashion Avenue. Image courtesy of Hyku D Photography

Ball of Arabia 

ball of arbaia ciara

Ciara entertains at the Ball of Arabia

On December 7, 2018, Vogue Arabia hosted the inaugural Ball of Arabia. The charitable gala, launched in partnership with Tiffany & Co., included a silent auction alongside an intimate performance from award-winning singer Ciara and a lavish dinner. The evening, sponsored by Sobha Realty, Rolls-Royce, and Jumeirah Group,  raised funds towards the non-profit’s Girls Education and Empowerment Program in the MENA region.

Team Vogue Arabia at the first ever Ball of Arabia

Team Vogue Arabia at the first-ever Ball of Arabia

Misk Global Forum 

(Left to right) Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut, Jollychic vice president Dennis Du, and Renad Hafi, founder and designer of Royaled by RH at the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh November 13. Photo: Misk

In the last quarter of 2019, team Vogue Arabia headed to the Misk Global Forum in Riyadh Saudi Arabia where they discussed branding, the story of Vogue and hosted a private lunch for the key movers and shakers in the region.

Vogue Arabia Team at Misk Global Forum

Fashion Director Katie Trotter, Managing Editor Alexandria Gouveia and Commercial Director Rana Hatem at Misk

WILL Initiative 

The inaugural WILL Summit launched in November 20189 in Abu Dhabi. The aim of the annual conference is to drive awareness of gender equality and promote women’s empowerment in the MENA region. The conference highlighted exceptional success stories through talks and panel discussions, featuring some of the most influential individuals shaping the global agenda for women.

Manuel Arnaut and HE Noura Bint Mohammed Al Kabbi

Manuel Arnaut and HE Noura Bint Mohammed Al Kabbi at the inaugural WILL Summit. Photo: Hyku Photography


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