The September issue of Vogue Arabia – traditionally the most anticipated and biggest of the year – is celebrating a serendipitous milestone. Marking the significant moment of our 50th issue in a year that also celebrates 50 years of the UAE is a cover like no other. HH Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of the Dubai Culture & Arts Authority, and daughter of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, against the backdrop of dawn in Dubai, stands as a powerful symbol of hope, purpose, and the beating heart of the UAE’s creative ecosystem.
The exclusive and historical shoot is Her Highness’s first ever cover shoot. HH Sheikha Latifa, was photographed by Paola Kudacki in Al Shindagha Historical Neighborhood, an area by Dubai Creek that holds significant importance and memories for Her Highness and her family, as it is deeply linked to the history of Dubai.
In the interview with editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut, HH Sheikha Latifa shares her plans and vision for Dubai and the post-Covid recovery of the cultural and creative sector, while also talking about the misconceptions around the role of Arab women in society, and what it’s like to be one of the few women in the Al Maktoum family with a public role. “Ensuring the happiness of the people of Dubai through culture and creativity and paving the way for people to create and share their own success stories is a passion I work towards – not a role or a job I do. My greatest wish is to share Dubai’s heritage, culture, and story with the world in the same way residents and visitors share theirs with us,” Her Highness says.
After their encounter, Arnaut concludes, “September marks our 50th edition, and in the year that the UAE turns half a century, which gives the issue a different gravitas. Photographing HH Sheikha Latifa in Al Shindagha, where the story of modern Dubai started, and listening to her stories of the past and her vision for the future was an absolute privilege, resulting in a feature that will always be a highlight of Vogue Arabia’s history.”
In a time of global upheaval and change, Vogue Arabia is at the forefront of championing and amplifying female voices. In a moving first-person account, Afghan director and journalist Nelofer Pazira shares her story of growing up in Kabul and fleeing Afghanistan with her family – and how her charity, Dyana Afghan Women’s Fund, is helping women today.
The September issue also celebrates and honors the many creatives, designers, and artists impacted by instability and tragedy in the region – including Hind Hilal, Noora Khalifeh, Suzy Tamini, and Shukri Lawrence and Omar Braika, Palestinian fashion designers creating contemporary collections that honor their roots, as well as preserving the DNA of their heritage. In another inspiring feature, Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad reflects on the Beirut Blast and the still ongoing effects on his country, refusing to focus on the negative and instead reaching for hope. Murad, who just returned to the calendar of Paris Couture Week, may have lost everything in the blast, but, as he shares in the poignant interview, “I do my best to collect parts of my past life by recreating that positive and reassuring aura that I was working in before, but the task is not easy at all.”
Also in this 400-plus-page magazine – Vogue Arabia’s biggest one to date – Balenciaga creative director Demna Gvasalia talks about the heritage house’s return to couture after 53 years. “Fashion has been completely cannibalized by this digital mayhem that goes on in our phones,” Gvasalia says. “It’s very dangerous because in 20 years, Gen Z, or whoever drives most of the fashion luxury brands, is not going to know anything about a tailored jacket or real dressmaking.”
New beginnings in fashion are also celebrated with a body positive challenge from Dubai-based designer Dima Ayad, who reached out to her regional fashion contemporaries to create clothes for women of all sizes. Reemami, Lama Jouni, and Mrs Keepa answered the call with original pieces that challenge conventions, opening the conversation for further inclusivity in the industry.
This being the September 2021 issue, the pages feature timely stories about sustainable fashion and its champions – and how to consciously consume style that lasts – as well as beauty and jewelry news, and exquisite shoots with the region’s biggest talents and rising stars.
This year also marks the opening of Expo 2020 Dubai, and we give a preview of what to expect and what not to miss, including the standalone Women’s Pavilion shining a light on women’s contributions to the world, and the Public Art Program, featuring Kuwaiti artist Monira Al Qadiri.