From Azzedine Alaïa’s London retrospective to the grand opening of Zaha Hadid Architects’ first foray into Dubai, here are the 15 things inked into our diaries with anticipation…
1. Saudi Arabia Makes Major Changes
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is welcoming in 2018 with a number of boundary-breaking economic changes commissioned by HRH Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman under Saudi Vision 2030 that are set to make the conservative Gulf country one to watch. Shortly after lifting the longstanding ban on female drivers—women will be able to get behind the wheel in June 2018—the Kingdom announced that it will be re-opening public cinemas across the country for the first time in 35 years. The public cinemas are set to open as early as March. Additionally, Saudi Arabia will be issuing tourist visas and announced plans to build a semi-autonomous Red Sea destination where modest dress codes need not apply as well as a futuristic, US $500 billion mega-city. Judging by these economic reforms, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is certainly a place to be this 2018.
2. A Royal Wedding
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle officially have a wedding date. The couple, who got engaged in December, will marry on May 19, 2018 at the St. George’s Chapel at Windsor Castle, Queen Elizabeth’s countryside estate. Unlike Prince William and Duchess Catherine Middleton’s nuptials, the newly-engaged couple’s wedding will not be a bank holiday throughout the United Kingdom, as it takes place on a Saturday (the former’s was on a Friday). Place your bets as to which designer Markle will plum for on the big day.
3. …And a Royal Baby
In more royal news, Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are expecting their third child in April. The new bundle of joy will be a sibling to Prince George, 4, and Princess Charlotte, 2. In an official statement, the Kensington Palace revealed that Middleton is once again suffering from hyperemesis gravidarum—a severe case of morning sickness— which she experienced while pregnant with Prince George, limiting her public appearances and official engagements. Close sources also report that the Duchess is keen on a home birth for her third child, following the footsteps of Queen Elizabeth, who had her sons Charles, Andrew, and Edward at Buckingham Palace, and her daughter, Anne, at Clarence House.
4. Azzedine Alaïa Exhibition at the London Design Museum
London’s newly-renovated Design Museum will be honoring the late Tunisian couturier Azzedine Alaïa with a six-month-long exhibition. Titled Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier, the retrospective was co-curated by the designer himself before passing away in Paris in November. The exhibition is due to open its doors in May 2018, and will feature over 60 pieces of Alaïa’s work from the past 35 years, handpicked by the designer himself.
5. Beyoncê Headlines Coachella
Last year, Coachella announced that Beyoncê would be headlining the 2018 Coachella, after she pulled out of the 2017 music festival when she fell pregnant with twins. Now, Queen B fans can rejoice as its been confirmed that the multi-Grammy winning superstar will be headlining the two-day event for real this time, along with Eminem and the Weeknd. Prepare yourself for some spotlight-stealing dance moves and show-stopping stage costumes.
6. The World’s Tallest Hotel to Open in Dubai
The World’s tallest building, picture frame, and now hotel, will all be situated in the heart of the United Arab Emirates. Dubai will become home to the new tallest hotel in the coming weeks as the Gevora prepares to open its doors. The property, which is situated in the Trade Centre area on Sheikh Zayed Road, is set to feature over 500 rooms spread over its 71 floors, four dining options, a health club, and a luxury spa on the topmost floor.
7. Award Season
With a new year comes a lineup of award shows almost every week from the beginning of January to the middle of March. Kicking off this year’s award season is the 75th edition of the Golden Globes this Monday (5:00 am UAE time), which will be hosted by comedian Seth Meyers. Other award shows to look forward to include the 23rd Critics Choice Movie Awards (January 11), 60th Grammy Awards (January 28), 71st British Academy Film Awards (February 8), and the 90th Academy Awards (March 4). Stay tuned for Vogue Arabia’s red carpet coverage and highlights.
8. The 2018 Fifa World Cup Returns
The 2018 Fifa World Cup will be taking place in Russia this year. This year, the world’s most-watched sporting event, which occurs every four years, sees four Arab teams make the World Cup for the first time: Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, and Morocco secured their places in the competition, which will be held in June and July 2018. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was the first Arab team to qualify for the international tournament, for the first time since 2006. It was followed by the Egyptian national team, who will be participating in the sporting event for the first time in 28 years and the third time in its history. The North African countries of Morocco and Tunisia have secured their spots in the World Cup after their respective games with Ivory Coast and Libya.
9. The All-Female Remake of Oceans 8 is Hitting Screens, and Other Must-See Films
The trailer of the hotly-anticipated heist movie Ocean’s 8 arrived last month, confirming speculations that the film will be epic. Featuring an all-female cast, including Sandra Bullock, Cate Blanchett, and Rihanna all star alongside Anne Hathaway, Mindy Kaling, Sarah Paulson, Awkwafina, and Helena Bonham Carter, the remake follows the crew as they attempt to swipe a $150 million Cartier necklace from the Costume Institute’s annual Met Gala. The film, which premieres in June, is only one of the highly-anticipated movies of 2018. The list includes Black Panther starring Chadwick Boseman and Lupita Nyong’o, Tomb Raider with Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, the star-studded The Avengers, and the long-awaited sequel of animated superhero film The Incredibles, The Incredibles 2.
10. The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story Premieres
2018 is an exciting year for television lovers, too. Director Ryan Murphy’s follow up to the O.J Simpson murder trial, The Assassination of Gianni Versace: American Crime Story is set to make its television premiere on January 17. The show tells the story of the real-life murder of designer Gianni Versace, who was killed on the steps of his home in Miami Beach by serial murderer Andrew Cunanan. The second season of Murphy’s critically-acclaimed anthology series will feature Penelope Cruz as Donatella Versace, Edgar Ramirez will play Gianni Versace, and Darren Criss will portray Cunanan.
11. Zaha Hadid’s Opus to Open in Dubai
The Opus by Zaha Hadid is the first foray into Dubai by the world-famous architect Dame Zaha Hadid. Set to open its doors on January 15, the futuristic design will be situated in the Burj Khalifa district. Part residential, and part boutique hotel, the Opus has been in the making since 2012. Featuring two glass towers connected by a podium, the design is meant to appear as though it’s floating off the ground. However, it won’t be Hadid’s first foray into the United Arab Emirates. Other notable works of hers include Abu Dhabi’s Sheikh Zayed Bridge.
12. Salvadore Dali’s Work Will be on View for the First Time in the Middle East
Salvador Dali’s work will be on display in Dubai from from February 11 to April 22 at the Conference Hall, Dubai International Financial Centre. It will be the first time that the Spanish surrealists’ work is available for viewing in the Middle East. Titled Salvador Dalí: The Memories, the exhibit, which is guest curated by Nicolas Descharnes, will feature 60 images that honor the memory of Dalí. Read more here.
13. Vogue Arabia Turns One
This upcoming March will mark the one year anniversary of the print edition of Vogue Arabia. The 22nd edition of Vogue, the print magazine launched with Palestinian-American model Gigi Hadid on the cover, which was photographed by Inez and Vinoodh and styled by Brandon Maxwell. The magazine went on to feature a diverse line-up of cover stars in the succeeding months including Imaan Hammam, Pooja Mor, Halima Aden, Jourdan Dunn, Bella Hadid, Hanaa Ben Abdesslem, Kenza Fourati, Farida Khelfa, Afef Jnifen, Rihanna, Nora Attal, and Nancy Ajram (Vogue Arabia topped the Fashion Spot’s annual list of most inclusive magazines of 2017). We look forward to more cover stars and local talents to discover in 2018.
14. The Met Gala Hosted by Amal Clooney, Rihanna, and Donatella Versace
The 2018 Costume Institute’s annual Met Gala will be co-hosted by a trio of powerful women: Amal Clooney, Donatella Versace, and Rihanna who are taking the batons from Katy Perry, Pharrell Williams, Gisele Bündchen, and Tom Brady who co-hosted the event last year. The Met Gala will be held on May 7 at the Museum of Metropolitan Art in New York City with the theme of “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination.”
15. “The Year of Zayed”
2016 was the Year of Reading, 2017 was the Year of Giving, and now 2018 has been declared as The Year of Zayed in the UAE. The reason? 2018 marks 100 years since the birth of the founding father of the Emirates, Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nayhan. Abu Dhabi’s Crown Prince, H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan said in a statement “The UAE’s image is founded on a core belief system of tolerance and coexistence. His Highness adds, “The best way to celebrate the Year of Zayed would be by spreading Zayed’s glorious human and cultural legacy via all the people of the UAE, to continue his inspirational and noble values, and introduce these ideals to new generations.” Expect many initiatives, events, and awards across the UAE that promote tolerance, progression, and charity.
Lead Image: Photographed by Mann for Vogue Arabia’s December issue 2017