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Vogue Arabia’s January 2023 Issue Spotlights a Blossoming New Era in the Arab World, and the Women Behind It

Photo: Sam Rawadi

It’s a new year, and we’re stepping into January 2023 still buzzing from all the excitement that lit up the region over the past month. In a mere 31 days, the Arab world topped trending charts again and again — and again, demanding the attention of the whole world. First with Qatar’s gripping World Cup tournament, then with Dior’s historic menswear show at the Pyramids of Giza, and more recently, with Vogue Arabia’s latest issue, which honors some of Arabia’s most iconic women across fashion, films, sports, music, and much more.

This month, the focus is on tennis pro and cover star Ons Jabeur. The Tunisian sportswoman has risen to become a national hero in her home country, a symbol of sporting success not just for the North African nation, but the whole Arab world. Not only is Jabeur the first and only Muslim and Arab player – male or female – to reach a grand slam finals in singles at both 2022 Wimbledon and 2022 US Open, she is also the first Arab woman to reach a major quarterfinal, and the first Tunisian and Arab player to win at the 2022 Madrid Open. Not an easy feat, but the 28-year-old is showing no signs of slowing down. “I know that more kids in Tunisia now believe they could have a professional tennis career. Before, there wasn’t a clear picture of what that looks like,” she shares. “Now there is hope in the young generation. Even just seeing that more people in Tunisia are playing tennis for fun – these are great victories.”

Photo: Sam Rawadi

Jabeur’s journey will also soon feature in a new Netflix show Break Point, a fly-on-the-wall documentary that debuts this month. “You will see all the struggles, and what the players go through,” she hints about the must-watch.

In the pages of the January issue, we also take a look back at the biggest event of our year, the Ball of Arabia, which took place at Dubai’s dreamy Jumeirah Mina A’Salam on December 15. Honoring three divas of Arabia who paved the way for future generations of entertainers – namely Egyptian actor Nabila Ebeed, Tunisian singer Latifa, and Lebanese model and Miss Universe Georgina Rizk – the star-studded celebration was, in true Vogue fashion, an unforgettable evening. From emotional speeches and groundbreaking icons in attendance, to a truly magical musical performance by three-time Grammy nominee and Brit award nominee Leona Lewis, 2022’s edition of the annual soirée outdid itself yet again.

Photo: Sandra Chidiac

Photo: Sandra Chidiac

Photo: Sandra Chidiac

It seems impossible to celebrate the recent successes of the region without looking to the power player that is now stepping into its Golden Age. So this month, we turn our attention to Egypt — a place steeped in history, yet brimming with promise for a dazzling future. Post the recently concluded Art D’Égypte and Dior showcase, the January 2023 issue includes a special zine dedicated to the country and its many wonders.

In it, you will find a love letter to the Land of Pharaohs by Olivier Rousteing, accompanied by a stunning spread featuring Egyptian beauty Salma Abu Deif, photographed by fellow Egyptian talent, Bassam Allam. The dedicated Egypt special also takes you on a visual journey with the late Adam Henein, one of the country’s most prominent sculptors who spent almost a decade (from 1989 to 1998) restoring the Great Sphinx of Giza.

Photo: Amina Zaher

As the world waits for the opening of “the most-anticipated museum in the world,” the Grand Egyptian Museum also finds itself at the centre point of art conversations everywhere. While the final opening date of the 500,000 square meter space is yet to be announced, expectations are high. “I think people are expecting a wow factor from this museum, from an architectural building point of view as well as how the artifacts are exposed and shown,” says Raouf Ghali, president and chief executive officer at Hill International, Inc, the firm supervising the GEM’s construction.

Housing all the relics from King Tutankhamun’s tomb plus a total of 54,000 rare and unique archaeological finds on display, the Grand Egyptian Museum promises an experience like never before, but it also brings forth a pertinent question: Is it time that some of Egypt’s most prized antiquities, from the Rosetta Stone and Dendera Zodiac, to the Bust of Nefertiti, were returned to their rightful home?

Courtesy of Rami Al Ali

Bringing the Egypt zine to a close, we couldn’t possibly end without paying homage to Dalida, who would have turned 90 on January 17. To celebrate the Egypt-born icon, designers share never-seen-before sketches of her most memorable looks.

Photo: Rachel Smith

Blending the local lens with international trends, the January 2023 issue also takes a look at the best of the freshest resort collections, the accessories that deserve a spot in your new year wardrobe, and the return of the prom dress. For those who love to keep it classic, the power of the white shirt serves as an unmissable talking point. Because just like strong women, some things will always be in vogue.

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