The June issue of Vogue Arabia is an ode to Lebanon – celebrating its courage, spirit and pride. With economic issues and ongoing political struggles, the nation has once again found itself experiencing troubled times. This month Vogue Arabia pays tribute to the country and its brave people, including cover star Majida El Roumi. Draped in the Lebanese flag her historic debut cover offers a powerful message of hope.
The cover is a momentous milestone for Vogue Arabia, not only for veering away from its traditional fashion statement to one charged with humanity and social responsibility, but also for collaborating with El Roumi to star on the front of a magazine for the first time in her 45-year-long career. The singer admits she was “proud” of the opportunity to collaborate with Vogue Arabia and celebrate her country’s joie de vivre as well the talents and passions of its citizens.
“I am so grateful to have Majida El Roumi on the cover,” says Editor-in-Chief Manuel Arnaut. “She is the perfect personality to represent the best of Lebanon, and the spirit of its diverse people. She is the voice that inspires the country and gives strength to Lebanon when most needed, singing true anthems such as ‘Ya Sit El Dounia ya Beirut,’ ‘Oum Thadda,’ and ‘Kalimat.’ This is the first time ever that she poses for a magazine cover in so many decades of being an active force in the cultural ecosystem of the region.”
Ensuring true authenticity, the cover story was produced by an all-Lebanese team in the historical landmark of La Résidence des Pins, Beirut. Photographer Sandra Chidiac and stylist Amine Jreissati capture El Roumi’s patriotic spirit as she wears pieces by renowned Lebanese designers, including haute couture dresses by Georges Hobeika and Zuhair Murad.
El Roumi, whose first name means glorified in Arabic, brings glory to her country through her poetic music that resonates with all generations and shares their hardships. In her exclusive interview with Vogue Arabia, the singer says of her role as a public figure, “The artist’s role is more important than a politician. An artist should call for unity, independence, and freedom of his country. This is their true duty.”
When it comes to patriotism, the singer says, “I don’t care about material matters. What I care about is to stand by my human brothers, live their pain, and wipe their tears. This is my true joy.”
As the current pandemic adds to her country’s struggles, she remains defiant. “I advocate for Lebanon to exercise sovereignty, dignity, and prestige on its land, and I call for confederation. Why shouldn’t there be a United States of Lebanon?”
Providing a voice for her nation, particularly in times of hardship, El Roumi will be releasing two new singles soon: “Sawt El Ha2,” which is dedicated to the people, and “Mahjoureen,” a joyful song to offer some light relief during these difficult times.
Arnaut further explains his decision to publish an issue dedicated to Lebanon, when other Arab countries are also experiencing adversity: “When the topic is fashion, there is no question that Lebanon is the leading hub for the industry in the Arab world, with designers from Elie Saab to Zuhair Murad, Georges Hobeika, and Rabih Kayrouz conquering international fashion weeks. Outside the realm of fashion, director Nadine Labaki, Maya Ibrahimchah (Beit el Baraka), Adib Dada (Beirut RiverLESS), and Olfat Mounzer (representing Dafa) are some of the citizens with significant projects making a difference in the lives of hundreds of struggling Lebanese people. This issue aims to celebrate their artistry and work – those with inspiring stories and a sense of mission. I consider it a duty to support a country that is a pillar of what Vogue Arabia represents.”
Vogue Arabia’s June issue is fully dedicated to Lebanon, showcasing its biggest players in the fashion and beauty industry, as well as featuring exclusive interviews, shoots, and stories. Highlights include:
My Lebanon: A love for one’s country is more than a patriotic duty – it’s an unbreakable bond. It’s an identity, says Aline Asmar d’Amman, Mireille Hayek, Nada Debs, Bernard Khoury, and Nicolas Jebran.
Beauty Queens: Lebanese women are considered some the most attractive in the world, but there’s more to them than meets the eye.
Nadine Labaki: The Oscar-nominated filmmaker talks about the future generation of her country.