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Letter From The Editor: Why The Show Must Go On

Vogue Arabia Editor-in-Chief Manuel Arnaut. Photographed by Ethan Mann

This month, I was able to realize a dream that I’ve had since joining Vogue Arabia. One of my favorite fashion portraits ever is the image of the slender filmmaker Farida Khelfa carrying in her arms a petit Azzedine Alaïa. In the black and white image, Khelfa’s hair reminds me of a lion’s mane, and she appears even taller and leaner than in real life.

Azzedine Alaïa, Farida Khelfa, Jean-Paul Goude

Azzedine Alaïa and Farida Khelfa, cut-up photo and sticky tape by Jean-Paul Goude, Paris, 1985.

The artwork also features a style of collage that became one of the signature techniques of French artist Jean-Paul Goude, the brilliant illustrator of the image. But this is not the only iconic portrait that Goude took of Khelfa, with many other extraordinary images being produced by the duo throughout the Eighties. After their personal lives parted ways – love and professional – the friendship between the two creatives remained, but they haven’t stepped onto the same photo set for some 30 years. I have to say that I felt like a kid in a candy store when I received the confirmation that Jean-Paul Goude and Farida Khelfa had accepted my invitation to work together again, reunited for our October covers.

Farida Khelfa, Jean-Paul Goude, Vogue Arabia October 2020

Farida Khelfa x Jean-Paul Goude for Vogue Arabia October 2020

Looking at the images, many of you might say that snow on a Middle East cover doesn’t make any sense. Personally, in these troubled times, we are all experiencing together, I could not disagree more. Fashion, fantasy, escapism (and even a bit of nonsense) are perfect antidotes for the current moment. More than ever, creativity and art are essential to lift our spirits and give us hope that soon we will be able to hug, kiss, and live freely again. The show, the beauty, the inspiration, must go on!

Farida Khelfa shot by Jean-Paul Goude, Paris, 1992.

This issue comes packed with energy, and we are proud to highlight so many young Arab creatives around the world. In Egypt, we shot the new faces ready to take the fashion world by storm. In London, a new collective called the Muslim Sisterhood photographed, styled, and starred in a cool editorial that reflects how a young generation of creatives are expressing themselves while being united by their faith. We’ve also compiled a portfolio with the work of promising female regional photographers creating impactful images with their unique eye.

Farida Khelfa, Jean-Paul Goude, Vogue Arabia October 2020

Farida Khelfa x Jean-Paul Goude for Vogue Arabia October 2020

Lastly, a cycle comes to an end at Vogue Arabia, and I would like to thank our managing editor Alexandria Gouveia for three years of collaboration and to wish her all the luck as she heads back to Europe to pursue other challenges.

Read Next: Cover Story: The Truth Behind Farida Khelfa and Jean-Paul Goude’s Powerful Reunion

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