What a year it’s been, brimming with good as well as tragic news in the sartorial world. This year we lost the iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld and with him, an exceptionally valuable bit of the fashion industry. It is unbelievable that it was only seven months ago when Billy Porter rocked the Met Gala carpet wearing his gown tuxedo, and how the overall industry changed for good by adapting to progressively sustainable options alongside one of the most renowned rulers in this world – Queen Elizabeth II going fur-free. Vogue Arabia itself over the span of 12 months saw some spectacular artists and models starring on the covers and sharing their stories with the world.
Every year, this time is one of reflection and remembering all the notable moments that graced the past year. Read on to join us as we look back on 2019 before we move on to start a whole new decade with the year 2020.
Nicolas Jebran stealing the show with his Paris Couture Week debut
For the past 20 years, Nicolas Jebran has been working and showing his creation all the way from Beirut, but this year was a special one where the talented designer who dresses stars like Najwa Karam, Beyoncé, JLo, Katy Perry, and Cardi B decided to showcase his work at the heart of the fashion scene in his debut Paris show. The designer brought the best of what he can offer featuring a moody collection with blending fabrics and sensual shapes. Models walked the runway wearing dominatrix styled dresses and long boots with Lebanese influencer Nour Arida closing the show.
Rihanna making history with LVMH
Singer, songwriter and former Vogue Arabia cover star Rihanna gave us one of the biggest surprises this year. The music industry sensation turned designer became the first woman of color to lead a house under the LVMH brand this spring. Her label Fenty joined more than 50 already established luxury brands like Christian Dior, and Givenchy in the race. Rihanna also established her love for Arab designers this year by hiring Amina Muaddi to design shoes for Fenty.
Fifi Abdou transformed by Vogue Arabia
Fifi Abdou is an undisputed comedy icon, a celebrated belly dancer and actor in the Middle East who has up until now featured in over 20 movies and TV shows, and this year she walked into the studio in Cairo for her Vogue Arabia photoshoot. In the past, Abdou has been an easy target of criticism and mean spirited jokes because of the nonacceptance of one thing she loves the most in this world – belly-dancing. Abdou loves belly dancing and fiercely defends it, because after all, how can you give up on something which makes you feel the most alive?
Farewell to Karl Lagerfeld at the Grand Palais, Paris
February 19, 2019, was a very distressing day for the fashion industry as the creative director of Chanel and celebrated fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld passed away. Soon after his funeral, a collection designed right before his death was debuted at the Paris Fashion Week where everybody bid adieu to the legend. The venue – Grand Palais was transformed into the Tyrolean village of 12 Alpine chalets where models Cara Develingne, Naomi Campbell and Penelope Cruz walked down the runway amongst others. It was an emotional moment for the whole industry with the end message ‘Chanel and Karl live on.’
Three hijabi models on the cover of Vogue Arabia
Models Halima Aden, Ikram Abdi Omar, and Amina Adan made history by starring in the first-ever group hijabi cover for Vogue. The powerful trio of Somali models was styled by Vogue Arabia’s fashion director Katie Trotter who put the spotlight on modesty and a woman’s right to choose – “your body, your rules.”
Jennifer Lopez closing the Versace 2020 show in her “jungle dress”
Jennifer Lopez first wore her iconic green dress for the first time in the 2000 Grammy Awards. This year, designer Donatella Versace decide to base a whole collection on J Lo’s look from back in the day – and it was simply outstanding. At the end of the show, after a minute’s break, the doors opened and there she was, Lopez glowing as ever, walking down the runway in her outfit stealing the night away. There wasn’t one person in the room whose jaw didn’t drop that night.
Kim Kardashian West starring on Vogue Arabia’s cover wearing Mugler
The beauty mogul Kim Kardashian West starred on the cover of Vogue Arabia’s September 2019 issue wearing one of Thierry Mugler‘s vintage archive pieces. West’s statement braid inspired and left the whole internet talking for a long time after the magazine landed in stores. Not only that but media outlets commented that KKW’s braid in the cover was more iconic than Ariana Grande’s ponytail.
Lady Gaga’s 4-in-1 Met Gala looks
The Mother Monster Lady Gaga turned heads this Met gala by showing-off four looks on the Met Gala red carpet within a matter of minutes. She entered the venue wearing a fuchsia Brandon Maxwell with a long trail, after which she removed her top gown to reveal a strapless black gown, followed by a pink dress accessorized with a giant cellphone prop, and at last, she finished her one-woman fashion show with black lingerie.
Egyptian Comedian Samir Ghanem featuring on the cover of Vogue Arabia
The Middle East’s most beloved comedian Samir Ghanem starred on the cover of Vogue Arabia along with supermodel Adriana Lima in November 2019’s ‘Happy Issue’. Ghanem, along with George Sidhom and El Deif Ahmed made the regions most adored trio – Tholathy Adwa’a El Masrah. The comedian’s motto in life is to spread laughter everywhere he goes.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II goes fur-free
As the world is facing a huge threat due to climate change, the Queen of England, Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has moved one step further into the world of sustainable style by eliminating fur from her wardrobe this year.
Vogue Arabia collaborated with the Cairo International Film Festival 2019
The Middle East has been fighting their own fights when it comes to the film industry and making great strides towards recognition on the global stage, which is why this year Vogue Arabia proudly united with Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) and the strong women who are bringing in the change and describing what it means to be a woman in the Arab film industry, for the better.
Gigi Hadid escorted an intruder off the Chanel Runway
Many wild things happen in the fashion industry and this moment is surely one of them when a 28-year-old YouTuber Marie Benoliel climbed on the stage during Chanel’s Paris Fashion Week show finale and supermodel Gigi Hadid who was on the line-up smartly escorted the intruder aside without causing a huge scene.
— @Booth (@Booth) October 1, 2019
Vogue Arabia paid homage to Peter Lindbergh
Vogue Arabia released a special edition paying homage to late German fashion photographer Peter Lindbergh. Lindbergh was an important part of the Vogue family who also shot the October cover story with model Ugbad Abdi – which later became one of his last shoots ever. “The issue includes more than 30 never-before-seen images taken by Peter Lindbergh, featuring new hijabi model Ugbad Abdi,” explained Editor-in-Chief Manuel Arnaut.
The Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle released a fashion line
Along with other royal duties, the Duchess of Sussex debuted her charitable clothing line of women’s workwear this year. The line was introduced to the world on September 12 with the British charity Smart Works. The collection includes a Marks & Spencer dress, a John Lewis tote bag, a blazer, and a slim fit trouser – a perfect set for a working woman.
Beyonce wears a headpiece crafted by Middle Eastern designer Nicolas Jebran in her Netflix documentary
In her most set of achievements, Queen Bey wore a beautiful headpiece crafted by none other than Nicolas Jebran for her ‘Homecoming’ album’s cover and documentary which aired on Netflix. It wasn’t the first time when the global sensation has worn pieces by Jebran or other Arab designers, the singer and songwriter has previously shown her love for Zuhair Murad, Death by Dolls and Azzi & Osta.
The iconic Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was canceled
Due to a decline in viewership, the much-awaited annual Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show was canceled this year. According to reports, there has been a fall in sales and a decline of 7% in the last quarter, compared to previous years. Moreover, there has been a rise in criticism of the brand and fashion show, for what some people say, “continued focus on the same outdated fashion and beauty ideals.”
Christian Lacroix made a return to fashion
A dream collaboration took place this year between Dries Van Noten and Christian Lacroix on his spring/summer 2020 collection. Lacroix brought back the same colors and embellishments that he built his name on in the beginning. The eveningwear collection was infused with creativity from both designers that felt extremely contemporary in kind and feel.
Vogue Arabia joined forces with Facilité by launching a winter pop-up store to support homegrown designers by boasting collections from a selection of Arab and Dubai-based designers who have for some time been upheld by Vogue Arabia and it’s mission to promote regional talent. “This festive season, buy regional brands to support our fashion industry, so we can all grow together. Indeed, design and fashion are an integral part of a region’s culture, and it is up to us to celebrate this heritage through the work of our creative system.” said Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut.
Gucci’s new lipstick collection divided social media into two
Earlier this year, along with launching a new collection, Gucci ignited a big debate on beauty ideals with their experimental campaign that featured four images with gapped and crooked teeth. The main goal of this campaign was to “create a humanized point of view, however strange,” according to the creative director of Gucci, Alessandro Michele.
Ellie Saab Jr. and Christina Mourad’s wedding
Ellie Saab Junior and Christina Mourad tied the knot in July this year in Lebanon. The functions were spread through the span of three days which was attended by 1,200 guests. The entirety of the lady of the hour’s outfits were designed by none other than Ellie Saab himself where the bride-to-be wore a cream suit with an embroidered golden cape from designer’s haute couture fall/winter 2019-2020 collection, and a bustier dress that was inspired by the Elie Saab haute couture fall/Winter 2019-2020 collection.