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Editor’s Letter: On Celebrating Vogue Arabia’s 6th Anniversary with Supermodel Cindy Crawford

Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut. Photo: Ziga Mihelcic

This month we are celebrating six years, with a special cover featuring one of Arabia’s favorite supermodels, Cindy Crawford. Collaborating with this fashion icon is very exciting and it serves as testimony to Vogue Arabia’s global impact. It also motions another step towards a fashion industry that should be more diverse, and in that vein, this March, we are running multiple features focusing on women of different generations, ethnicities, body types, and cultural backgrounds. As 57-year-old Crawford shared with Syrian-American journalist Hala Gorani in our cover interview (p152), “What I don’t want to do is be part of that message that’s telling women of a certain age, ‘You got to hang it up now.’ Like, why? I don’t believe in a season of invisibility.”

On the topic of visibility, this special edition comes packed with fantastic art and fashion produced in the Arab world. One of my favorite shoots on page 186 pays homage to Bahraini artist Shaikh Rashid bin Khalifa Al Khalifa, whom I met many years ago when I moved to the Middle East to work for a design publication. Visiting the Shaikh’s art center last month, located in the house he once lived in with his mother and built by the Ruler of Bahrain for his wife Shaikha Aisha bint Rashid Al Khalifa, was a real boost for creativity. Surrounded by the Shaikh’s own paintings of blooms, the house was the perfect starting point for an editorial that celebrates fashion’s spring obsession with flowers.

Judi, Julli, and Sidra. Photo: Khalifa Mohseen Mansour

While this issue feels bright and optimistic, it also invites you to reflect on two serious topics very close to home. On page 238, we analyze the region’s current relationship with reality shows that portray life in the Middle East as flashy and superficial, importing Western formats that have not always represented the actuality of most of our lives. “Many shows focus on wealth, power, and success linked to materialistic possessions, consumerism, competition, jealousy, beauty…Promoting success and wealth as a goal and a key for happiness without speaking to difficulties and challenges can be a source of frustration rather than empowerment and inspiration,” explains psychologist Dr Diana Cheaib Houry. Personally, I don’t mind these shows and watch them from time to time to disconnect, but it is important to understand their true impact.

Last February, Turkey, Syria, and Lebanon were struck by a deadly earthquake that killed thousands of people and left even more homeless. As you might have seen on our social media, we are donating all the newsstand profits of Vogue Arabia’s February issue to an organization supporting the survivors of the devastating quakes. Bringing more visibility to this disaster, and urging all our community to support those affected, we invite you to read the poignant story of three young sisters who endured 18 hours under the rubble, before being pulled out using ropes through a very narrow hole. “We have learned how to hold on to hope and also give it to those who are still helpless,” shared sisters Judi, Julli, and Sidra, who we photographed in AlQabou, where their family home used to stand. “We hope that after this hardship, people will love each other more and have more empathy. We want our voices to reach the world.”

Read Next: Supermodel Cindy Crawford Stars on Vogue Arabia’s Sixth Anniversary Issue 

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