Although I have been secretly following Kim Kardashian West for years, via her acclaimed TV show and her Instagram, I was a skeptic. Not wanting to sound prejudiced, but due to her reality TV past I always thought she was not the right fit for Vogue Arabia, although her name was mentioned in so many editorial meetings.
Even with all the incredible business accomplishments and a daring style that sets trends globally, there was something missing. Not that this would bother Kim at all, as she reveals in this month’s cover interview, conducted by her husband and Grammy winner, Kanye West. “I love to be underestimated and to over-deliver. That’s my vibe.” What made me look at Kim from a different perspective was her last Met Gala red carpet appearance. With a super-cinched waist and looking as if she had just come out of the water, Kim’s wet dress by Manfred Thierry Mugler was simply genius. And so I wondered, what if we ask the legendary designer to completely reinvent Kim’s image for our September cover shoot, taking the role of art director?
When I was a teenager, Mugler – alongside Azzadine Alaïa and John Galliano – was definitely one of the designers who made me dream the most. His iconic runway shows with women looking like superheroes, his campaigns for fragrances that are still bestsellers today, and the stunning imagery he produced with models posing on the edge of the Chrysler Building, made me fall in love with fashion even more. When the designer accepted our invitation, and when we got permission to also use some of his vintage designs, I felt both excited and proud.
This A-list combination of talent – Kim Kardashian West, Manfred Thierry Mugler, and Kanye West – proves that in just two years since our launch, Vogue Arabia has achieved an incredible authority in the fashion industry. I have to thank my entire team, who works so hard to nail this level of excellence, and for this project in particular, our fashion director, Katie Trotter, who magisterially oversaw the production of our cover.
Besides the most important beauty and fashion trends for the new season, this issue comes bursting with very special stories that continue our narrative of the empowerment of Arab women. On the topic of leadership, Egypt’s Minister of Social Solidarity, HE Ghada Waly, Kuwaiti MP Safa Alhashem, and Karma Ekmekji, a member of Saad Hariri’s cabinet in Lebanon, show how they are changing the face of politics in the Middle East. In Dubai, show jumper Sheikha Latifah Al Maktoum reveals her 2020 Summer Olympics dreams, while we also travel across the region to meet the cadets of the UAE’s inaugural Military and Peacekeeping Training for Women. Like Kim, these women cannot be underestimated. I’m grateful they chose Vogue Arabia to tell their stories of success.
Vogue Arabia Editor-in-Chief, Manuel Arnaut