The July/August 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia is an ode to pink, and the centuries-old relationship between India and the Middle East, featuring on the cover Sawai Padmanabh Singh, the Maharaja of Jaipur.
The cover story takes a deep dive into the fascinating life of 24-year-old Sawai Padmanabh Singh, the Maharaja of Jaipur and a recent graduate of art history and Italian at the Università e Nobil Collegio Sant’Eligio in Rome. His accolades are many, from leading public celebrations such as Holi and Diwali in official duties, to representing India in 2017 at the Polo World Cup zonal playoffs in Iran, the youngest player to do so. We journey through a day with the royal at his ancestral abode, the nearly-300-year-old City Palace, following in the footsteps of aristocrats and warriors to learn of its storied history, unique provenance, and enduring royal heritage. “I consider myself very lucky and fortunate that I was born into this family, but that doesn’t mean I am entitled or that I can get away with things others can’t,” the Maharaja shares. “My parents, and especially my grandmother, have always made sure that we know we still have to live our own lives and find our place in this world, work hard, and not take things for granted.”
This issue also goes on a sensory excursion through the vibrant streets of Jaipur with 30 pages of fashion shot against the backdrop of the most iconic landmarks in the ‘Pink City’ – as Diana Vreeland so astutely stated, “pink is the navy blue of India”. From the historical red sandstone walls of Jaigarh Fort to the 11th-century stepwell Panna Meena Ka Kund, a modern storytelling of fashion collides with the legend-saturated fables of history in this celebration of rich Rajputana culture. We also visit the magnificent world of Gem Palace, renowned jewelers to the Jaipur royal family who, over the decades, have endeared themselves to everyone from Lady Diana and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis to Elton John, and Angelina Jolie.
“Pink is literally everywhere in the fashion season, and I could not think of a better arena than the Pink City itself to stage this blooming extravaganza,” says Manuel Arnaut, Vogue Arabia editor-in-chief. “But more than a chromatic exercise, this issue also serves to highlight the strong link between the Gulf countries and India. Over centuries, the two regions have been influencing each other in a creative tango that touches the fields of economy, food, art, architecture, entertainment, and fashion.”
The issue also meets Vandana Sudhir, wife of the Indian Ambassador to the UAE. She reflects on a life well-lived in the Arab world: “Moving to the UAE has been so exciting. My husband has previously worked in the oil sector, and the two countries have a very strong historical connect — we were on the same trade route and have been trading partners for centuries. There are so many commonalities in our way of life, history, and culture.”
Emphasizing the art of traveling, the latest issue of Vogue Arabia also documents an escape to Athens with Rami Kadi, where he spends the day at the Zappeion Megaron. As the guest of honor, the designer closed the 30th Athens Xclusive Designers Week with a couture show featuring 43 dresses from the Spring/Summer 2022 Couture Collection, ‘Lucid Algorithms’.
Biarritz is our next stop, with its surfer shores and picturesque fisherman villages beckoning to hordes of French and European travelers. It is also home to The Hôtel du Palais, which was once the childhood playground of Empress Eugénie de Montijo, wife of Emperor Napoleon III of France. In the same vein of celebrating royalty, we fly to the sandy landscapes of Oman to discover the unique relationship between the Sultan of Oman and haute perfume maison Henry Jacques. Inspired by the desert and Oman’s history, its new flagship boutique in Paris features eight one-of-a-kind fragrances in flacons covered in 18-carat gold, solid silver, jeweler’s enamel, and encrusted with precious and semi-precious stones.