While attending the latest fashion weeks dedicated to the upcoming spring-summer seasons, I felt a complete shift of energy. Post-Covid, we all stored away our tracksuits and the comfy clothes we once wore to stay at home, and in turn had fun rediscovering the more glamorous side of fashion, rejoicing in colorful looks, shimmer, and tons of optimism. Now, it seems that fashion is resetting, as hinted by Balenciaga’s runway covered in mud, an MM6 Maison Margiela collection with clothes ripped and distressed, and a Prada show where hems were raw edges and fabrics deliberately wrinkled.
Historically, fashion has always had the capacity to predict and decode the social and economic context we are living in. Think of the introduction of the mini skirt in London, during the youth emancipation movement in 1964, or the release of Dior’s lavish new look, to signal the end of the World War restrictions. Now, as we seem to be on the verge of entering a global recession, and in a moment where in politics so many things are going wrong, with people being killed on a daily basis in Palestine and Iran, is this fashion telling us to buckle up?
On the topic of Iran, this month we are sharing the touching story of model Farnoush Hamidian, who reveals for the first time how she was raped as a child by Iranian intelligence officers. Farnoush is a dear friend of Vogue Arabia, and we have collaborated many times before. Reading her testimony touched me profoundly and reminded me that we never know what others might be secretly struggling with, even when you are a successful model with a glossy career.
Equally touching are two other features we are proud to share in this edition where, to end the year, we are emphasizing human stories that really inspired us. On our cover, supermodel Imaan Hammam and sister Aicha highlight the importance of sisterhood and tell us how they are proudly celebrating their Egyptian and Moroccan heritage in everything they do. Recovering from cancer, Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmad Al Maktoum and wife Natalie Lankester are all about positivity and goals as they train for the upcoming international equestrian competitions. On page 42 in Arabic, the royal couple also share how they met, and how they are bringing up their two children in a multicultural home.
To end this editor’s letter on a true positive note, I would like to share my excitement as we are wrapping up the final preparations for our annual Ball of Arabia, taking place December 15. Every year we explore a theme that elevates our culture, and the imminent event is no exception. This edition is inspired by Arabia’s golden age of entertainment. The night will be full of surprises (starting with the hosts), but it will also be deeply emotional. On stage, we will be honoring the careers of three groundbreaking divas who opened doors for the younger generations of women and entertainers: cinema icon Nabila Ebeed, music phenomenon Latifa, and Arabia’s eternal muse Georgina Rizk. I would like to thank Bulgari, Instagram, and Jumeirah Mina A’Salam for supporting our event, and I invite you to join the live coverage on our website and social media. I also wish you a fantastic new year full of joy, even if fashion in 2023 needs a happiness boost.
Originally published in the December 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia