Fashion is reflecting the world’s current shift – with a global recession looming and ongoing strife in Palestine and Iran, next season glitter and glamour will be replaced with ripped, wrinkled, and distressed clothes as seen at Prada and MM6 Maison Margiela, and featured as a preview in the December edition’s pages. And yet optimism and hope reign. Vogue Arabia celebrates its last number of the year with a cover highlighting the unbreakable bond of Egyptian-Moroccan sisters, models Imaan and Aicha Hammam.
“Because I started modeling at such a young age, it helped me become comfortable with myself,” says Imaan. “It made me the woman I am today. And that’s why I wanted to help her in her process and in her journey of just becoming,” she adds of her younger sister. Commenting on the rising confidence of Arab creatives, she furthers, “Everything I do, I want people to know where I come from. I’m just so happy that it’s possible now, and that the door is open. Looking back, I’m not going to say I’m confident all the time, but I feel confident within myself and with what I’ve accomplished as a woman of color, as a Muslim woman.”
Another feature underscoring the strength in family unity is the story of Sheikh Rashid bin Ahmad Al Maktoum and wife Natalie Lankester. For the first time, they reveal Sheikh Rashid’s courageous battle against leukemia. “Our entire world was just thrown upside down. The diagnosis was overnight, and within 12 hours, we were on a plane to London for his treatment,” recalls Lankester. Yet they soldiered on, through intense chemotherapy treatments and onwards to continue their passion as professional equestrians. They share their goals for the upcoming international equestrian competitions, and the delight and ease of raising their two daughters in a multicultural home.
This edition also features Ashley Park, the actress best known as Mindy in the Netflix series Emily in Paris. Park has achieved global stardom, and it’s a process that has also seen the actress embark on a journey of reassessment and self-discovery. “I’ve realized how important it is for me to center in myself, establish boundaries, and understand how to not spread myself too thin. As a people-pleaser and somebody who likes to say yes to everything and make everyone happy, I’ve really had to recalibrate a bit recently,” she says.
Exclusively for Vogue Arabia, this month sees Iranian model Farnoush Hamidian, featured in Chopard and Dolce & Gabbana campaigns, reveal for the first time her harrowing rape as a child at the hands of Iranian intelligence officers, and her fight for redemption as the unrest spurred by the murder of Mahsa Amini grows. “Reading her testimony touched me profoundly,” writes editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut. “It reminded me that we never know what others might be struggling with.” Through Hamidian’s trials, she acknowledges her mother for carrying her every step of the way, stating, “I didn’t stay alive because I wanted to, but because my mother made me. I have never felt safe in my life other than in my mother’s arms. My mother showed me the strength of a woman.”
In this issue, Vogue Arabia announces its annual Ball of Arabia under the theme of Arabia’s golden age of entertainment. The night will see the careers of three groundbreaking divas honored – cinema icon Nabila Ebeed, music phenomenon Latifa, and the eternal muse Georgina Rizk – before hundreds of esteemed guests. Glamour and talent will also be feted at the upcoming Red Sea Film Festival, happening early this month in Jeddah. In celebration of the Kingdom’s burgeoning cinema industry, this issue interviews five new Saudi actresses and actors – Ahmed Yaqoub, Aseem Al-awwad, Raghad Bokhari, Adhwa Fahad, and Fatima Al Sharif. It also highlights the talent of Moroccan craft being passed on to younger generations with the work of the school of Fadila El Gadi. The North African country’s talent was recently honored on the global stage at Fashion Trust Arabia Doha, with designer Artsi Ifrach of Maison Artc winning the top prize for evening wear. In his feature this month, Moroccan Ifrach explains why he believes everything is possible in the Mena region today, “The prize recognized my work but also recognized the culture and heritage and the significance of staying in one’s own country. It recognized being an ambassador for what Arab culture means and what fashion means to us and why it is so important for us.”
All this and more in the December 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia, on stands now.