This June, the month when Saudi women will finally be able to take the wheel, Vogue Arabia celebrates the exciting and progressive changes transforming the Kingdom and, by ripple effect, our region. We also honor its incredible women in fashion, arts, and diplomacy, whose work deserves worldwide recognition. Embodying this new era of female empowerment is HRH Princess Hayfa bint Abdullah Al Saud, this month’s cover star.
It was some three years ago that I first met Her Royal Highness. A press release announcing her solo art exhibition in New York dropped into my inbox and I became instantly captivated by her powerful work, where icons from Arab culture are reinvented with a colorful and surrealist touch. After interviewing Princess Hayfa for a feature, we worked together on a charity event in benefit of UNICEF. This was the beginning of an enduring friendship, even though we reside in different countries.
As I got to know Princess Hayfa better, my admiration for her grew. A generous woman with a truly elegant and noble presence, she is the daughter of the late King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. A mother of three, the princess dedicates her life to her family and her art. Instead of being a cliché “stay-at-home princess,” enjoying the perks of a privileged life, she invested in her studies and flourished as an artist, with work exhibited on different continents.
I was deeply honored when Her Royal Highness decided to accept our invitation to grace our June cover. As people from the region are aware, the ruling families of Arabia are extremely private, and I am humbled by such an act of trust. The day we spent in the desert outside Jeddah, immortalized through the lens of Boo George, was unique and of great meaning for the Arab world.
I could not end this letter without a very special thank you to Her Royal Highness Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud, who, besides inspiring us all with her open-minded spirit, was fundamental to the success of our issue. Knowing that such extraordinary women are taking part in crafting the future of the Arab world makes me look forward to the exciting times ahead.