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Naomi Campbell: “Dubai is a Fashion Capital”


Photographed by Chris Colls for Vogue Arabia, November 2018.

Vogue Arabia’s November cover star, Naomi Campbell recently sat down with CNN Style to discuss Dubai’s rapidly rising fashion scene and the importance of diversity in the fashion industry. The iconic supermodel was in Dubai, last month to celebrate Vogue Loves Fashion Avenue, a 10-day celebration that marked Dubai Mall’s 10th anniversary.

Campbell took to the custom-created main stage in The Dubai Mall’s Fashion Avenue with Vogue Arabia’s Editor-in-Chief, Manuel Arnaut to discuss her wide-reaching career which spans an impressive three decades and got emotional remembering Azzedine Alaïa who she fondly called papa.

During her segment with CNN, the veteran model said she felt honored to be on the cover of Vogue Arabia. “It’s important to the region,” stated Campbell about the magazine. “I think you’ve got a wonderful emerging market here in Dubai…a lot of young designers from all over the region come here…I think Dubai is a capital of fashion,” she proclaimed.

Campbell, who changed the game by becoming the first black model to be on the cover of French Vogue in 1988, revealed the importance of representation in the fashion industry. “It’s something that should [have] been the norm and it’s every race and creed,” she noted. “Everyone has their religion, has to be respected, and so this is how it should [have] always been. It’s incredible to say it’s taken us to get to 2017, 2018 for it to happen, but most importantly, it’s happening,” she said.

The programme, which spotlights Dubai’s luxury fashion industry, kicked off by following Vogue Arabia on a shoot photographed by Domen/Van De Velde at the Dubai International Airport for the December 2018 issue, offering an exclusive behind-the-scenes look into how the striking editorial came to be. The Belgian photographers, who are based in Paris reflected on the contrast between working in Europe and the bustling Emirati city, noting how their approach to photography shifts when they’re in Dubai. “In Milan, in Europe, we can do whatever we want in a way. And here, there are lots of culture [sic] influences that you have to take care of and that makes it also interesting to work with,” one half of the duo, Giel Domen said. Echoing on his statement, Kenneth Van de Velde added, “The city is more an amusement park than really historical. But it has a kind of feeling that attracts you as well. You have rich colors and high contrast and hard lights.”

Also featured on CNN Style Dubai, which premiered on Monday, are Rami Al Ali, a Syrian couturier based in Dubai, The Modist founder Ghizlan Guenez, and celebrated Iraqi calligrapher Wissam Shawkwat, who is responsible for the Arabic typography and logos of a variety of different brands including Tiffany & Co. and Chopard.

The episode will air on CNN International on Wednesday, December 12 at 1:30pm GST and Thursday, December 20 at 1:30pm GST.

Now Read: Inside Naomi’s World: “I Won’t Be Held Hostage By My Mistakes”

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