For all of us living in the Middle East, we are spoiled by a region that offers a unique mix of heritage and traditions, combined with state-of-the-art technology, and a constant search for what the future will be. Look, for instance, at some of the most groundbreaking projects currently disrupting the Gulf, such as the UAE’s efforts to explore space and the opening of the new Museum of the Future, the creation of the world’s ultimate city in KSA’s Neom, or the kick-off of Expo 2020 Dubai this month. It is in this exciting context that we decided to explore how the future will look through the lens of fashion.
Starting with our cover, we present three models hailing from Morocco and Somalia, who, more than just being beautiful (being just beautiful is not enough these days), have strong voices that impact the industry and society in general. On p94, they share their experiences of dealing with racism and discrimination, and they reveal how they have turned their uniqueness into their biggest assets.
This month, in a feature we call The Vanguards, we turn the spotlight on a group of extraordinary individuals who are breaking boundaries in the arts, design, and fashion worlds. One of them is Lebanon’s Khaled El Mays, who I met many years ago in Beirut, and who I’ve been following and admiring ever since. Last month, when I visited Milan Design Week, I was extremely proud to see his work in the exclusive Nilufar Gallery and also as part of Dior’s Medallion Chair exhibition, next to iconic industry personalities such as Nendo and India Mahdavi.
One of the names who is also reshaping the future of fashion is Pierpaolo Piccioli, creative director of Valentino, who gave Vogue Arabia an exclusive preview of the maison’s latest couture collection, before it even hit the runway in the Venetian Arsenal. During my sit-down with him in the brand’s stunning Place Vendôme offices, we discussed topics such as gender-neutral fashion and his position that fashion is not art. The latter concept sounds contrary to what we usually promote at Vogue, but I invite you to jump to p128 to better understand Piccioli’s vision.
Of course, all progress is only possible if it’s anchored in a strong foundation: in October, join us in celebrating the legacies of some of the most disruptive women from the region, including Tunisian Fatima Al-Fihri, who founded the world’s first university more than 1,000 years ago, Egyptian feminist writer and activist Nawal El Saadawi, and Zaha Hadid. I hope this new issue of Vogue makes you feel inspired and hopeful for a better future. We all need this extra motivation now.