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Vogue Arabia’s May Issue Celebrates Artistry, Craftsmanship, and Savoir Faire

Malika El Maslouhi wears Giambattista Valli haute couture. Photographed by Thibault-Théodore for Vogue Arabia May 2021

In May, Vogue Arabia celebrates artistry and fashion’s highest expression: haute couture. In pandemic times, when many are questioning the future of fashion as an art formMoroccan model Malika El Maslouhi stars in this 14-page cover story featuring dream gowns by Ashi, Dior, Iris van Herpen, Guo Pei, Giambattista Valli, and more. In the accompanying essay by Amy Fine Collins, award-winning journalist and author behind Vanity Fair’s International Best-Dressed List, Vogue Arabia pays homage to the designers and artisans pushing couture to the future, being innovative and adaptable, while respecting the core of this activity. “Just like a century before, when haute couture persisted through world wars, it continues to thrive today in an era rocked by a pandemic – albeit inextricably forever changed,” writes Fine Collins.

Malika el maslouhi, couture, guo pei, may 2021

Malika El Maslouhi wears Guo Pei haute couture. Photographed by Thibault-Théodore for Vogue Arabia May 2021

Editor-in-Chief Manuel Arnaut says, “In a world where everything is fast and disposable, couture shows again its resilience, adapting to the times. However, couture stays true to its core, always valuing quality over quantity, a dreamy appeal, and celebrating true artisanal, man-made beauty. We are privileged to live in a region where couture is understood, has an incredible legacy and historical importance, and is at the base of the fashion industry, employing so many artisans and making so many people dream.”

Malika El Maslouhi wears Iris van Herpen. Photographed by Thibault-Théodore for Vogue Arabia May 2021

In an issue dedicated to craftsmanship and excellence, Vogue Arabia meets with the couturier who put Arab fashion on the international map. Elie Saab opens up about his childhood, the maison he built, and his beloved Lebanon. “Every dress in the haute couture collection is a piece of art, a piece of jewelry handed down from one generation to another,” says Saab. His latest haute couture collection is photographed against a backdrop of vintage photos of Beirut, juxtaposing contemporary with the past.

Elie Saab haute couture. Photo: Anthony Arquier

When considering couture, the petites mains – the seamstresses who painstakingly bring haute couture creations to life – are primordial. Vogue Arabia meets the skilled craftspeople behind every fantastical couture collection of regional designers Rami Kadi, Ali Karoui, Azza Fahmy, and Ahmed Khyeli.

“A pursuit of modernity doesn’t mean letting go of the past.” – HH Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi. Photo: Courtesy of Irthi Contemporary Crafts Council

Inside the artistry issue, an exclusive feature with HH Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi sees the wife of the Ruler of Sharjah share the importance of preserving traditional Emirati crafts. “Through centuries, crafts have been a force that preserve and promote our communal identities; characteristics that give every community in the world their uniqueness,” says HH Sheikha Al Qasimi. “We all must understand that a pursuit of modernity doesn’t mean letting go of the past, but the past is what shows us the way to our future.”

From the runway to the red carpet, Vogue Arabia also turns the spotlight on the Palestinian Oscar-nominated director Farah Nabulsi. In her short film The Present, the first female Palestinian director nominated for an Academy Award sheds light on the reality of Palestinian lives and tells the stories of its citizens. “People are seeing my art’s meaning,” shares Nabulsi.

Julia Roberts for Chopard. Photo: Courtesy of Chopard

The May issue also features Academy-Award winning actor Julia Roberts, who opens up about what makes her happy. The face of the latest Chopard campaign, who is known for her legendary smile, shares, “Last year was a challenge globally and things are still difficult. Moving forward, I believe, the sense of family and community has been revitalized. Our deep gratitude for being free to gather and hug. That brings me such joy.” She also talks about her wish to visit the region, saying, “One of my closest girlfriends is Lebanese. I would love to go there with her on a trip.”

Hindash Cosmetics. Photo: Sandra Chidiac for Vogue

In beauty, discover Mohammed Hindash, Aleena, Aleezeh, and Naseeha Khan, Mina Al Sheikhly, and Nour Khalife, the creatives behind four proudly Dubai-based makeup brands launching with lofty aspirations and world-class products. These young entrepreneurs are turning the Middle East into a launchpad for beauty entrepreneurs.

The May issue also comes with the second edition of Vogue Living Arabia. Opening the doors to beautiful summer homes in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Morocco, the issue highlights the perfect alfresco furniture for the coming season, and celebrates the best of Italian design.

Read Next: The 10 Most Spectacular Couture Moments in Vogue Arabia’s Fashion History

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