In an exclusive and bold collaboration, the October issue of Vogue Arabia celebrates creativity with iconic artist Jean-Paul Goude and his forever-muse, Algerian-French filmmaker Farida Khelfa, reunited in the studio for the first time in 30 years. The result – a whimsical portrayal of snow for the Middle East – brings a much-needed moment of levity during these months of uncertainty and distress, showing that amid the current crisis, there is still joy and beauty to be found. “Fashion, fantasy, escapism (and even a bit of nonsense) are perfect antidotes for the current moment. More than ever, creativity and art are essential to lift our spirits and give us hope that soon we will be able to hug, kiss, and live freely again. The show, the beauty, the inspiration, must go on!” says editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut.
The pair created two unforgettable images, echoing their unique creative shorthand and trust in each other. “It feels like it was yesterday when we were first working together, that’s all. It’s just a continuation. I still admire Farida, she is my friend. I still want to photograph her,” Goude says. Khelfa is also full of admiration for her one-time partner and collaborator. “The images that Jean-Paul creates, they stay forever. They are not something that disappears,” she shares.
Goude, the iconic illustrator, and photographer who turns 80 this year, met Khelfa in Paris when she was 16 and was immediately intrigued by her unique and unconventional beauty. She became his muse and together the duo created unforgettable campaigns and photoshoots. Khelfa was the first Maghreb model to be featured in the international spotlight in the 1980s, and has also been a muse for Azzedine Alaïa, Jean Paul Gaultier, Thierry Mugler, and Christian Louboutin. The model, actor, and filmmaker went on to create documentaries and become the ambassador for couture house Schiaparelli.
The October issue is bursting with entrepreneurs and creatives sharing their talents with the world, from the ground-breaking black, female Muslim rappers taking control of the mic and telling their own stories in their own ways, to the regional jewelry designers making pieces that embrace their heritage in fresh, futuristic forms. And a new young artistic collective, the Muslim Sisterhood, showcases the season’s best new trends while celebrating diversity and freedom of expression. We also meet the young Arab female photographers taking a fresh look at the region, and the Beirut creatives working to restore their lives after the devasting explosions. Our fashion pages showcase the looks and trends that will stand the test of time, as well as magical high jewelry pieces.
As usual, the issue features interviews and shoots with an array of high-powered women, including Syrian actor Kinda Alloush, Bahraini minister HE Shaikha Mai bint Mohammed Al-Khalifa, and Tunisian actor Dorra Zarrouk, introducing her collaboration with Egyptian designer Mohanad Kojak. In an exclusive interview, Lady Gaga shares how she always knew her unique creativity would be her path to freedom and success, saying, “The most daring thing I did was believe in myself. I want everyone to know that even if life is painful sometimes, you can still dance through it. You can dance through it because you’re being brave by fighting the pain and living life. This is something that should be celebrated. This is a reason to dance.”