Saudi Arabia’s vision for art, sport, and fashion are celebrated in Vogue Arabia’s annual issue dedicated to the Kingdom. Wearing a made-to-measure Tima Abid couture dress featuring Saudi’s emblem in gold embroidery, Yara Alhogbani personifies the country’s leaps in sports. The first professional tennis player from Saudi states, “I want to dedicate my time and knowledge to helping any Saudi girl with a racket and a dream.” Representing the country for fashion, supermodel Shanina Shaik, who is of Saudi heritage, poses cradling her baby bump and shares her excitement at becoming a mother for the first time along with her pride for her Middle Eastern origins. Songstress Dalia Mubarak also poses on a cover; the Saudi diva has performed alongside iconic artists such as Rashed Al-Majed, Rabeh Sager, and Majid Al Muhandis.
“I’m proud to say that our publication was the first international title to really focus on the Kingdom, long before Saudi ‘opened up,’” says editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut. “Before Saudi became a market that everyone wanted to be in—generally motivated by commercial benefits.
At Vogue Arabia, our motivation has always been the culture, the people, and their stories—covering the new generation, but also the iconic names that paved the way for the new creatives. From Tamtam to Abadi Al-Johar, from Lulwah Al Homoud, to Safeya Binzagr, the list goes on and on.”
The issue includes a special invitation inside the most spectacular royal wedding of the year. HH Sheikha Meera bint Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan and HH Sheikh Zayed bin Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan married this May, with the images of the stunning ephemeral venue, orchestrated by Designlab Experience, featured exclusively in the magazine. “This was not your usual brief. It was unprecedented for us to be inspired by poetry, or by the love of two grandparents, for example, to be able to connect with these things that are so important to the bride. From meeting her, to getting to where we are today, it was a beautiful journey,” says co-founder Hibah Albakree.
Saudi women in arts such as Zahrah Al Ghamdi and Sarah Brahim are celebrated in this dedicated issue. Of the rise in international attention, revered Saudi art patron Basma Al Sulaiman offers, “It was very important for me to preserve the story of Saudi art for the new generation as a concrete archive of where we were and where we are today. I knew a day would come when everyone would look at this with a fresh eye.”
The biggest international Academy award-winning stars offer Vogue Arabia exclusive interviews for this issue. Humanitarian, actress, and director Angelina Jolie speaks of her new initiative with Guerlain to share bee-keeping skills with women in Cambodia, her eldest son’s birthplace. “We focused on training women, because we know women train others,” explains Jolie of the female-focused initiative. “Women in many places are very vulnerable, and so to be able to have an education, and a job, and a network is really important for them.”
Ahead of her upcoming fall film opposite George Clooney, actress Julia Roberts took on the role of “godmother” of the Chopard Trophy this May, celebrating emerging actors. She speaks exclusively to Vogue Arabia of her love of high jewelry, and the power of vulnerability, revealing that even with a career spanning more than 30 years, she nevertheless gets nervous ahead of red carpet events. “That excitement is still so terrifying but thrilling. I don’t think you should be blasé on the red carpet at the Cannes Film Festival,” she declares.
New fashion and fine jewelry designers are celebrated with two features highlighting those who are creating contemporary designs rooted in their country’s heritage. Among a dozen of such designers profiled, explore the pieces of Jwaher Jewels, Yataghan Jewellery, and Hindamme, named in references to the Arabic term meaning, “To possess perfect form in harmony in aesthetics.”
Such beauty is explored in a photographic feature shot in the province of Asir. Green mountains, colorful houses, and men adorned with flower crowns on their heads welcome authentic fashions, and genuine bliss experienced through camaraderie and hospitality so particular to Saudi.
Taking readers into the heart of the Kingdom, Dr Sami Angawi and his wife Amira open the doors to their sprawling home, Al Makkiyah, one of Jeddah’s proud symbols of cultural heritage. Al Makkiyah refers to Mecca. “That’s my origin, that’s my life,” says the founder and CEO of Amar for Architectural Heritage. “I was born in Mecca, where my family is originally from, and we are honored to be descendants of the Prophet’s family. When I decided to do something in Jeddah, I wanted to build a home that identifies and represents Mecca and Medina.”
All this and more in the June 2022 issue of Vogue Arabia.