In a world-exclusive collaboration, the legendary designer and photographer Karl Lagerfeld photographed Bella Hadid for Vogue Arabia’s first September issue, in 2017. The striking Arabic and English covers were shot on location in Lagerfeld’s Paris studio for the most coveted issue of the year. Wearing Fendi, the part-Palestinian runway star and street style hero smolders on the cover. “The inspiration for the Fall collection is for all the girls of today – and Bella Hadid is one of the girls of the moment: she represents the strong, bold, and elegant woman of today,” Lagerfeld said at the time.
Reflecting on working with the late designer, Vogue Arabia’s editor-in-chief Manuel Arnaut notes, “Having the chance to work with Karl Lagerfeld for our first-ever September issue was an incredible opportunity for our publication. Vogue Arabia was not even one year old and having such an iconic name photographing Bella Hadid for us positioned Vogue Arabia as one of the leading new titles in the world. Besides the glamorous end result, with Hadid looking like a mysterious femme fatale, the issue was of enormous importance for the region. Hadid was dressed in Fendi, but in modest looks perfect for Arabia. Lagerfeld’s lens helped us to shed a light on the region’s sartorial choices, opening a dialogue of inclusion and acceptance and paying homage to the style of Arab women.”
Following the unveiling of the striking cover, Hadid took to her Instagram to express her excitement, writing, “Wow. Thank you. September issue of @voguearabia shot by Mr. Incredible, Karl Lagerfeld. I am so honored and proud to be on this cover of Vogue Arabia.” She continued, “Not only to be shot by the one and only Karl, to be touched by the legend Peter Philips, hair done up by the unrivaled Sam McKnight, and styled by the one and only Amanda Harlech, but specifically to represent and cherish my half-Palestinian blood from my father and his strong, loving, wonderful Arab side of my family.” She went on to dedicate the cover to her “teta Khair Hadid, her family, and all of her Muslim friends.”
“Thank you, Vogue Arabia, for continuing to celebrate and accept all different cultures and customs the way we all should,” she concluded.
The cover was picked up by major publications including WWD and New York Times, opening up a worldwide discussion about the role of fashion and the new women in the Arab world. NYT aptly put across the question: “Do they continue with the original conception of a brand, centered on Western ideals, or should a brand strategy shift to both localize and diversify as the cultural expressions of the regions become ever more dominant?” It’s a fine line that Vogue Arabia continues to work on.
The prolific Lagerfeld passed away in Paris on Tuesday February 19, at the age of 85. The news comes just weeks after Lagerfeld was absent from the Chanel Spring 2019 Couture show. A statement released following the show revealed that the designer “was feeling tired” and had asked Virginie Viard, director of the creative studio of the house, to represent him and greet the guests alongside the bride.
May he rest in peace.
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