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Zac Efron on His First Fragrance, Memories, and Wanderlust

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Zac Efron made his Middle East debut on March 31 with an appearance at the Dubai Mall’s Paris Gallery, followed by a lavish party at Hai D3 to celebrate the launch of Hugo Boss Hugo Iced. The Baywatch actor is the face of the new fragrance – Vogue Arabia caught up with him to discuss the first fragrance he ever owned (spoiler alert: it’s not a cologne,) favorite memories, and his wanderlust.

Behind the scenes with Imaan Hammam

The New-Wave Way to Wear 80s Party Apparel

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“Power dress to a synth-heavy soundtrack – the 80s are back,” declares the fashion desk in Vogue Arabia’s December issue. Rethink the power shoulder for party season because the major fashion houses have supersized their silhouettes and gone back to the future with polka dots and super sparkly creations destined for the dance floor.

Ignite the sartorial party in your wardrobe now with a Vogue shoot that’ll prompt your style extrovert to take an outing.


Model: Liz Kennedy

Photography: Mann at Things by People

Styling: Claire Carruthers

Makeup: Toni Malt at Things by People

Hair: Pablo Kuemin at Things by People

Film: Jullz Bek

Related Read: How to wear head-to-toe metallics

Exclusive: 11 Minutes with Sandra Mansour in Film, Fashion & Beyond

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“To say the least, this was a very exciting project for me,” muses Sandra Mansour, founder of her eponymous label, when asked about her dreamy, new campaign Eleven Minutes unveiled exclusively on today. “It was a medium I’ve wanted to do for a very long time. I worked with some of the most talented individuals to bring this to life,” she adds.

Teaming up with award-winning film directer Mounia Akl and creative director Laurent Saad, the Lebanese womenswear designer created 11, one-minute long videos shot in 11 separate locations in an effort to artfully visualize the woman she has in mind when creating her ultra-feminine pieces. “Me and Akl spoke and decided that we wanted to make something new and unique,” she reveals. “We have two very different skills and we wanted to combine them both to create the optimal expression of surrealism in both fashion and film.” This resulted in a cumulative series of puzzle-like scenarios brought together by captivating imagery, sounds, colors, and fashion, which took approximately eight-months to produce.

Photo: Sam Rawadi

“We reinvented dresses specifically for this film,” says Mansour, who dipped into her Fall 2017 archive (Which is called Doux Rêves, or “Sweet Dreams”) to recreate the dazzling gowns handstitched with sequins, and feminine, tulle numbers — which she honed during a stint with Elie Saab— worn by the models as they paraded around against the backdrop of Lebanon’s deserted parking lots, wheat fields, and craggy Beqaa Valley throughout the subsequent clips. “For instance, one of the dresses worn by the actors in Minute 9, appears in the Fall 2017 collection in purple with multi-colored geometrical patterns, but I recreated it in a soft, powdery blue color palette.”

Sandra Mansour

Sandra Mansour Fall 2017

Many of these scenes were directly inspired by personal, real-life experiences that translated into filming them as abstract-like dreams. “Each video revolves around the uncontrollable subconscious and its power to create,” says Mansour.

Saad strategically came up with the idea to create 11 one-minute clips, rather than one, 11-minute video because he believes attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, so this makes it easier for viewers to absorb. Mansour adds “You have several dreams each night, and you tend to jump from one to another, this is why dreams tend to seem nonsensical and that’s what we wanted to reflect in Eleven Minutes.”

The Lebanese designer settled on the intuitive number 11 as a sort of ode to William Shakespeare. “Eleven Minutes is inspired by A Midsummer Nights Dream, by Shakespeare, which was produced by Vitagraph studios in 1909,” she notes. The play was also 11 minutes long. The titles given to each video are a direct riff on André Breton’s poems and books, as her own personal homage to her favorite author. For instance, Minute 02 titled “Trajectoire du Rêve”  is based on the 1938 book by Breton, meanwhile, Minute 10 (“Les Pas Perdus”) is inspired by the writer’s  debut collection of critical and polemical essays.

Photo: Sam Rawadi

With Eleven Minutes, the designer proves in one swift move that she’s capable of even more than designing intricately-detailed, red carpet-worthy ensembles beloved by Soraya Bakhtair and Princess Ekaterina of Hanover (who actually wed in a Sandra Mansour bridal gown this summer.) However, Mansour, who was directly involved in each aspect of the film, credits a team of young Arab talent for helping manifest her dreams into reality. Collaborating with local filmmakers, composers, and colorists, including Jana Saleh, who composed the entire film score from scratch, and Belal Hibri who assigned the color schemes to make these clips as surreal as possible, the designer was able to dream up 11 artful, subsequent scenarios to represent the different facets (vibrant, bold, and elegant) of the Sandra Mansour woman.

Sandra Mansour

Sandra Mansour Fall 2017

In addition to the spell-binding new video campaign, the House of Mansour, which launched in 2010, has plenty to be excited about. “We are redesigning and expanding our Atelier in Beirut. We also have a new website on the way, as well as a Bridal and additional capsule collections.”

Mansour has also been expanding her label in Europe and the Middle East, and trunk shows with Moda Operandi have made her sought-after pieces available to woman worldwide, although she is adamant that her Lebanese roots will always play a significant role in her brand. “My heritage is a part of me, therefore, it is always indirectly referenced in all that I do. But since we target women of all nationalities and fashion has no boundaries, we remain global.”

Sandra Mansour wears Sandra Mansour Fall ’17. Photo: Sam Rawadi

Watch Eleven Minutes by Sandra Mansour, and directed by Mounia Akl, ahead.

This Royal Bride Chose a Sandra Mansour Wedding Dress (and Looked Incredible)

Inside the Issue: The Future-Proof Way to ‘Pretty Makeup’

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In the December issue, soft rose hues get a tough makeover with potent jewels in ruby, diamond, and gold. Model Blanca Padilla wears a sequence of striking new-season accessories with head-turning make-up looks that are at the bleeding edge of cool for the new year ahead. Photographed by Erez Sabag and styled by Anya Ziourova, consider this shoot your quick-fire masterclass on what to wear now.

Blanca Padilla

Blanca Padilla photographed by Erez Sabag and styled by Anya Ziourova for the December issue of Vogue Arabia

Production Credits

Model: Blanca Padilla

Director & Photographer: Erez Sabag

Beauty Editor: Anya Ziourova

Camera & Editing: Daniel Kaijzer

Make-up: Georgina Billington

Hair: Fernando Torrent

Nails: Julie Kandalec

Producer: Marcus Donates

Color Grading: Erez Sabag Studio

Wardrobe Assistant: Stefaniya Chekalina

Digital Tech: John Spyrou

Location: Erez Sabag Studio

Related Read: Step inside the world of Vogue Arabia

These Women Have United to Campaign About Modesty and Hijab

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Designer, Vogue Arabia star, and social activist Safiya Abdallah ignited a #>Hijabi campaign about the diversity of the modest dressing movement this week. Abdallah wants to shatter stereotypes surrounding the hijab, as well as kickstarting a positive, self-affirming conversation about the different styles women connect with the ways of modesty.

Far from the term defining them or overpowering their dynamic personalities, the five women featured in the hijabi campaign video show off their different interpretations. The women joining Safiya are government council member and speaker H.E. Sara Al Madani, H&M’s first hijabi model, Mariah Idrissi, NYC influencer Maria Alia, and LA-based journalist Shyema Azam. The message is a powerful one, and serves to demonstrate the highly personal, often misrepresented depth of diversity in this global movement. decodes Abdallah’s journey behind the campaign and muses on the glass ceiling it could break.

What is the most pressing message you want to share?
The message I find most important to tell the entire world is to open their minds to the truth, that modesty has a different definition for every individual. I’ve found that, having worn hijab for the last six years after living most of my life as a non-jabi, has given me a fine-tuned perspective on both realms. There is this unspoken division between the two and I would like to use this campaign to start that much-needed conversation. We as women desperately need to eradicate the lines and boxes we put each other in to feel “secure.”

I first designed the T shirt you’ll see throughout the campaign that reads “> Hijabi > Non-jabi”

I wrote the meaning behind the shirt in slam poetry form:
~While modesty and modest fashion is on the rise,
~what defines modesty is a question on many people’s minds
~every individual expresses their modesty in individual ways
~rather than criticize let’s conceptualize a way
~to uplift one another rather than tear one another down
~celebrate just how far we have come

Essentially, the T-shirt states that we are more than a head cover, we are more than a “non-jabi;” someone who does not cover. Society reduces us to these boxes that we no longer wish to be put in. We are much more than a yard of fabric, we are individuals.

hijab Safiya abdallah

Safiya Abdallah photographed by Francesco Scotti for Vogue Arabia, September 2017

What defines modest dressing and how personal is it?
Being that each individual has their own meaning as to what modesty embodies, it is one of the most personal descriptions there is. I have interviewed many women from all walks of life on and off the record about modesty and, funnily enough, it almost never has much to do with a hijab. The world has been going on about the “modest” movement for years, some say modest clothing and hijab equate oppression when, on the contrary, it exists to give women the choice of who is able to see her “beauty.” I consider myself to be a modern hijab-wearing woman – most times you will find me in one of my “saf” beanies, a pair of track bottoms and the “>” tee I teased in the campaign. Other times, depending on the occasion, I will wear a gracefully draped silk scarf. After becoming a designer, I feel modesty has taken on a plethora of new meanings and I like to think of myself as someone who can instill and accept all of them.

Related: How modesty became the new cool

Describe modest dressing in three words.
Graceful, elegant, empowering.

Complete this sentence. A chic woman is always…
Humble, confident, knows her worth, and owns a great coat/robe! Or two.

What is your work/life mantra?
There is no boundary I cannot overcome or dream I cannot achieve as long as I work hard, grow, and learn from my mistakes.


The Muses of Modesty feature photographed by Francesco Scotti for Vogue Arabia, September 2017

What is the most supportive encouragement you’ve ever received via Instagram?
1. My first magazine feature being in Vogue Arabia’s first September issue has to be the biggest encouragement to date. The amount of pride, love, and appreciation I have for Mr Arnaut and the Vogue Arabia team is incomparable. Vogue Arabia has an aura no one can match, Vogue is the epitome of class and a fashion guide to all. Vogue Arabia supports raw talent and gives it the edge needed for the region. For these reasons I was beyond honored to have my first editorial spread be with Vogue Arabia.

2. In October I was given the opportunity to dress Catt Sadler, an extremely down-to-earth soul who graced Dubai with her raw unapologetic self at the Annual Simply conference. Imagine my shock when Catt featured my design in her blog!

3. This campaign, despite being a work in progress since August. I vividly remember the night the vision was incepted, I couldn’t sleep and wanted to blog about my feelings on modesty and how people feel entitled to push their definition and ideology onto others. I wanted a wider reach, I wanted to go big, or go home. This campaign has helped restore my faith in what people can achieve when we are all affected by a movement or defined by a term that has no black and white meaning.

What prompted you to make this video and how did you choose the people joining you?
This video is my message to the world that hijab is not the only definition of modesty. This campaign was meant to evoke emotion and relate to so many women of all generations who feel the same as the women in this campaign. Its purpose was to bring awareness to the widely misconstrued stereotypes. If we cannot stand together despite our differences, how can we ever expect others to accept what they do not understand?

I chose the girls in the video to represent different women from different media backgrounds, who share strong feelings about the message. Each woman embodies the balance of those qualities: they are graceful, elegant, and empowering to others. I also targeted women from strategic areas to show the similarities regardless of where each woman resides. We have hijab-wearing women living and working in media in the heart of NYC, the local Emirati who is a wonder woman and mother with no barriers holding her back, the UK-based first hijabi-wearing model traveling and empowering women globally, the mixed race entrepreneur and mother designing and living in Dubai, and the marketing executive turned blogger and public figure based in Dubai.

What are the different types of women you have in mind when you design your collections?
I am designing for all women, with a strong emphasis on the modern woman. As women, we need key pieces in our wardrobes that can easily be styled to take us from a day to night, work to a dinner out. My upcoming collection is something very special to me as it is so different to what I have done before but, of course, not without signature elements. Snakes are the key focus and element throughout the collection. The inspiration came to me when I encountered one and gained somewhat of an obsession for their majestic nature and how they adapt to any environment. Women adapt in similar ways, going from work to a dinner, day to night. My debut fashion show is happening at Dubai Modest Fashion Week this December 8 and 9, where the world will receive a first glimpse at eight looks from my upcoming Fall 2018 collection, “Serpentine Queen.” I cannot wait for the world to see it. My “Serpentine Queen” collection will include snake graphics, prints, and all things serpentine – minus the real snakes.

Join the movement with #>Hijabi #DulcebySafiya on social media

Related Read: How modesty became the new cool

April 9, 2017

Zac Efron on His First Fragrance, Memories, and Wanderlust

Zac Efron made his Middle East debut on March 31 with an appearance at the Dubai Mall’s Paris Gallery, followed by a lavish party at Hai D3 to celebrate the launch of Hugo Boss Hugo Iced. The Baywatch actor is the face of the new fragrance – Vogue Arabia caught up with him to discuss the first fragrance he ever owned (spoiler alert: it’s not a cologne,) favorite memories, and his wanderlust.

Behind the scenes with Imaan Hammam

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