Afghans made quite a splash at the 2013 Grammy Awards! Beyonce wore pantsuit designed by Afghan-Brit designer Osman Yousefzada, a far cry from her revealing get-up at the Superbowl
Daily Beast: Apparently Beyoncé got the memo about covering up at the Grammys. After the revealing lace doily she wore at the Superbowl—the Grammys on Sunday night brought out Beyoncé in an understated black and white jumpsuit. And, because it was a jumpsuit rather than a dress, the Twitterverse went wild.
It looked at first like the work of Tom Ford (remember Julianne Moore’s dress at the Golden Globes?) but was, actually, the creation of Osman Yousefzada, a young British designer (whose parents are from Afghanistan) who graduated from Central Saint Martins and began his own label in September 2005. The jumpsuit, a part of the Spring 2013 collection which hits store this week, was handpicked by Beyoncé‘s stylists from the designer’s LA showroom. “It’s Beyoncé. Beyoncé,” Yousefzada told us through a representative. “She is wearing my pantsuit. Is there anything else I can say? It’s Beyoncé.”
Tags: beyonce, osman yousefzada, grammys 2013
Tags: tamanna roashan, make-up artist
Khaama Press: Given the amount of images and headlines devoted to Afghanistan over the past three decades of war, one would be forgiven for concluding that a rich culture and civilization had never existed there; let alone a long history of cultural exchange with the West.
Yet back in 1969 Afghanistan was part of the hippy trail, an exotic destination for both the world’s fashion elite and young Americans and Europeans looking for adventure. What they found was a vibrant, modern Kabul teaming with traffic and stores selling the latest furniture and fashions. But there was also the centuries-old bazaars, a stately museum and Mughal gardens waiting to be discovered. A half-century ago, Afghan women pursued careers in medicine, men and women mingled casually at movie theaters and university campuses in Kabul and factories in the suburbs churned out textiles and other goods.
This was the Afghanistan that the Vogue team encountered upon landing at Kabul’s International Airport in 1969. The result was a fashion story titled “Afghan Adventure,” which appeared in Vogue’s December issue that year. In addition to photographing models amongst ancient ruins and colorful bazaars, the accompanying article also featured the Capital’s bright young things; amongst them a young fashion designer named Safia Tarzi.
Yet women in Afghanistan had cultivated a taste for Western fashions and Vogue long before the publication came to town. By 1961 over a third of women living in Kabul were wearing Western dress, thanks in part to the enterprising efforts of one American woman named Jeanne Beecher; the wife of an airline executive who had lived in the country for three years.
During that time she began to sense a desire amongst Afghan women for greater access to Western fashions. Beecher devised a plan to establish a dressmaking school in Kabul that would teach women how to sew the latest Western clothes. At the time Pan Am Airlines was running a Technical Assistance Program that provided assistance to organizations bettering the lives of others. Beecher thus approached the airline company about providing sewing supplies and patterns to make the school a reality.
Pan Am sent out a request for patterns, to which Vogue Pattern Services responded by donating 200 patterns for the school. For Beecher it was a great coup, as Vogue Patterns at the time was considered the leading source of fashionable designs. At the turn of the last century, it was still not uncommon for women to sew their own clothes at home. When Vogue magazine launched its Vogue Patterns in 1899 it was a weekly feature that allowed women to copy the latest styles. By 1950 Vogue Patterns became one of the few companies authorized to duplicate the designs of leading houses in Paris, Rome and New York.
With the help of the Woman’s Welfare Society, sponsored by the Royal family, Mrs. Beecher was able to open her dressmaking school, which she ran with the assistance of eight volunteer teachers, many of them the American wives of Pan Am employees.
In the Fall of 1959, 32 Afghan women enrolled at the school. They met in classes of eight under the guidance of two American instructors, and worked for an hour and half each week for several months. The women who attended those first classes, represented the city’s middle and upper classes, and had been in purdah, only appearing veiled in public, up until that point.
Using both local and imported fabrics, the women had cut and fitted their patterns at the school, under the supervision of the American instructors, and then sewed them together at their homes. By June 15, 1960, 15 of the students were ready to model their completed garments in a fashion show, a practice that was unheard of in the past.
Yet by the time Jeanne Beecher had left Afghanistan, a second fashion show had not only taken place, but Pan Am had sent additional patterns donated by Vogue and more sewing supplies, thus setting down the foundation for a local fashion industry that would provide new opportunities for Afghan women.
Tags: afghanistan, vogue, fashion
Beauty and the East TV’s Best Dressed winners from the 2012 Academy Awards are as follows. Milla Jovovich and Michelle Williams TIE for Best Dressed!!
OUR BEST DRESSED WINNER: MILLA JOVOVICH
OUR BEST DRESSED WINNER: MICHELLE WILLIAMS
Tags: 2012 academy awards, oscars, best dressed, michelle williams, milla jovovich, emma stone, louse roe, berenice bejo, gwyneth paltrow, sarah hyland
Daily Mail UK: A new modelling agency for Muslim girls will next week launch in New York City. Underwraps will represent beautiful Muslims proving that the heady world of fashion does not need to exist at pains with the sanctity of Islamic customs. In an interview with Fashionista, Underwraps’ founder, Nailah Lymus, explained that she wished to bridge the gap between modesty and fashion.
‘[Muslim models] come from a background where they dress Islamically appropriate, but to be in this industry and to be a model you kind of have to forfeit that,’ the 27-year-old said.
‘That’s why I wanted to start this agency, so you don’t have to do that. You don’t have to lose who you are to be in this business.’
The American-born Muslim, who dresses to comply with faith-led beliefs of modesty, started designing children’s clothes before turning to her hand to adult creations.
The designer behind Amirah Creations, Ms Lymus had her first runway show during New York’s Fashion Week last September, forging a path for non-traditional approaches to Islamic fashion and custom. She is now venturing into the world of modelling and has timed the launch to coincide with New York Fashion Week, just days away.
It’s not an easy pool to leap into - many models are expected to reveal flesh and Ms Lymus told the fashion site that exposing skin does seem to be a fast track to receiving attention and recognition.
Her ambitions are no less lofty, however: ‘We take things seriously and are professional just like other models. During fashion week I’ll be sending them out to castings just like anyone else,’ she told the site.
With four girls in development, reports the site, the aim is to sign up strong women who can not only work in the highly-pressured industry but take on the common misconceptions of the Islamic world.
There is no doubt that she may well have a ready-made market for her fresh models: Fashion houses enjoy good business in the Muslim world, with many a well-heeled Emirati or Saudi Arab woman clamouring for the latest in Milan, London, New York and Paris fashions.
The move follows a groundswell of pioneering Muslim faces in the fashion world.
Lancôme recently signed Tunisian, Hanaa Ben Abdesslem, its first ever Muslim model to represent its cosmetics.
Though not adhering to Islamic modesty standards - and at odds with Ms Lymus’ ideals - last September saw Palestinian magazine, Lilac, in a first for Arab magazines, feature a model in a bikini on its front cover.
The stunning model, Huda Naccache, was an Arab Israeli. While applauded for her role in womens’ rights in the region, she was also widely criticised by Arab commentators for exposing her body so publicly.
Tags: muslim modeling agency, underwraps, nailah lymus, islamic, fashion
The National: At just eight years old, Rachel Zoe began establishing a name for herself in fashion by styling her neighbour for school. Now 40, she is one of the most sought-after stylists in Hollywood, with her own fashion line launched last autumn to boot.
Success in America opened doors for the Rachel Zoe Collection across the world - the Middle East included.
“We have seen a lot of interest from the Middle Eastern buyers,” says Zoe. “They like the variety of lengths in the silhouettes, the layering options, the flowing fabrics and attention to detail.”
Zoe’s resort 2011 began selling in the UAE last year in Saks Fifth Avenue, Harvey Nichols and Symphony Boutique in Dubai. It is distributed in Lebanon, Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.
It helps that her collection respects Middle Eastern traditions and yet comes with a sophisticated, modern DNA. The designer was already a fan of the unique fashion sense that can be seen across the region before putting her clothes in stores here.
“I love all the rich textures, bright colours and shine, lots of layering pieces,” she says. “It is just so sophisticated - it’s everything I stand for.” Over the years back in her home country, Zoe has been on the receiving end of some harsh criticism. Some said all her clients looked the same. Others whispered that she influenced them to lose weight drastically. She famously fell out with some of them, most notably with Nicole Richie. Through it all, Zoe stayed silent, putting out one stunning red carpet look after another.
“It’s something that has always come so naturally for me,” she says. “I would find myself subconsciously offering styling tips to people all the time.” Growing up in Short Hills, New Jersey, it was her parent’s interest in travel and collecting art that exposed Zoe to different cultures and eras from early on. “It helped me absorb variety – of what was going on in the world. You need that in fashion or you’d be boring. You need that in life, period.” And then there was the bible of fashion – American Vogue. “I like to argue I was born with one in hand,” she jokes. “But honestly, I have been reading fashion magazines ever since I can remember - probably before I could even read. I used to just flip through the pages and admire the pictures.”
At 15, she made her first significant fashion purchase; like a true-blue fashion lover, she did it in Paris. “I bought the monogrammed Louis Vuitton messenger bag,” she remembers. “I took all of my saved money, literally every penny, from my bank account.”
Although her parents were not pleased, the purchase laid the groundwork for an appreciation of quality and faith in her own judgement. In the years to come, Zoe would move to Hollywood and apply it all to her first client - Jennifer Garner. The likes of Cameron Diaz, Keira Knightley, Eva Mendes, Liv Tyler, Anne Hathaway, Kate Bekinsale, Kate Hudson and many more would follow.
“I am so fortunate to work with some of the most incredible women in Hollywood,” she says, skirting the issue when asked to name her favourite. “I love all my clients. We always have so much fun when we are together - they’re an extension of my family.”
In September 2008, Zoe cashed in on her own growing celebrity status with the debut of her reality television series, The Rachel Zoe Project. The series followed Zoe, her two fashion associates, Taylor Jacobson and Brad Goreski, as well as her husband and business partner, Rodger Berman, as they went about the art and business of dressing celebrities.
By the time the fourth season started last year, Goreski had left Zoe to work on his own. Goreski was accused of using the show and Zoe to build his profile and of taking clients with him as he left – and has since made a successful name for himself in the world of celebrity stylists. His own reality show, It’s a Brad Brad World, started in the US this month. On reports the pair have not spoken since the split, which was portrayed as amicable, Zoe says only “it doesn’t affect me at all”.
Last year Zoe gave birth to her first child, a boy named Skylar who is arguably the best dressed tot in Hollywood. Much as she’d love to spend every waking minute with him, Zoe still managed to launch her fashion line – the Rachel Zoe Collection – with the ultimate aim of developing it into a lifestyle brand.
“As a stylist, I really learnt to appreciate great tailoring,” she says. “I learnt what silhouettes flatter certain body types, what fabrics mix well with certain textures - I think I have always been subconsciously filing this information away for my own collection one day.”
Autumn/winter 2012 will mark the first anniversary of the fashion line. What has inspired her for the new collection? “I find inspiration everywhere I go – mainly Paris, London and New York. I am inspired by old films, music, books, actors and actresses.”
True to her unique mix-and-match vibe, fashion icons of the 1960s and 1970s, such as Brigitte Bardot and Bianca Jagger, along with modern influences such as Carine Roitfeld and Marc Jacobs, find resonance in her vision.
Many celebrities have tried to branch out into fashion. Apart from Victoria Beckham, not many have been taken seriously. What sets Zoe apart? “Passion. I am a huge believer that you must love what you do in order to be successful. Determination and commitment - it’s a very long process, nothing happens overnight. And of course a great team - I know I could never have done this alone,” she says.
“I think it’s ultimately really about the clothes. I just wanted to put out a collection that I was proud of.”
Tags: rachel zoe, middle east, uae, dubai
Beauty and the East TV’s Best Dressed winners from the 2012 Golden Globe Awards are:
OUR BEST DRESSED WINNER: ANGELINA JOLIELEONARDO DICAPRIO
JESSICA ALBAMATTHEW MORRISON
NICOLE KIDMAN DIANE LANE
Tags: 2012 golden globes fashion, best dressed, angelina jolie, leonardo dicaprio, jessica alba, matthew morrison, nicole kidman, diane lane, heidi klum
Kim Kardashian was in Dubai to promote her signature fragrance at Sephora in the Dubai Mall and open the first non-U.S. Millions of Milkshakes location, according to E! Online. That doesn’t mean she can’t have some fun shopping: Kardashian confirmed she tried on traditional burkas and even a niqab at a local marketplace on her Twitter account.
“That’s me!” she tweeted, adding a retweet of a picture of her trying on the garments.
People at the fitting told E! Online that the bodyguards had to protect Kardashian and her mom as people, who sounded like fans, called out to them. Kardashian also tried on caftans and tunics as well.
The Daily Mail said that Kardashian opted to buy one of the outfits and left the store wearing the burka, but opted to keep the face-covering veil off. The reality TV star flashed some leg as she walked around the marketplace. Still, it was a far cry from the sheer blouse she wore entering the store and her typical curve-hugging outfits.
According to Kardashian’s Twitter account, she’s really enjoying visiting the United Arab Emirates. “Good morning Dubai! I’m having the best time here! I got some amazing traditional souvenirs to bring home to the fam, they’re gonna love!” she tweeted on Oct. 13.
Tags: kim kardashian, dubai
Newsweek: When 20-year-old Hind Sahli, a brown-skinned young woman with dark shoulder-length hair, was growing up in Casablanca, she used to watch television shows like America’s Next Top Model and daydream about being on a fashion runway. Sahli was appropriately tall and thin, but in Morocco, the beauty ideal is a voluptuous figure. She was mercilessly teased for her spare frame and would soothe her hurt feelings by sashaying around her living room.
Sahli, who is both Arab and Muslim, was also growing up in a culture where modeling bumps up against significant cultural taboos. As a matter of religion and tradition, female modesty is expected—not the kind of provocative and exhibitionist behavior the mainstream fashion industry rewards.
As Sahli strutted around the room, her mother—a deeply religious homemaker who wears the hijab—was amused by these preoccupations. Sahli’s father, a policeman, was not. Still, neither of them had much to say. It was just make-believe, after all.
About that same time, in the tourist town of Nabeul, Tunisia, a young woman with the gamine features of Audrey Hepburn was having similarly fanciful thoughts. Hanaa Ben Abdesslem had always drawn lingering glances because of her soaring height and impossibly thin frame. The stares made her self-conscious and shy. But when she flipped through fashion magazines, she’d gaze at those “tall, thin, beautiful women, and I thought perhaps someday I could feel at ease.”
Five years ago, the Arab world was mostly disconnected from the global modeling network. In the absence of established agencies and international magazines, modeling wasn’t even a defined profession. Foreign travel was difficult both logistically and culturally. Then there were all manner of preconceived notions from around the globe about what it meant to be an Arab woman.
To accomplish their goals, Sahli and Ben Abdesslem would have to step outside the boundaries of tradition, leave the security of their families, and breach the confines of once unyielding cultures and prejudices—not just in the Arab world but beyond it.
And that’s precisely what they have done. In the last year, especially, both Sahli and Ben Abdesslem have made significant headway—between them, they have walked in shows for labels such as Givenchy, Ralph Lauren, Louis Vuitton, Jean Paul Gaultier, Vera Wang, and Phillip Lim. They have posed for Italian Vogue and French Vogue and shot advertisements for Top Shop and Lancôme. Though they have crossed paths only a handful of times, the two women are now inexorably linked through timing, culture, the assumptions others make about them, and their desire to represent 21st-century Arab women to the world.
The fashion industry tends to treat cultural differences as entertaining biography; ethnicity as little more than aesthetics. But the recent experiences of Sahli and Ben Abdesslem show them to be charting a new course on the global runway. For them, fashion is not about gossipy chatter and luxurious indulgences, or even primarily about commerce and entertainment. It is about empowerment, opportunity, and modernity. It is a chance for these young women to be seen, to be heard, and, quite simply, to be.
“It’s given me independence,” Ben Abdesslem says of her career. “It’s given me confidence in myself as a woman.”
Paradoxically, women from the Arab world have long been among the most voracious consumers of fashion. Indeed, the economics of the French haute couture industry relies on Middle Eastern customers. But their consumption is mostly private. The industry adores places such as Marrakech as backdrops for an exotic fashion shoot. Yet while the runways have welcomed models from South America, Eastern Europe, Africa, and the rest, Arab women have until now been largely absent.
Tags: new faces of islam, muslim models, sahli, hanaa ben abdesslem
SWEATER & MAXI SKIRT COMBO
THE COLOR JADE
BRIGHT COLORED PANTS
CHUNKY SWEATER & SKIRT
Tags: fall 2011 fashion trends