Gigi and Bella Hadid celebrate women at Prabal Gurung NYFW show

The Prabal Gurung collection is modeled during Fashion Week in New York, Sunday, Feb. 11, 2018. (AP)
Updated 12 February 2018
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Gigi and Bella Hadid celebrate women at Prabal Gurung NYFW show

NEW YORK: With Gigi Hadid as his opener and her royally dressed sister, Bella, at the end, Prabal Gurung celebrated the strength, grace and resilience of women in a collection full of vibrant purples, reds and blues, inspired in part by the women-led Mosuo tribe of China.
Gurung, raised by a single mother in Nepal, said in a backstage interview he’s had matriarchies on his mind for a collection over the last four or five years, deciding to go ahead with this one now amid the recent movements bringing women together to fight back against sexual misconduct and oppression around the world.
His bright pinks, some in lush cashmere and wool knits hand done in Nepal, and his sari and sarong-inspired draping, he said, were references to the Gulabi Gang of women activists in northern India. They “adorn themselves in pink saris symbolic of their self-proclaimed power and fearlessness,” Gurung said, as they come to the defense of women, vigilante style.
There were other elements, feather and sequin detailing, the use of velvet and pearls, that generally symbolized ceremonial wardrobes.
Bella Hadid took a slow walk around the bright sand art Gurung displayed on the floor wearing a strapless, royal-red cape gown with a gold cord belt. Gigi Hadid opened the show in a porcelain-white cashmere turtleneck with fox trim on the sleeves, an orchid-colored skirt and a draped sarong overlay that wound around her neck and fell below the waist.
He also embraced the practical, in shearling and quilted puffer jackets inspired by the need to trek.
Gurung said he grew up in a culture where color is celebrated in the clothes. After seeing the wear-black protest at the Golden Globes, he said he wanted to show women “in their full feminine glory.” Back home, he said, “color and texture was kind of unnerving for men.”
Usually, Victoria Beckham takes a quick little bow and a wave at the end of her runway show. On Sunday, she changed it up a little, rushing over to the front row to embrace husband David Beckham and their three younger children, Romeo, Cruz and Harper.
Beckham may have been emotional because she was beginning what she called her label’s 10th anniversary year. In her show notes, the British designer noted that she wanted Sunday’s show to be “a quiet celebration of where we have come since those very first appointments here in New York.” In September, she plans to show at London Fashion Week to fete her anniversary.
Beckham was also showing in a new space on the Upper East Side of Manhattan — the James A. Burden House, an Italian Renaissance-style mansion completed in 1905. Guests climbed a grand spiral staircase to arrive at the show.
It was a collection heavy on workplace looks, with belted coats and jackets with defined shoulders and drawn-in waists. Her favorite item, Beckham said afterward, was a striking belted leopard-print coat, made from a chenille jacquard fabric that was based on Venetian upholstery. She also featured clingy leggings, ankle cuffs in leather, and a print on silk that resembled fur — “my take on fake fur,” she explained afterward.
At DVF, the label’s creator, Diane von Furstenberg, introduced a new (and returning) designer — Nathan Jenden — and a new muse for the brand: her 18-year-old granddaughter, Talita von Furstenberg, who modeled an outfit from the new collection and pronounced it “really cool” to embark on her new role.
Jenden, who returned to the label in January after working there for a decade until 2011, said he’d chosen the young von Furstenberg as his muse after watching her grow up. “I’ve known her since she was 2,” he noted.
The new collection included a lot of riffs on the iconic DVF wrap dress — some obvious and some more subtle.
“To me it was obvious what we needed to do,” Jenden said in an interview. “Richness, layer on layer of fabrics. There’s a lot of wrap. If you look carefully, everything is constructed so it feels like a little light jersey dress.”
Von Furstenberg, 71, made a pointed reference to the #MeToo movement in remarks to the crowd at her downtown showroom.
“I just wanted to say that with everything that’s happening with women right now ... I personally am more committed than ever to the empowerment of women,” she said. “And this is really important and the DVF woman through the generations has always been about being a woman in charge — in charge of her life, in charge of who she sleeps with, in charge of what she does. She’s in the driver’s seat.”
Jenden addressed the crowd as well, saying his designs were “all about being brave, about being unapologetically a woman, about celebrating femininity ... this is an homage to Diane, it’s an homage to Talita, it’s an homage to all women.”


Middle Eastern art exhibition celebrates life and work of Kahlil Gibran

Updated 16 August 2018
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Middle Eastern art exhibition celebrates life and work of Kahlil Gibran

LONDON: What is it about the work of the famed Lebanese poet, writer and artist Kahlil Gibran that touches the hearts of so many people across the world today, decades on from his death in 1931? An exhibition of art inspired by his writings held this month at Sotheby’s in London provided an opportunity to consider that question
“Kahlil Gibran: A Guide for our Times” was organized by the peace building movement, Caravan, and co-curated by Janet Rady and Marion Fromlet Baecker. It featured work by 38 artists from across the Middle East. The vision for the exhibition grew out of a recent book on Gibran titled “In Search of a Prophet: A Spiritual Journey with Kahlil Gibran” by the Rev. Canon Paul-Gordon Chandler, Caravan’s founding president.
Chandler is committed to breaking down cultural, racial and religious barriers. Through the Caravan initiative he has hosted numerous exhibitions using art to build bridges between the Middle East and the West. He sees the message contained in Gibran’s 1923 book “The Prophet” as profoundly relevant today.
Speaking to Arab News at the packed-out event, he said: “All the artists in this exhibition are trying to express how they have been inspired, challenged and encouraged by Gibran’s themes of peace, love and harmony for all of humanity. The thread running through all the work is the unique role that Gibran plays in reminding us that we are one family.
“The idea of the Caravan movement is that we are all journeying together, regardless of background, tradition or religion,” he continued. “The arts have a unique role in peace-building between the Middle East and the West.”
Lebanese-Syrian artist Rana Chalabi, who was raised in Lebanon, said she first read “The Prophet” at school, but made a point of re-reading it several times before starting work on her contribution to the piece, “On Giving.”
Her painting shows a throng of people gazing upwards at a transcendent figure — the Prophet — who seems to shimmer above the multitude in hues of gold.
“To me, Gibran’s Prophet represents an enlightened mystic,” she explained. “He was so ahead of his time and such a spiritual person.”
For Chalabi, Gibran’s work continues to resonate. “The wisdom of Gibran is very much needed today,” she said. “He could explain his ideas in a simple way to people. In his day he was misunderstood and branded a heretic by those who missed the essence of what he was saying and took his teachings at a very superficial level.”
Chalabi was clearly pleased to have been invited to submit work to Caravan’s exhibition.
“I believe in what Rev. Chandler is trying to do,” she said. “We have to bridge the differences in the world and try to understand each other’s religions, cultures and perspectives.”
Bahraini artist Lulwa Al-Khalifa showed a striking painting of a woman, titled
“Blind Faith.” The starkly expressive figure looks perplexed and stares out from the painting with an abstract and tense expression.
Al-Khalifa said: “There are a lot of emotions I wanted to convey through this work. I was exploring the concept of faith and how sometimes people have to abandon some of the ideas that give them their own sense of identity and take a leap of faith. I consider the question ‘How much of you are you prepared to surrender for your faith?’ Faith is surrender with cause but without proof. Sometimes people have to face ambivalence, fear and anxiety on this journey.”
Al-Khalifa also stressed how relevant Gibran outlook remains today.
“I love how Gibran explored many aspects of many themes. His thought process is very fresh and modern — even today,” she said. “It is not rigid, but very hopeful and expresses love and acceptance.
“I really believe that all people are united as human beings. But we try so hard to separate from each other, even though in reality we all have the same concerns and loves and hates. We should come together,” she continued.
Lebanese artist Christine Saleh Jamil echoed Al-Khalifa’s sentiments. “Gibran means so much to me. Reading his book ‘The Prophet’ taught me a lot about life, how to live peacefully and accept things in a harmonious way,” she said. “His message is very important today.”
Jamil created “The Wanderer,” a captivating image of Gibran as a child, for the exhibition. Her work, she said, was based on a photograph and inspired by Chandler’s book, which, she said, “took me back to my childhood in Beirut.”
“That’s why I chose to represent Gibran as a child and in this image you see his face set among birch trees, as he loved nature,” she explained.
Lebanon’s ambassador to the UK, Rami Mortada — a special guest at the event — spoke to Arab News about Gibran’s legacy.
“The interest shown here tonight and the big turnout is an indication of how the message he stands for is relevant, badly needed and timely in our world today,” Mortada said. “It is a message of harmony and peace, of removing barriers between nations and cultures, and of interfaith dialogue. This is what Gibran encapsulated. If I had to sum up his work up in one word, I would say (it is) inspirational.”
Another ambassador, Dr. Alisher Shaykhov from Uzbekistan, stressed that Gibran’s work is of truly global significance.
“Gibran’s fame extends far beyond the Middle East. He is a person who has succeeded in transferring the spirit of the Islamic people in a harmonious way,” he observed. “One of his most important messages is that of the unifying elements, rather than the differences, between religions. He has a gift of being able to express the feelings of the people. The artists here, imbued with his spirit, have transferred his message through their artworks in their own personal way.”
Art enthusiast Mira Takla said she had attended a number of ‘Caravan’ art events and always found their message very persuasive.
“As far as I am concerned these events do more for interracial understanding and comprehension and tolerance of different cultures than many other such initiatives,” she said.
Another guest. Anthony Wynn, gave a good example of Gibran’s cross-cultural appeal, pointing out that he had often heard Gibran quoted at weddings in the UK — particularly a verse from “On Marriage” from “The Prophet”:
“Love one another, but make not a bond of love/Let it rather be a moving sea between the shores of your souls/Fill each other’s cup but drink not from one cup/Give one another of your bread but eat not from the same loaf/Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone/Even as the strings of a lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.”