Afghan institute that empowers girls and pioneers of hard rock, Metallica win music’s ‘Nobel Prize’

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Musicians Robert Trujillo (L) and James Hetfield of Metallica perform onstage at the Rose Bowl on July 29, 2017 in Pasadena, California. (Kevin Winter/Getty Images/AFP)
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Afghan music students play during a rehearsal at The Afghanistan National Institute of Music in Kabul. In the face of death threats and accusations they are dishonoring their families by daring to perform, the women of Afghanistan’s first all-female orchestra are charting a new destiny for themselves through music (Wakil Kohsar/AFP)
Updated 14 February 2018
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Afghan institute that empowers girls and pioneers of hard rock, Metallica win music’s ‘Nobel Prize’

STOCKHOLM: An Afghan music institute that has empowered girls in the war-torn country and metal pioneers Metallica on Wednesday shared the Polar Music Prize, often called music’s Nobel.
The laureates will each receive one million Swedish kronor (101,000 euros, $125,000) at a televised gala in Stockholm on June 14 in the presence of King Carl XVI Gustaf.
The Afghan National Institute of Music was honored along with its founder, Ahmad Sarmast, who started the school in 2010 in a rare coeducational initiative in the war-torn country.
The institute, which teaches both Afghan and Western music, helped generate the country’s first all-female orchestra which performed last yar at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Sarmast, who has faced substantial risk in a country where both music and girls’ education was banned under the repressive 1996-2001 Taliban regime, said he was “very excited, honored and privileged” to win the prize.
“We believe that our two recipients, although from very contrasting worlds, exemplify the mission of the Polar Music Prize, and that is to honor musicians and music organizations whose work has made a difference to people’s lives,” Marie Ledin, managing director of the award, said in a statement.
“Metallica is loved and admired by millions of hard rock fans across the globe,” she said.
Sarmast and the music institute, meanwhile, have worked “to restore the joy and power of music to children’s lives,” she said.
Metallica is one of the most influential bands in heavy metal, helping bring the angry and aggressive music to the mainstream and preserving an avid fan base for decades.
Lars Ulrich, the California band’s Danish-born drummer, called the Polar Music Prize “a great validation of everything that Metallica has done over the last 35 years.”
“At the same time, we feel like we’re in our prime with a lot of good years ahead of us,” Ulrich said of the band, which released its 10th album, “Hardwired... to Self-Destruct” in late 2016.
The Polar Music Prize was established in 1989 by the late Stig Anderson, best known as the manager of Swedish pop superstars ABBA, and selects two laureates each year.
The prize’s stated goal is to “break down musical boundaries by bringing together people from all the different worlds of music.”
Past laureates have included Sting, Bob Dylan, Bjork, Sonny Rollins and Ravi Shankar.


Karl Lagerfeld: Looking back at his rise to fame and love of Arabian fashion

The designer died at the age of 85 on Tuesday. (File photo: AFP)
Updated 19 February 2019
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Karl Lagerfeld: Looking back at his rise to fame and love of Arabian fashion

DUBAI: As tributes pour in from across the fashion world over the death of industry icon Karl Lagerfeld, we take a look at his storied rise to fame, as well as his controversial comments on Middle Eastern migrants and his love of fashion from the region.

The designer died at the age of 85 on Tuesday after he failed to make an appearance at the Chanel show at Paris Couture Week in January, prompting industry insiders to question the state of his health.

Reuters reported that Lagerfeld enjoyed the stature of a deity among mortals in the world of fashion, where he stayed on top for well over half of a century and up to his death, at an age almost nobody apart from himself knew with to-the-day precision.

The German designer was best known for his association with France’s Chanel, dating back to 1983. The brand, the legend now goes, risked becoming the preserve of monied grannies before he arrived, slashing hemlines and adding glitz to the prim tweed suits of what is now one of the world’s most valuable couture houses.

But Lagerfeld, who simultaneously churned out collections for LVMH’s Fendi and his eponymous label — an unheard of feat in fashion — was almost a brand in his own right.
Sporting dark suits, white, pony-tailed hair and tinted sunglasses in his later years that made him instantly recognizable, an irreverent wit was also part of a carefully crafted persona.

“I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that,” runs one legendary quote attributed to him, and often recycled to convey the person he liked to play. “It is like a mask. And for me the Carnival of Venice lasts all year long.”

Tributes pour in 

The world’s fashion elite took to social media to pay tribute to the hugely respected designer, with the likes of Victoria Beckham, Donatella Versace and Lilly Allen leading the pack.

Versace shared a similar message.

Singer Allen took to social media with a touching message.

Meanwhile, Lebanese designer Zuhair Murad also paid tribute.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

In great honor and admiration of the iconic fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld - Rest In Peace

A post shared by Zuhair Murad Official (@zuhairmuradofficial) on

Model Gigi Hadid shared a message on Instagram Stories.

Controversial comments

His artistic instincts, business acumen and commensurate ego combined to commercially triumphant effect in the rarefied world of high fashion, where he was revered and feared in similar proportions by competitors and top-models.

Lagerfeld was as harsh with his fashion models as he was searingly critical of anyone he considered "not trendy".

He fired his closest female friend, former Chanel model Ines de la Fressange, in 1999 after she agreed to pose as Marianne, France's national symbol, without asking him first.

Occasionally his sharp tongue has stirred controversies, though he also had a flair for a good soundbite.

In 2017, he sparked outrage by evoking the Holocaust in an attack on Chancellor Angela Merkel over her opening of Germany’s borders to migrants.

“One cannot – even if there are decades between them – kill millions of Jews so you can bring millions of their worst enemies in their place,” the 80-year-old Chanel designer told a French TV show.

“I know someone in Germany who took a young Syrian and after four days said: ‘The greatest thing Germany invented was the Holocaust’,” he added.

Middle Eastern inspiration

Despite the abrasive comments, the designer went on to release an Egypt-inspired collection in December 2018 and sent models down the runway in a rich array of Ancient Egypt-themed outfits at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Gold shimmered all over the runway, as models strolled past the floodlit temple in everything from gold thigh-high boots to gold brimmed hats to glistening dresses with golden feather adornments, to shoulder-length gold earrings.

Singer Pharrel walked the runway during Karl Lagerfeld's Egypt-inspired show in December. (AFP)

It isn’t the only time he has looked to the Middle East for inspiration, however.

The designer made a much-reported-on appearance in Dubai in 2014 when Chanel staged its Cruise collection show in the city.

That collection was inspired by an Orientalist vision of hazy Arabian nights and featured harem pants, ghutra-pattern-inspired coats and diaphanous jumpsuits, along with a heavy use of mosaic-style patterns.

Karl Lagerfeld photographed at ‘The Island’ in Dubai during the Chanel fashion show on May 13, 2014. (AFP)

In 2018, he worked with Lebanese architect Aline Asmar D’Amman on the renovation of Paris’s Hôtel de Crillon and, in a win for the Middle Eastern fashion scene, he photographed Bella Hadid for Vogue Arabia’s first September issue in 2017.

In rare moments when he was not working, Lagerfeld retired to one of his many homes in Paris, Germany, Italy or Monaco, all of them lavish carbon copies of 18th-century interiors.