Gulf designers in the spotlight at London Arabia Art and Fashion Week

The opening show at London Arabia Art and Fashion Week featured a dress made from a decommissioned UNHCR tent. (AN Photo)
Updated 05 August 2018

Gulf designers in the spotlight at London Arabia Art and Fashion Week

  • Event offers young Arab artists and fashion designers the opportunity to connect with their UK counterparts
  • Dress made from a decommissioned UN tent served as a reminder of the growing refugees crisis

LONDON: Gulf designers had a strong presence at last week’s opening show of London Arabia Art and Fashion Week, which has become a regular on the British capital’s summer agenda.
With art exhibitions and workshops taking place in various parts of London, the event was a chance for young Arab artists and designers to connect with their British counterparts in the fashion and art industries.
“The third year running, the Arabia Art and Fashion Week in London is becoming a mainstay on London’s thriving cultural scene, and we hope it helps people from both regions to continue to cooperate, trade, exchange and understand each other,” Omar Bdour, the head of London Arabia Organization, told Arab News.
The opening fashion show at the Jumeirah Carlton on Wednesday revealed the latest collections of designers from the Gulf region, namely from Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Morocco. “We made an effort to select a few designers that have shown special creative and tailoring skills that could be deemed worthy of exhibiting their product at the pop-up shop at Harvey Nichols in Knightsbridge, London,” said Asmaa Al-Jabri, the week’s fashion curator.
Al-Jabri and her two sisters started Velvet Abaya in Saudi Arabia 12 years ago, making a mark in the local industry for modest designs.
Lamia Alsamra, another Saudi designer, thrilled visitors with her collections luxurious royal style. The businesswoman from the Eastern Province in Saudi Arabia started her multi-brand outlet in Khobar, Saudi Arabia, adding her own designs that slowly developed into a line in 2016.
“My ‘Royal Collection’ is based mainly on tailored designs with hand embroideries and color,” she said.
The show also featured a “Dress for Our Time” made by Professor Helen Storey, tailored from a decommissioned tent from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees as a reminder that the world needs to solve the growing refugees crisis.
Harvey Nichols’ general manager Simon Youden said that he was excited that it is taking part with its pop-up shop, which continues until Aug. 16. “In summer time, London increases its diversity, and hosting this pop-up is part of what we do at Harvey Nichols in pushing the boundaries of retail and welcoming Arab designers in the store.”

Mariah Idrissi spotted at ‘The Lion King’ London premiere

Updated 15 July 2019

Mariah Idrissi spotted at ‘The Lion King’ London premiere

DUBAI: British-Moroccan model and influencer Mariah Idrissi walked the red carpet at the European premiere of “The Lion King” in London on Sunday, and took to Instagram to share her excitement.

The model wore a simple white, button-down dress and a black turban — her signature hijab style. She took to social media to share photographs from the premiere, including a snap of the star-studded cast on stage.  

“Anyone who spends five minutes with me is witness to how much I love @disney lol. This movie is part of so many childhoods, so need I say more about going to see it when it’s out! Huge thank you to @asos and @disneystudiosukfor having me tonight (sic),” Idrissi captioned the trio of shots on Instagram.

Born and raised in London, Idrissi is of Moroccan-Pakistani descent and made headlines in 2015 when she became the first model to wear a hijab in a major international fashion campaign, starring in H&M’s “Close the Loop” adverts.
Since then, the 26-year-old has been at the forefront of the modest fashion movement, stylishly representing contemporary Muslim women and working with major retailers including MAC cosmetics and ASOS. She also featured in Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty campaign.

She was one of a number of influencers to attend the European premiere of the highly anticipated Disney flick and was joined on the red carpet by stars such as Beyonce and Jay-Z, as well as Meghan Markle and Prince Harry.

With a star-studded voice cast including Beyonce and estimated $250 million budget, Hollywood’s reigning hitmaker has spared no expense bringing arguably its most beloved source material roaring to photo-realistic life in “The Lion King,” the AFP reported.


Expectations are sky-high for the film about young lion cub Simba avenging his father’s death to emulate the commercial success of “The Jungle Book” (2016), “Beauty and the Beast” (2017) and “Aladdin” (2019).

A trailer for the new “Lion King” was watched by 225 million people in its first 24 hours in November, shattering Disney’s record.

But while the film — set for release Friday — is being billed as the Mouse House’s latest “live-action” movie, it is in fact a different beast altogether.

With no human characters in sight, almost every shot — from the pixel-perfect hairs of Mufasa’s glistening mane to the eerily realistic hyena eyes piercing through the Elephant Graveyard gloom — was conjured from scratch using computer-generated imagery.

And yet “The Lion King” is not strictly a 3D animation either, in any conventional sense.

It is instead something totally new, said director Jon Favreau — a film shot by a traditional camera crew, but entirely inside a virtual reality 3D world.

Filmmakers and actors at the studio were able to don digital headsets and “step into” a video game-style African savannah to film — or simply watch — rough computer-generated versions of Simba and his pals cavorting through the Pride Lands.

“The crew would be able to put on the headsets, go in and scout and actually set cameras within VR,” Favreau told journalists in Beverly Hills this week.