Models with Mideast roots takeover the Victoria’s Secret runway

Gigi Hadid walked the runway during the show. (AFP)
Updated 10 November 2018
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Models with Mideast roots takeover the Victoria’s Secret runway

DUBAI: The planet’s top models transformed into angels for Victoria’s Secret glitzy fashion show Thursday, donning wings and plaid for a return to New York after a two-year hiatus.
With the show once again on US soil, sisters Gigi and Bella Hadid strode the runway at Manhattan’s Pier 94 with the likes of Kendall Jenner and Victoria’s Secret newcomer Winnie Harlow, AFP reported.
A bevvy of models with Middle Eastern roots took part in the show, including Melie Tiacoh, a French-born model of Lebanese heritage; Shanina Shaik, whose father is Saudi-Pakistani; and the US-Palestinian Hadid sisters.

Shanina Shaik poses for a photo backstage. (AFP)


The runway extravaganza is now in its 24th year. Taped last week, it will be broadcast worldwide on Dec. 2.
Sixty models put on an Amazonian display of luscious waving locks, slender bodies and sun-kissed make-up for what is considered one of the most competitive gigs in the industry.
The “Fantasy Bra” — each year the piece de la resistance of the collection — was modeled by Sweden’s Elsa Hosk — a $1 million confection of 2,100 Swarovski diamonds that took 930 hours to make.
In the biggest, most typed fashion show in the world, music was provided this year from a bevvy of stars led by Rita Ora. The show was the culmination of weeks of fittings and Instagram-trailed publicity for the brand.
The 2018 show was distinctive by a collaboration with London-based designer Mary Katrantzou that showcased psychedelic bodysuits.

Melie Tiacoh pictured before the show. (AFP)


Brazilian model Adriana Lima told AFP backstage in hair and make-up that it never gets old despite being her 18th Victoria’s Secret show.
“I really thought that over the years I would get more relaxed and used to it. I get as nervous, as anxious as I have been,” she said.
“We have fun,” said French model Cindy Bruna.
“It’s not about making sacrifices. It’s about working for what you want,” she said. “We’re here today, so it’s worth it.”
The organizers may have banked on New York hosting a smoother show. Last year, Gigi Hadid and singer Katy Perry, who had been due to perform, were reportedly denied visas to enter China.
Model Ming Xi — who walked again Thursday — tripped last year on the catwalk. In 2016, the show was held in Paris. In the past, it has also been held in Los Angeles, Miami and London.
Meanwhile, Lebanese designer to the stars Zuhair Murad was a clear favorite at the show’s afterparty, with models Nadine Leopold, Lais Ribeiro, Josephine Skriver and others donning his glittering designs.


Startup of the Week: Coco Sabon’s natural skincare

Coco Sabon. (Supplied)
Updated 21 May 2019
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Startup of the Week: Coco Sabon’s natural skincare

  • Coco Sabon’s customers are mostly Arab women aged between 20 and 40, “though we have many loyal fans that span different age groups and come from all over the world”

RIYADH: The healing and relaxing powers of nature are at the heart of Coco Sabon’s philosophy.
Launched by Dr. Cynthia Mosher — an American living in Riyadh — the skincare firm is committed to sourcing high-quality, natural oriental ingredients that provide the skin with gentle care and nourishment.
“I launched Coco Sabon in November 2015 at Alfaisal University’s first bazaar,” she said.
Mosher, who completed a bachelor of science in natural health sciences, said she hoped to do something more than simply diagnose illnesses and prescribe treatments. She also wanted to have time for other important things and people, so now she is working as an educator, training a new generation of medical students.
She encourages people to make healthy choices when it comes to ingredients they use on their bodies.
“I fell in love with formulating and creating beautiful, natural skincare products. I continued my creative journey while pursuing my medical degree, which deepened my commitment to develop ‘do no harm’ skincare based on natural ingredients,” she said.
“Layered with my admiration of Arabian culture, the rich regional ingredients, and my passion for integrative medicine, I developed a deep sense of holistic self-care that guides my formulations. My love for the fragrances, natural remedies and skincare routines of the Middle East are the heart and soul of Coco Sabon.”
There is a growing demand for Coco Sabon products. “After years of requests from family and friends to make and sell my products, I tested the waters, so to speak. We sold out of everything that day.”
She added: “About six weeks later we were invited to participate at the Gathering in Al-Bujairi in January 2016. We had a crowd of customers nonstop for three days and again sold out of everything. It was a decisive weekend. Coco Sabon was born and we have not looked back since.”
Mosher’s family and friends offered encouragement, but one of her strongest supporters was her best friend, Audrey Wilkinson. She said: “Audrey was my supporter, helper and adviser. She now works with me, formulating and producing our candles, cremes and face care line.”
Coco Sabon’s customers are mostly Arab women aged between 20 and 40, “though we have many loyal fans that span different age groups and come from all over the world.”
The brand offers a wide range of products, including soap, bath bombs, scrubs, cremes, face and body oils, perfumes and candles.
“Everything is produced by hand in small batches here in Riyadh using natural, safe and organic ingredients, sourced locally wherever possible,” Mosher said.
Coco Sabon believes in supporting local businesses and in sourcing the best ingredients possible. The store also designs its packaging and hand packages, labels and wraps each item, selling through an online store (cocosabon.com), Instagram, WhatsApp, and local popup shop events.
Mosher has also started offering workshops on making her products.
“Some might think that to be unwise because I could very well teach a future competitor,” she said. “Well, that’s true for the medical students I teach now. Should I withhold my knowledge for fear of them becoming better doctors and doing better? Of course not. The more knowledge we put out there, the better our society will be. The workshops also help build community.
“I connect with people who are curious, who want to learn how to create and how to make good choices for their health. I welcome workshop students young and older (my youngest so far was just 6 years old), and I encourage them to take what they learn and use it to improve their lives and that of others around them. If they make a business out of doing so, then good for them. We all have something to offer the world,” she said.
Mosher is happy that she created a job she loves. “Sometimes I miss practicing clinical medicine, but I remind myself that I am helping people make healthier choices for their bodies, their minds, their souls and the planet,” she said.
“That’s a special kind of medicine that I believe can help heal the world.”