Mariah Idrissi to host celebration of African change-makers

Mariah Idrissi is set to host an event in New York. (Instagram)
Updated 02 October 2018

Mariah Idrissi to host celebration of African change-makers

  • Mariah Idrissi is set to host a MIPAD event in New York on Wednesday night
  • Idrissi made headlines in 2015 when she became the first model to wear a hijab in a major international fashion campaign

DUBAI:British-Moroccan model Mariah Idrissi is set to host a Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) event in New York on Wednesday night.

The event, which is set to honor the most influential people of African descent under the age of 40, will be held at the One UN Millennium Hilton Hotel and will be co-hosted by business mogul and self-described “leadership genius” Vusi Thembekwayo.

The event will also feature a valedictorian speech by Fatima Maada Bio, the first lady of Sierra Leone and an actress, screenwriter and film producer.

Other influential speakers include Paul Kagame, the president of Rwanda and chairman of the African Union. Meanwhile, former UN Secretary-General Kofi Atta Annan is set to receive the Lifetime Achievement Award for Recognition.

For her part, Idrissi took to Instagram to express her gratitude toward the organization.

“Honored to be part of a network connecting Africans globally who are creating positive change for people of African heritage. The influence starts with us first changing ourselves and I thank @mipad100 @unitednations and @momentumeducation for providing us with the tools and knowledge to help us become the best versions of ourselves!”

Her co-host took to the social media site to share a friendly message.

“Made a new friend .... actually, built a new family,” Thembekwayo captioned a photo in which he is posting with Idrissi.

The evening will end with a special screening of Marvel blockbuster “Black Panther” as the event celebrates the UN’s International Decade for People of African Descent.

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.
Idrissi has also established herself as an international public speaker promoting female empowerment. Her talk at TEDxTeen in 2016 — “Changing the Face of Fashion” — gained global media attention.
Referring to the feedback from her H&M campaign in that talk, she said, “It made me realize that I’m not only a hijabi model, I’ve also had this weight placed on me as a spokeswoman for hijab, for modesty, for fashion, for Islam… And, of course, I wouldn’t change it for the world, but it shows me that we still have a long way to go in changing people’s mentalities.”


Behind Wes Gordon’s revolutionary vision for Carolina Herrera

Wes Gordon just wants to make happy clothes, and that's exactly what he's been doing since his appointment as Carolina Herrera's creative director. Photo: Shutterstock
Updated 20 November 2019

Behind Wes Gordon’s revolutionary vision for Carolina Herrera

  • Since his appointment as creative director, Wes Gordon has managed to seamlessly incorporate his own joyful flair into the fashion house
  • His ability to maintain the house’s old world glamour in addition to his revolutionary and exuberant vision has appealed to a new generation of clients

DUBAI: Wes Gordon just wants to make happy clothes. And the Atlanta-born designer, who was handpicked to be Carolina Herrera's successor after she announced her retirement in February 2018, has done just that since his appointment as the New York-based label’s creative director. You don’t have to look further than the brand’s Spring 2020 collection, showcased at the bottom of Manhattan Island inside a glass bubble lined with plush, white carpet that was inspired by the rare botanical phenomenon, super bloom.

“Carolina Herrera is a brand about beauty,” declares the designer. “No one knows what tomorrow is going to be like. We just know today, and the things that we’re able to control ourselves, I feel like it’s our job to make them beautiful,” The 33-year-old told Arab News.

Indeed, in today’s current political climate, there’s never been more reason to inject joie de vivre back into fashion. “There’s a lot of dark and uncertainty right now,” muses Gordon. “And you can’t fight dark with dark.”

A model walks the runway at the Carolina Herrera Ready-to-Wear Spring 2020 show. Photo: Getty
Carolina Herrera Ready-to-Wear Spring 2020 show. Photo: Getty

During his year-long tenure — He made his debut last September with an upbeat Spring 2019 collection, after running his own eponymous label for several years in addition to serving as Herrera’s right-hand since 2016 — the Central St. Martin’s graduate has churned out three joyful and upbeat ready-to-wear collections built on the foundation of vibrant hues and that serve as a refreshing departure from the sea of blacks and greys that have dominated the runways for the past few seasons.  

“I love color,” shares Gordon. “Bold, vivacious, saturated colors — nothing grey or sad. So the first thing I do before I start designing a collection, is think really hard about colors.

“My biggest takeaway from the role is that something beautiful will always be successful. When you’re able to create something that’s just gorgeous, it will always do well.”

However, helming Carolina Herrera is no small feat. As one of the biggest fashion brands in the world, Gordon recognizes that his stint as a consultant at the label eased his transition since he was already familiar with the company.

Since his appointment, Gordon has managed to seamlessly incorporate his own joyful flair into the fashion house founded 39 years ago, without straying from the brand’s DNA or alienating its existing clientele.

While the designer does admit that it is virtually impossible for there to not be a change — “I’m not Mrs. Herrera,” he states — he does revel in the fact that though his designs are unique, clients are still able to look at them and say, “that still feels Herrera.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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His ability to maintain the house’s old world glamour in addition to his revolutionary and exuberant vision has appealed to a new generation of clients, which include everyone from “Euphoria” actress Zendaya to American screenwriter Lena Waithe, whom he dressed for the 2018 Met Gala.

As for the woman he designs for? “She’s fabulous and fantastic. She’s the best dressed and most fun woman in any room.  If every woman in the street is wearing grey, she is wearing hot pink. She dresses for herself and treats every moment like a celebration,” he notes. Very much like Carolina Herrera herself.