DUBAI: Whether you’re into heels or high tops, these Middle Eastern shoe brands will have something unique to flatter your feet.
Andrea Wazen is a Lebanese shoe designer who creates high quality, handmade footwear for women in Beirut. She just designed her own wedding shoes — white platforms with a slinky strap at the ankle.
Sultan Al-Darmaki is an Emirati shoe designer known for his elegant yet bold styles. The brand has become a staple in many department stores across the world and is known for its signature origami-style heel.
Born to an Australian mother and a Lebanese father and raised in Dubai, Hanna launched her eponymous brand in 2017. Her designs are inspired by the concept of combining the surreal with the real.
Miss Philippines stuns in gown by Dubai-based designer on Miss Universe stage
Updated 16 May 2021
DUBAI: Filipino model and beauty pageant titleholder Rabiya Mateo represented the Philippines at the Miss Universe 2020 Preliminary Show on Friday wearing a creation by Dubai-based couture house Amato.
The beauty queen strutted down the runway wearing a single-shoulder, yellow gown that was hand-embroidered with thousands of tiny Swarovski crystals that shone even brighter underneath the stage lights.
The caped tulle dress, which was inspired by the radiance of the Philippine sun which symbolizes positivity and optimism, marked Amato’s debut on a Miss Universe stage.
Mateo’s choice of color was not lost on pageant fans, who pointed out that the two previous Filipina Miss Universe winners wore the other colors of the Philippine flag when they won. Miss Universe 2015 Pia Wurtzbach wore royal blue while Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Gray opted for red.
The 69th Miss Universe pageant finals will be held in Florida on May 16. Furne One, the Filipino designer behind Amato, is designing the gown which Mateo will wear during the finals.
“This is just the start of a more fruitful partnership with the Miss Universe organization,” said Josh Yugen, the CEO of the PR company that represents Amato. “We are excited to see more creations of the talented Furne One in the Miss Universe stage, and we can’t wait to see Rabiya slay the runway with another creation of Furne. I'm sure she's gonna make all the Filipinos proud,” he added.
If the 24-year-old wins, she will become the fifth woman from the Philippines to take home the prestigious crown.
Part-Palestinian model Bella Hadid joins rally in New York
Updated 16 May 2021
DUBAI: Hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets across the world on Saturday to protest the Israeli airstrike attacks on Palestinians living in Gaza. Demonstrations took place across the Middle East, Europe, Canada, Australia and the US, with thousands of protestors marching on the streets with pro-Palestine signs. Some celebrities and influencers even decided to take part in the demonstrations, including part-Palestinian model Bella Hadid.
The 24-year-old catwalk is the daughter of real estate developer Mohamed Hadid, whose family fled Palestine as refugees in 1948. She joined a crowd of protesters in New York on Saturday who took to the streets of Bay Ridge for a demonstration.
The outspoken model wore a keffiyeh — a scarf with the traditional Palestinian print — around her head and shoulders and a face mask and waved a large Palestinian flag as she marched along with thousands of others.
Hadid took to Instagram to share images from the Free Palestine demonstration that had a turnout of nearly 2,000 protestors, according to reports.
“The way my heart feels... to be around this many beautiful, smart, respectful, loving, kind and generous Palestinians all in one place... it feels whole! We are a rare breed!” Hadid wrote alongside a series of images from the protests.
“It’s free Palestine til Palestine is free! P.S. The Palestinian drip is real (sic),” added Hadid, who memorably attended a Free Palestine rally in London back in 2016.
Earlier in the day, the model shared a throwback photo of her paternal grandparents’ wedding day, along with an image of her father as a boy next to his seven siblings and mom — after whom she was given her middle name Khair — noting how they “were taken out of their homes in Palestine in 1948, becoming refugees in Syria, then Lebanon, then Tunisia.”
“I love my family, I love my heritage, I love Palestine. I will stand strong to keep their hope for a better land in my heart. A better world for our people and the people around them. They can never erase our history. History is history!” she captioned the Instagram post.
SINDH: At the Banarsi Silk Weavers’ Colony in the city of Khairpur, in Sindh, 47-year-old merchant Zafar Abbas Ansari was waiting, hoping for a few additional orders of silk Banarsi saris as Eid Al-Fitr approached.
The sari is a garment native to South Asia, where a long piece of cloth is wrapped elaborately around the body — usually in cotton or silk — and worn with a matching blouse.
Although the city does not make Banarsi any longer — it is now made in Karachi, more than 400 km away — customers still come to the city to purchase the fabric.
Inside the deserted 70-year-old market — once a bustling place — Zafar’s shop is among the last three Banarsi shops left. His family is one of the 40 weaver families who brought the industry to Khairpur when they migrated from India in 1952.
“It is almost two decades since Khairpur stopped producing Banarsi saris after the industry’s collapse. However, even today, the brand is popular among customers. They keep demanding Khairpur’s brand,” Zafar told Arab News.
In its heyday, Khairpur’s Banarsi sari was synonymous with luxury, with vendors supplying the fabric not only locally but also exporting to Pakistani families living in the UK and other European countries.
Inside Zafar’s shop, unstitched pieces of colorful saris — the blouse, the petticoat and main sari fabric — are displayed. The shop shows off different varieties of saris, including the traditional katan — a plain woven fabric with pure silk threads — chiffon, as well as synthetic fabrics.
“Banarsi sari has distinction and standing,” Zafar said proudly. “It is worn by royal families because of its grace and elegance. In some families it is an essential part of the bridal trousseau.”
The price of a sari depends upon its type. The most expensive sari fabric available in the Khairpur market currently is worth Rs45,000 ($300) a piece
Khairpur’s Banarsi Silk Weavers’ Colony is named after the city of Banaras in India (now Varanasi) because of the silk weavers who migrated from there.
There are no official records, and the story of the garment comes from the weavers themselves. They say the history of the Banaras sari industry in Khairpur is linked with Ghulam Saddiquah Begum — the wife of Khairpur state’s then ruler, Mir Ali Murad Khan Talpur of the Talpur dynasty.
Saddiquah Begum herself came from Bahawalpur state, and in 1949, the weavers said, during a visit to India’s Hyderabad Deccan, she offered Mohammed Yusuf Ansari — a sari trader from Banaras — the chance to start manufacturing in Khairpur.
She is said to have offered her state’s support for the establishment of the manufacturing units required.
In 1952, about 40 families of the Ansari clan migrated from Banaras to Khairpur and sari manufacturing began on handlooms. Later, the saris were exported to other countries.
Arab News could not independently verify this information.
According to Anjum Sajjad Ansari, grandson of Muhammad Yusuf Ansari and a representative of the Banarsi Silk Weavers’ Association Khairpur, at its peak there were 400 handlooms in Khairpur. Today, not a single handloom remains.
“At Khairpur’s Banarsi Silk Weavers Colony today there are 16 houses of traditional weavers. However only three are involved in this business of selling Karachi-made fabric,” Anjum said.
Like elsewhere, the Banarsi brand was associated with pure silk thread work. Initially, Khairpur used silk imported from China, but later the silk came from Punjab’s Changa Manga as Pakistan developed hatching silkworms and silk fiber producing factories.
The whole family engaged in the manufacturing process, including silk weaving, dyeing, warping, and reeling. It took between two to three days’ work to complete a single sari.
The silk weaving industry was thriving into the 1960s.
“In 1965, Pakistan’s President Ayub Khan visited and gave incentives and subsidies that boosted the industry,” said Anjum.
“However, in the later years successive governments paid little heed to this industry, and manufacturing units were shifted to Karachi by 2000,” he said.
For Anjum, there is still a chance to revive the past glory of Khairpur.
“We have given proposals to the government at different forums. But nothing has been done yet. The Banarsi sari has become a trademark for Khairpur,” he said.
“Khairpur’s distinction was to produce only handmade silk fabric, unlike other areas where machines are involved. If the government is sincere, factories could be re-established and skilled laborers could be recalled once more from Karachi.”
Catwalk star Gigi Hadid celebrates ‘World Keffiyeh Day’ in honor of signature Arab print
Updated 12 May 2021
DUBAI: Gigi Hadid decided to celebrate her Palestinian roots this week. The half-Arab model took to her Instagram Stories to embrace “World Keffiyeh Day,” an initiative launched by the Solidarity for Palestinian Human Rights at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, on May 11, 2016, in an effort to shed light on the ongoing Palestine-Israel conflict.
The premise of the unofficial event is to show solidarity with Palestinians by donning the checkered black-and-white scarf around the neck or head.
In honor of the annual day, the catwalk star posted a throwback photo of herself wearing a keffiyeh-style top from Chanel’s 2015 cruise collection, which was staged in Dubai.
“It’s #worldkeffiyehday,” wrote Hadid, alongside the Palestinian flag and red heart emojis.
She also reposted an infographic highlighting the significance of the keffiyeh patterns.
“Thank you @GiGiHadid for participating in World Keffiyeh Day and raising your voice,” wrote the initative on its official Twitter account.
The 26-year-old is the daughter of Dutch model and “Real Housewives of Beverly Hills” star Yolanda Hadid and US-Palestinian real estate developer Mohammed Hadid, whose family fled to Lebanon from Palestine as refugees in 1948.
The model occasionally takes to social media to speak about her paternal Palestinian heritage and celebrate her Arab roots.
“I’m as Palestinian as I am Dutch. Just because I have blonde hair, I still carry the value of my ancestors and I appreciate and respect that,” she previously said during a promotional campaign for Reebok in Sydney.
Gigi and her younger sister Bella also often use their platforms to voice their support for Palestinian people by sharing posts explaining the rising tensions in the region.
“You will not erase Palestine,” read one of the illustrations that Gigi shared on her Instagram stories following the Al-Aqsa Mosque attack this week.
She also shared a photograph of her father’s long-expired US passport, which states his birthplace as Palestine. Bella had previously shared the same picture last year, but Instagram had taken it down. After the model publicly criticized the platform for its move, Instagram eventually apologized to Bella and restored her post.
Other celebrities to voice their support for Palestine include British-Albanian pop star Dua Lipa, Algerian model Younes Bendjima, singer The Weeknd and “Avengers” star Mark Ruffalo.
Model Imaan Hammam donates to causes close to heart
Updated 12 May 2021
DUBAI: Moroccan-Egyptian-Dutch model Imaan Hammam made donations to three causes as Ramadan came to an end.
Writing on Instagram, she said: “It’s so important to remember to give back and support the communities and people who need it.”
Among the initiatives the 24-year-old donated to was Preemptive Love, a non-profit organization that helps with emergency relief on the frontlines of conflict and supports displaced communities by selling refugee-made goods.
Hammam also revealed that she donated funds to Islamic Relief USA and Muslims of the World to “give humanitarian aid to Palestine, sustain clean water and sanitation, feed orphans in Yemen and Afghanistan, and provide support and relief for refugees.”
She added: “I’m so happy to lend my platform to bring awareness to the humanitarian crisis happening throughout Islamic states.”