Walk this way: Arab shoe designers snap up celebrity fans

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From Ashley Graham to Emily Ratajkowski, footwear labels from the region are earning celebrity fans. (AFP)
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From Ashley Graham to Emily Ratajkowski, footwear labels from the region are earning celebrity fans. (AFP)
Updated 08 June 2019

Walk this way: Arab shoe designers snap up celebrity fans

  • Lebanese shoe designer Andrea Wazen is known for her high-quality, handmade footwear created in Beirut
  • The up-and-coming label is known for its bright hues and razor-thin stiletto heels

DUBAI: Well-heeled celebrities from around the world have been sporting shoes by Arab designers as of late — from Kylie Jenner to model Emily Ratajkowski, there’s no shortage of famous fans when it comes to footwear labels from the region.

Last week, Ratajkowski showed off a pair of tan mules by Lebanese shoe designer Andrea Wazen, known for her high-quality, handmade footwear created in Beirut.

The model posed for photographs at a polo event in New Jersey wearing the simple Gloria mules by the Lebanese designer.

“When your ultimate girl crush wears your shoes,” the designer captioned a photo of the model, who paired the shoes with a fitted pencil skirt and orange crop top.

Wazen, whose sister is fashion influencer Karen Wazen, also saw her shoes worn by model Ashley Graham last week.

Graham wore a pair of slinky black heels with clear PVC accents to the Council of Fashion Designers of America awards ceremony, held last week.

The shoes, called the Dassy PVC pumps, accessorized a custom-made Christian Siriano dress, with puffed sleeves and a form-fitting silhouette.

“In custom @csiriano for the @cfda awards feeling like I just walked out of a fabulous Alfred Hitchcock film, darling!” Graham captioned a snap of her outfit on Instagram.

Wazen isn’t the only designer from the region to earn herself celebrity fans lately. Jordanian-Romanian shoe designer Amina Muaddi has also been in the spotlight, with the likes of Kylie and Kendall Jenner, Rihanna and British model Rosie Huntington-Whiteley showing off her heels in recent weeks.

Kylie boasted a pair of the Lupita glass slippers at the launch of her new skincare line, Kylie Skin, at the end of May, while her older sister Kendall finished off a skin-tight minidress with the Gilda rainbow sandals while in Cannes.

Back in April, beauty mogul Rihanna was spotted in New York — reportedly out and about with her Saudi beau Hassan Jameel — wearing a black coat with strappy white sandals by Muaddi, while Huntington-Whiteley has been an avid fan for quite some time and regularly takes to Instagram to show off Muaddi’s latest designs.

The up-and-coming label is known for its bright hues and razor-thin stiletto heels that often widen out into a squared block at the base of the heel. 


Iraq Pavilion at Venice Biennale shuts in solidarity with protesters

The Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has shut down in solidarity with protesters. Supplied
Updated 13 November 2019

Iraq Pavilion at Venice Biennale shuts in solidarity with protesters

  • In a show of solidarity with anti-government protestors, the Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has shut down
  • Initially set to run until Nov. 24, the exhibition entitled “Fatherland” was closed on Nov. 5.

DUBAI: Iraq is currently in the midst of ongoing anti-government protests that have claimed the lives of more than 260 Iraqis since they erupted earlier this month. In a show of solidarity, the Iraq Pavilion at the Venice Biennale has shut down.

Initially set to run until Nov. 24, the exhibition entitled “Fatherland” was closed on Nov. 5.

“Fatherland” is a collection of expressionist paintings by Iraqi-Kurdish artist Serwan Baran that were commissioned by Baghdad-based non-profit organization the Ruya Foundation, which in an official statement shared that the move was to show support to “the popular youth uprisings that have erupted in Iraq against state corruption and deteriorating economic and living conditions.”

“We condemn the use of violence against peaceful protesting, and the bloodshed that has led to the death of over 265 protesters so far,” read the statement shared on the organization’s Twitter account. “Peaceful protesting is a basic right, enshrined in Article 38.c of the Iraqi Constitution.”

“Since our founding in late 2012, we have worked hard, frequently in inhospitable circumstances, to create a platform for artists across Iraq to freely express their creativity, in a firm belief that culture is an integral component of any society, and a powerful force for change towards an open and free country. This is particularly important for Iraq, given its difficult recent history and authoritarian past,” it continued.

The Baghdad-based foundation, which was co-founded by Tamara Chalabi, daughter of former Iraqi politician Ahmed Chalabi, has overseen the Iraq Pavilion in Venice since 2013.