Dubai-based label keeps ‘Frozen 2’ star warm in NYC

Updated 13 November 2019

Dubai-based label keeps ‘Frozen 2’ star warm in NYC

  • On Tuesday, Kristen Bell was photographed wearing a bold jacket from Dubai-based label Bouguessa
  • The look was one of three chic outfits that the actress donned that day

DUBAI: Kristen Bell is currently in the midst of a whirlwind promotion tour for her forthcoming film, “Frozen 2,” and has been serving look after look while doing so.

On Tuesday, the US actress was all smiles while she was out and about in New York for her press rounds wearing not one, but three chic ensembles. Among them was a two-tone coat from Dubai-based Algerian designer Bouguessa. 

Bell began her jam-packed day with an appearance at “Good Morning America” and for the occasion wore a bold, half-baby-blue-half-plum jacket that was plucked from the label’s Fall 2020 winter collection. She accessorized the outerwear, which has also been sported by reality star Kourtney Kardashian in recent weeks, with knee-length, crocodile-skin boots and oversized sunglasses. 




The actress wore a coat by Dubai-based label Bouguessa for a TV appearance in New York. Getty Images

The 39-year-old then switched into a burgundy trench coat paired with a coordinating sweater and stiletto boots. Meanwhile, the Broadway star was photographed sauntering out of “Good Morning America” (GMA)wearing a head-to-toe maroon look and a lilac coat slung over her shoulders.

During her appearance at GMA with co-star Idina Menzel, Bell and her on-screen sister shared some details about the hotly-anticipated “Frozen 2.” The actresses, who play Anna and Elsa in the cult Disney film, revealed that they felt they were in “really good hands” for the Disney’s first-ever musical sequel. 

Bell also spoke about a new show she is producing and hosting for Disney+. Entitled “Encore!”, the new series will invite former High School Musical castmates to perform their original musical in just six days. 

“It’s incredible, and I will say I’ve been proud of a lot of work I’ve done — I don’t know that I’ve done anything that makes me this proud,” Bell said, adding that it’s, “so heartfelt.”

Meanwhile, Bouguessa, which was founded by Faiza Bouguessa, is known for its modern abayas and stylish overlays.   The Dubai-based label has found fans in many A-list celebrities, including Indian actresses Priyanka Chopra and Sonam Kapoor. And who can forget the emerald, velvet robe Beyonce donned back in 2017? 

Born and raised in France to Algerian parents, the designer initially moved to Dubai as a flight attendant for Emirates before transforming her passion for fashion design from a hobby and to a full-fledged career. Having learnt to sew and knit from her seamstress grandmother at a young age, Bouguessa lent her skills to numerous internships at fashion houses before launching her eponymous ready-to-wear label in 2014.


Women in Egypt’s restive Sinai makes Bedouin face masks

Updated 04 June 2020

Women in Egypt’s restive Sinai makes Bedouin face masks

CAIRO: In El-Arish, the provincial capital of Egypt’s North Sinai, a group of women sew colourful Bedouin designs on masks to combat coronavirus, as an insurgency simmers in their restive region.

Egypt’s toll from the COVID-19 pandemic has reached over 28,600 cases, including more than 1,000 deaths, while North Sinai itself remains the bloody scene of a long-running Islamist insurgency.

“I learnt how to embroider when I was a young girl watching my mother,” homemaker Naglaa Mohammed, 36, told AFP on a landline from El-Arish, as mobile phone links are often disrupted.

Naglaa Mohammed lives in El-Arish. (AFP)

A versatile embroiderer, she also beads garments and crafts rings and bracelets.

Now with the pandemic, she has been designing face masks showcasing her Bedouin heritage.

Bedouins are nomadic tribes who traditionally inhabit desert areas throughout the Arab world, from North Africa to Iraq. Many have now integrated into a more urban lifestyle.

Egypt’s Bedouin textile tradition of tatriz – weaving and beading rich geometric and abstract designs on garments, cushions and purses – has been passed down from generation to generation for centuries.

It has survived in the Sinai Peninsula, whose north has been plagued by years of militant activity and terror attacks spearheaded by a local affiliate of the Islamic State (IS) group.

Security forces have been locked in a battle to quell an insurgency in the Sinai that intensified after the military’s 2013 ouster of Islamist president Mohamed Morsi.

In February 2018, authorities launched a nationwide operation against militants, focusing on North Sinai.

The beading process takes about two days for each mask, Gharib said. (AFP)

Around 970 suspected militants have since been killed in the region along with dozens of security personnel, according to official figures.

Local and international media are banned from entering heavily militarised North Sinai.

But for Amany Gharib, who founded the El-Fayrouz Association in El-Arish in 2010, the violence has not dissuaded her from keeping Bedouin heritage alive while at the same time empowering local women.

She now employs around 550 women like Mohammed – many of them casually or part-time – as part of a textiles workshop.

“The masks are composed of two layers – one inner layer directly on the face which is disinfected, and the colourful, beaded one outside,” Gharib explained to AFP.

All the women take the necessary precautions while working, including wearing gloves and masks while using sewing machines.

The finished products are washed, packed and shipped off to distribution centres in Cairo, where they are sold online in partnership with Jumia – Africa’s e-commerce giant – for about 40 pounds ($2.50) each.

The beading process takes about two days for each mask, Gharib said.

The finished products are washed, packed and shipped off to distribution centres in Cairo. (AFP)

Amid the volatile security situation, Mohammed has been able to eke out a meagre living with her embroidery skills.

“We work and are given our dues depending on the orders we get... with the masks it has been a new challenge we've tackled,” she said.

Dire economic conditions in Egypt have been even tougher for women of the Sinai since the pandemic began.

“Times are really tough for the women but we have adjusted,” Gharib said.

And while militant attacks on security checkpoints have continued, Gharib expressed confidence in the army.

“We feel a sense of security and stability with the military presence. We trust them,” she said.

The region witnessed the deadliest terror attack in Egypt’s modern history when militants killed more than 300 worshippers in a mosque in November 2017.

Gharib said that in North Sinai’s tight-knit community, each family knew someone who had been killed in an attack.

“Anyone of us who is killed, we consider them a martyr,” she said.

“We are in a war with terror... but the people have learnt to live with it.”