Jessica Kahawaty curates special collection for Miu Miu

Updated 26 November 2019

Jessica Kahawaty curates special collection for Miu Miu

  • Jessica Kahawaty’s latest style endeavor is a partnership with Italian label Miu Miu
  • Past figures who have participated in the initiative include models Georgia May Jagger and Hailey Benton Gates

DUBAI: When Jessica Kahawaty is not busy visiting refugee camps off the border of Syria, championing women’s rights or turning heads on front rows in Paris and Milan, she can be found shaking up the fashion industry.

Her latest style endeavor is a partnership with Italian label Miu Miu, as part of its “Miu Miu Select” project. She handpicked a selection of her favorite pieces from the brand’s Resort 2020 collection. 

Among the Lebanese-Australian beauty’s favorite pieces from the 51-look collection are a blue knit cardigan, a black button-up blouse with flower-embroidered lapels, a beaded chain purse and a velvet, crystal-studded bow tie. What’s more, the tags of each carefully-curated item are emblazoned with the model and humanitarian’s signature.

The 31-year-old joins blogger-turned-designer Alexa Chung and British model Poppy Delevingne, who were also picked by Miu Miu to curate their favorite items from Miuccia Prada’s horse riding-inspired collection. 

Past figures who have participated in the initiative include models Georgia May Jagger and Hailey Benton Gates as well as actress Chloe Sevigny. 

Kahawty first unveiled details of the exciting news on Instagram, writing: “Super excited to announce my special curated pieces from the Miu Miu Croisière 2020 show. Stay tuned for the big ‘Select’ launch tomorrow.”

Each of the cherry-picked, ready-to-wear and accessories items will be available to shop at Miu Miu boutiques for a limited time, including the model and activist’s closet must-haves.

The collaboration with the Italian womenswear label is just another achievement in the former Miss World Australia’s ever-growing portfolio. In the past, she’s appeared in a number of commercials, including for Maybelline Cosmetics, hair care company Wella and Lexus. 

She’s also starred in a stunning campaign for Egyptian fashion agency Maison Pyramide to raise funds for the Helm Foundation, a charity dedicated to helping empower people living with disabilities. Additionally, in 2018, fashion house Louis Vuitton selected Kahawaty to work with UNICEF at the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan to help children affected by the Syrian crisis.

Kahawaty studied business, finance and law in Sydney and then made a move into modelling and event hosting. The social media influencer is also keen supporter of a number of humanitarian causes, including the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

“Miu Miu Select” was launched by the fashion house earlier this year. The initiative invites tastemakers from all over the world to curate a highly-personalized selection of their favorite ready-to-wear and accessories pieces from the brand’s most recent season.

Five Arab films that have won international acclaim

Updated 06 December 2019

Five Arab films that have won international acclaim

  • Saudi director Haifaa Al-Mansour’s 'The Perfect Candidate' is in the shortlist for an Oscar
  • A number of Arab productions are in the race for the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar

CAIRO: The Oscars are just around the corner, and in January the shortlist for the coveted Best Foreign Language Film award will be confirmed.

Several titles from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region have been submitted for consideration, including Saudi director Haifaa Al-Mansour’s “The Perfect Candidate.”

The entry, which tells the story of a Saudi doctor who takes on her country’s patriarchal system by running in municipal elections, is particularly significant as it is the Kingdom’s first Academy Award submission following the ban on theaters being lifted in 2017.

It is also the first to be supported by the Saudi Film Council, an organization launched at Cannes Film Festival in 2018.

Here is a look at other recent Arab titles that have achieved international acclaim, and why they are worth watching.


1. WADJDA — Saudi Arabia

“The Perfect Candidate” is not the first of Al-Mansour’s films to be submitted to the Oscars. Her critically acclaimed drama “Wadjda” became the first title to be submitted by the Kingdom in 2013 for the 86th Academy Awards. It marked the debut of a Saudi female filmmaker, with the film shot entirely in the Kingdom.

The story of a 10-year-old Wadjda, and her desire to buy a bicycle to race against a male friend, sheds light on traditions and women’s rights.

In an article for The Guardian newspaper, film critic Henry Barnes described “Wadjda” as a message that Al-Mansour wrapped “inside a love letter to her people.”


2. ESHTEBAK — Egypt

The Egyptian film industry has a good track record when it comes to titles receiving global acclaim, one of the most recent being “Eshtebak” (“Clash”), by director Mohamed Diab.

Set in a police van during a period of street protests and unrest in 2013, the film chronicles a time of political and social instability in the country, where a clash of ideologies and personalities unfolds between communities.

 Egyptian director Mohamed Diab's “Eshtebak” (“Clash”). (Supplied)

The resulting tensions and dilemmas are acted out by the people trapped in the van.

“Eshtebak” was selected as the opening film for the Un Certain Regard section at the 2016 Cannes Film Festival, and screened internationally across Europe, and in Brazil and China.

The film was publicly endorsed by actor Tom Hanks in a letter to the director: “Your film will go to great lengths to enlighten many. Audiences will see that humanity is a fragile community, but we are all in ‘this’ together.”


3. AL-JANNA AL-AAN — Palestine

A Golden Globe winner for Best Foreign Language Film — and nominated in the same category at the 78th Academy Awards — “Paradise Now” was described by its Palestinian director, Hany Abu-Assad, as “an artistic point of view of the political issue.”

The film digs deep into the human aspects of the Palestinian conflict, following the fictional story of two friends recruited by a terrorist group to become suicide bombers in Tel Aviv.

Palestinan director Hany Abu-Assad's “Al-Janna Al-Aan" (Supplied)

Armed with explosives, they attempt to cross into Israel, but are pursued by border guards and separated.

When they are reunited, one character decides against carrying out the bombing, and tries to convince his friend to quit as well.

“Paradise Now” was not Abu-Assad’s only Academy Award nomination. His film “Omar,” which won the Muhr awards for Best Film and Best Director at the 2013 Dubai International Film Festival, was also shortlisted for the same category at the 2014 Oscars.



4. CAFARNAUM — Lebanon

Directed by celebrated Lebanese filmmaker Nadine Labaki, “Capernaum” depicts the complicated life of undocumented migrants, refugees and workers in Lebanon through the story of 12-year old Zain, who lives in the slums of Beirut.

The film generated $68 million at the box office worldwide, more than 17 times its production budget, becoming the highest-grossing Middle Eastern and Arabic movie of all time.

Lebanese director Nadine Labaki's “Cafarnaum" (Supplied)

“Capernaum” won the Jury Prize at the 2018 Cannes Film Festival — it received a solid 15-minute standing ovation after its screening there — and was shortlisted for Best Foreign Language Film at the 91st Academy Awards.

Labaki’s other productions include “Caramel” and “Where Do We Go Now?”


5. THEEB — Jordan

This drama by Naji Abu Nowar starred non-professional Bedouin actors and focuses on events unfolding in the Wadi Rum desert in southern Jordan during World War I.

Jordanian director Naji Abu Nowar's “Theeb" (Supplied)

In 2016, “Theeb” won internationally recognition by becoming the first Jordanian nomination to make it to the shortlist for Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards.

It was also nominated for Best Film Not in the English Language at the 69th British Academy Film Awards, and won the Best Director award at the 71st Venice International Film Festival.


• This report is being published by Arab News as a partner of the Middle East Exchange, which was launched by the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to reflect the vision of the UAE prime minister and ruler of Dubai to explore the possibility of changing the status of the Arab region.