Blake Lively’s quick-fire fashion changes include Azzedine Alaia look

US actress Blake Lively is back in the spotlight. (File/AFP)
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Updated 29 January 2020

Blake Lively’s quick-fire fashion changes include Azzedine Alaia look

  • Blake Lively is on a whirlwind press tour to promote her new film “The Rhythm Section”

DUBAI: US actress Blake Lively is back in the spotlight. After taking an extended break from public appearances following the birth of her third child with husband Ryan Reynolds in October, the former “Gossip Girl” star is on a press tour to promote her latest film, “The Rhythm Section,” which sees the actress playing the role of a spy who takes out bad guys for revenge after discovering that the plane crash that killed her family wasn't an accident. 

On Monday, she arrived at the Brooklyn Academy of Music for the New York premiere of her new film wearing an off-the-shoulder black velvet gown by Dolce & Gabbana. Paired with leather opera gloves, an emerald Lorraine Schwartz choker and over-the-knee Christian Louboutin boots, Lively looked every bit the femme fatale, just like her onscreen personae.

The next morning, Lively stepped out wearing not one but three outfits in less than 24 hours. The mother of Inez, James and a new baby girl offered up a masterclass on almost a week’s worth of outfits in a span of a single day as she flitted from one interview to the next.

The mother-of-three wore not one, but three outfits while out in Manhattan. Getty

The 32-year-old kicked off her jam-packed day with an interview on “Good Morning America,” wearing mustard-yellow quilted shorts, a matching sequined jumper over a white button-up and a coat plucked from the Fendi Spring 2020 collection.

Never one to shy away from a rapid style switch-up, Lively has the ability to flip-flop from high-waisted shorts to mididresses in the span of a couple of hours with ease. Case in point: She quickly slipped into a sky blue printed Ulyana Sergeenko dress paired with a matching oversized coat from Max Mara for her second rendezvous of the morning.

The actress wore a head-to-toe Azzedine Alaia look while promoting her new film. Getty

For her third and final rapid-fire outfit change of the day, Lively opted for a head-to-toe ensemble from late Tunisian designer Azzedine Alaia. The star looked elegant in the label’s white button-up, which she tucked into a black velvet skirt. She completed the classic look with a pair of lace-up, suede boots and a studded wide-brimmed hat, also by Alaia.

Bahraini singer Mo Zowayed: ‘I’m not the sad and tortured type’

Mo Zowayed started singing when he was about 25. (Supplied)
Updated 05 June 2020

Bahraini singer Mo Zowayed: ‘I’m not the sad and tortured type’

  • The Bahraini singer-songwriter discusses his latest album and keeping busy in lockdown


MANAMA: Mo Zowayed’s email signature bills him as “Singer. Songwriter. Sleeper.” But the sleeping part of his repertoire is clearly not top of the 31-year-old Bahraini’s agenda.

Even in lockdown he’s busy, having recently taken part in an online concert to raise funds for Bahrain Animal Rescue Centre. (“I don’t know what life would be like without dogs and I’d rather not find out,” he says.) There’s another scheduled for the end of May. 

He’s also just gone live with his “Viola Sessions” — a series of five original tunes from his latest album,  “That Good Love,” released in November, captured at a local club — and he’s performing Instagram Live sessions every Saturday afternoon, besides writing a bunch of new material.

His dad is an oud player and his grandfather Mohamed is a respected folk singer. (Supplied)

It’s no surprise Zowayed ended up as a musician. His dad, Yusuf, is an oud player and his grandfather Mohamed is a respected folk singer. His own musical journey, though, began with a spot of bribery. 

“I started when I was 13. I struggled a bit in seventh grade with my math grades. My parents agreed to buy me a guitar if I managed to turn my grades around,” he says. “It was tough, but I did it. I got the guitar.” He’s now an accomplished player of several instruments, including mandolin, banjo, trumpet, ukulele and harmonica.

He didn’t start singing until he was about 25, though. He cites acoustic artists including Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz and Ben Harper as major influences. “I just loved the way that they could express themselves with just a guitar and (vocals). So, I started practicing like crazy,” he says. 

His own musical journey, though, began with a spot of bribery. (Supplied)

Unlike many regional musicians, he was always set on writing and performing his own material, rather than covers. “I’m still surprised when I meet a good musician who doesn’t write their own stuff,” he says. “For me, it’s the most enjoyable part — there’s no feeling like performing a song you’ve written and having some of the audience singing along.”

Zowayed quickly established himself on the Bahrain music scene. “I started by accepting every single gig. I played everywhere — every little dingy venue. There were some well-known bands in Bahrain, but they played a couple shows a year, tops. I just wanted to put myself out there, and I was one of very few people doing that. What makes me happy is that almost every band in Bahrain is doing that now. We’ve got a community of working musicians who are on stage all the time. I love seeing that.”

His work ethic and determination eventually landed him an American tour — something few independent musicians from the Middle East manage to achieve. “I spent months emailing, calling and messaging venues in the US. I must have contacted over 100 venues and festivals. I didn’t give up, even after 50 rejections — no exaggeration. I just kept trying.

He cites acoustic artist Ben Harper as a major influence. (AFP)

“Eventually I was offered a spot at Farmfest in Michigan. That gave me the motivation to keep trying to book shows. We played in Colorado, Michigan, Iowa, Nashville, Alabama and Ohio. It was the most surreal time.”

From there, Zowayed and his “incredible band” The Moonshiners, got offered a support slot for UK star Jools Holland at London’s iconic Royal Albert Hall in 2017. “I just can’t overstate how magical that night was,” he says. In December last year, he and The Moonshiners were back on tour with Holland and played several shows of their own in the UK to support the release of “The Good Love.”

He cites acoustic artist Jason Mraz as a major influence. (AFP)

That album has evolved from the folky roots of Zowayed’s debut EP “New York Times,” partly because he’s playing an electric guitar, but he describes it as a natural progression. 

“I really wanted to make an upbeat record, because that’s the kind of music I’m into these days. I’m a pretty upbeat guy,” he says. “I’m not the sad and tortured type, and I’ve realized that’s okay, I don’t need to be.  As soon as I embraced that, the songs started pouring out. The result is an album that gets me excited every time I hear it.” 

Zowayed’s goal is to be a touring musician, and he recognizes that that could mean leaving the GCC. “It’s simply not possible in the Middle East when it comes to non-Arabic music,” he says. 

But his local fans don’t need to worry just yet. “I’m on a mission to put out as much music and as many videos as I can and play as many shows as possible,” he says. “And I hope to see everyone at a live show once we kick this virus in the behind.”