Saudi shoe designer Lulu Al-Hassan shows off new collection at LFW

Saudi shoe designer Lulu Al-Hassan shows off new collection at LFW
Saudi shoe designer Lulu Al-Hassan unveiled her latest collection at London Fashion Week. (Getty)
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Updated 19 February 2020

Saudi shoe designer Lulu Al-Hassan shows off new collection at LFW

Saudi shoe designer Lulu Al-Hassan shows off new collection at LFW

LONDON: OK ladies, take a deep breath and get ready for a new way of looking at shoes. Are they items to protect your feet? Fashion statements from towering heels to trending trainers? Comfy  friends or crippling assassins? Or as Lulu Al-Hassan, founder and creative director of the Lu Vixen luxury shoe brand would have it ‘lingerie for the feet?'

Yes, you heard that right. That was the message the Saudi national wanted to convey at her mind-boggling show at the Hotel Café Royal’s Oscar Wilde Lounge as part of “Stories from Arabia” at London Fashion Week.

It was as though someone in Hollywood had shouted: “I want a room full of international people of glamour – people of all races, all styles from outrageous to demure – and I want them to assemble in a big crush in the Oscar Wilde Lounge right now!”

Boom! I found myself transported into that opulent room and, to be honest, at first it was all a bit overwhelming. Pouting models with impossibly long legs reclined languidly on chaise lounges dotted around the room.

In the middle of all this glitter, glamour and mayhem stood Al-Hassan looking like Goldilocks. As she moved about the room in her floaty green gown, graciously posing for pictures with well-wishers, you had to admire her chutzpah.

In fact, one of Wilde’s quotes could have been written for her. “Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.”

She has bravely forged her own path to follow her passion for shoes. Her journey has not been an easy one, particularly as her family did not support her breaking away from her corporate career.

“My family really did not like my idea because I have a masters in IT from a good university in the US and I was holding a good position in Saudi Arabia,” she told Arab News. “All of sudden, I decided to quit all that and go to Italy and study shoe design which is my passion. It wasn’t easy because at that time Saudi wasn’t as open as it is today. So, I had to struggle and make my own way.”

She studied shoemaking and pattern cutting at Milan’s prestigious Arsutoria School, established in 1947. She also took pattern-cutting classes in London.

“I wanted this collection to be very chic and detailed,” she said about her latest collection. “We have used a lot of chiffon and delicate fabrics not usually associated with shoes. Lu Vixen is basically lingerie for the feet so the shoe has to be soft on your skin and comfortable.”

Alongside the stilettos with gold and silver metallic aspects paired with classic black were beautifully crafted lower-heeled shoes and sandals in suede and leather. Chiffon trims complement a palette of fuchsia, orange and lime green.

“I try to focus on a big range because whatever I like you might not like. It is important for women to understand their feet and to choose shoes not just by brand but by what works for them. What is comfortable for one woman might not be comfortable for another because everyone is different in terms of height and weight.”

Al-Hassan has made a success of a dream she nurtured from a very young age through using her initiative.

“Shoes are my passion. I have loved them since childhood and over the years I have done a lot to learn about the shoemaking craft. I used to be a collector and I taught myself. I studied the anatomy of the feet. I was so thirsty for knowledge. I used to travel and pay all my own costs to attend leather fairs and the like just to educate myself.”

The numbers of guests entering the Oscar Wilde Lounge for the show were restricted for safety reasons, meaning hundreds of people had to stand outside on Regent Street waiting for admission. That they did so on a cold February night is a big tribute to the designer, who is brimming with talent, vitality and fun.


Cairo International Film Festival announces 2021 dates

Lebanese actress Nour poses on the red carpet at the opening ceremony of the 41st edition of Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF). AFP
Lebanese actress Nour poses on the red carpet at the opening ceremony of the 41st edition of Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF). AFP
Updated 13 April 2021

Cairo International Film Festival announces 2021 dates

Lebanese actress Nour poses on the red carpet at the opening ceremony of the 41st edition of Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF). AFP

DUBAI:The 43rd edition of the Cairo International Film Festival (CIFF) is set to take place from Dec. 1-10, 2021, it was announced this week.

Egyptian film producer Mohamed Hefzy, president of the Cairo International Film Festival, said in a released statement: “Film Festivals have found a way to adapt and survive, acting as a lifeline for films and filmmakers that have been affected and challenged by the pandemic, including such threats as disrupted productions, and the closure of theatres throughout the world. Very few festivals managed to hold a physical edition, and we are proud to say that Cairo was one of them, setting the bar for an even more successful physical edition this year.”

This year’s festival will also offer prizes to 15 film projects.

“The festival’s programming team and management are thrilled by the challenge that this upcoming edition offers, and we are eager to present a diverse and rich lin0eup of films and a selection worthy of the festival’s audience that has come to expect more in terms of quality and surprises year after year,” added Hefzy.

“During the last three years we did strive to realize our fullest ambitions and utmost success in our offering of programming, and in the various support platforms offered to professionals by Cairo Industry Days, including the Cairo Film Connection which last year offered prizes valued at nearly $250,000 to 15 very different quality projects.”

As with the previous three editions, the festival will also feature the industry-focused Cairo Industry Days and its Cairo Film Connection co-financing event.

Last year’s edition featured more than 95 films from over 40 countries.

Despite challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, including 50 percent less capacity due to social distancing, the festival sold 30,000 tickets while 200 international guests also attended in 2020. 

CIFF is not only the region’s oldest and largest annual film festival, but also the only internationally accredited one in the Middle East and Africa.

In 2019, the cinematic event also became the first Arab film festival to sign the 5050×2020 gender equality pledge, committing to empowering women and increasing transparency about issues of gender disparity in the Middle Eastern film industry.

That same year, CIFF achieved Oscar-qualifying film festival status in the Short Film category, becoming the only festival in North Africa to join Cannes, Venice, Sundance, and other prestigious events in this recognition.


Instagram partners with Bahraini artist Hala Al-Abbasi on Ramadan stickers 

Instagram partners with Bahraini artist Hala Al-Abbasi on Ramadan stickers 
Updated 13 April 2021

Instagram partners with Bahraini artist Hala Al-Abbasi on Ramadan stickers 

Instagram partners with Bahraini artist Hala Al-Abbasi on Ramadan stickers 

DUBAI: Social media platform Instagram has teamed up with Bahraini artist Hala Al-Abbasi on three new stickers for Ramadan that were released on Monday.

The first sticker is an illustration of a mosque against the backdrop of star and a crescent. The second picture is a visual of tea and dates to represent Ramadan traditions. The last image is also an illustration of a crescent and stars. 

According to Instagram Design’s account: “Hala Al-Abbasi, an illustrator in Bahrain, was inspired by her favorite aspects of the holiday, and chose to reflect on the ‘beautiful moments that we share together.’” 

“Hala hopes that her stickers will be used throughout Ramadan to mark moments of celebration, from greetings to special suhoors and iftars, all the way to celebrating Eid,” the design-focused account added. 

To use the stickers, you will need to open the Instagram Story tray and add your favorite sticker to your story. 

Instagram/@haluulie

In celebration of the Ramadan, Instagram has added a feature that allows you to see stories with these stickers from people you follow all in a shared story.

Al-Abbasi took to her account to share her excitement for the collaboration. “OMG I DID RAMADAN STICKERS!! THEY ARE FINALLY OUT (sic),” she shared in her stories.

Instagram/@haluulie

“ENJOYED every process of creating these cute stickers for you guys! So you can use them as much as you can during your daily routine in Ramadan (sic),” the designer added. 


Bella Hadid fronts Fendi’s latest collection

Bella Hadid graces the Fendi limited-edition capsule collection. Supplied
Bella Hadid graces the Fendi limited-edition capsule collection. Supplied
Updated 13 April 2021

Bella Hadid fronts Fendi’s latest collection

Bella Hadid graces the Fendi limited-edition capsule collection. Supplied

DUBAI: This week, British designer Kim Jones unveiled a limited-edition capsule for Rome-based brand Fendi and tapped part-Palestinian model Bella Hadid to front the campaign.

The 23-year-old is joined by fellow model Lila Moss in the lookbook photos. The catwalk stars are seen in elegant draped white satin gowns, form-fitting black dresses, crisp cotton shirting, ballerina slippers embossed with Karligraphy beaded monograms and knee-high satin boots that make up the capsule.

When it comes to the accessories, new iterations of the Baguette and Peekaboo handbags have been added to the line, which are either accented with pearls or boast prints influenced by the Bloomsbury Group — a 20th century group of English writers, intellectuals, philosophers and artists —and their Sussex home, Charleston House. 

Bella Hadid graces the Fendi limited-edition capsule collection. Supplied

Inspired by the legacy of the influential literary cohort, the Bloomsbury Group and Virginia Woolf’s novel “Orlando,” the capsule will be exclusively available for only two weeks at select boutiques around the world starting on April 15.

The British designer was announced as the new artistic director of Fendi, seven months after the passing of the late Karl Lagerfeld, in September. He assumed his new role while remaining at the creative helm of Dior Men.

Jones presented his debut collection as artistic director of Fendi in January 2021 in Paris during Haute Couture Week.

Bella Hadid graces the Fendi limited-edition capsule collection. Supplied

For the Spring 2021 couture show, the designer invited the modeling world’s brightest stars to bring his clothes to life, including Dutch-Palestinian Bella Hadid.  

Hadid featured in the video-streamed show in a diaphanous cape. Moss also starred in the show, alongside her mother, iconic supermodel Kate Moss. For the presentation, Lila wore a beaded sheer gown over a cream bodysuit, while her 47-year-old mother was dressed in a silver maxi dress with capelet sleeves.

Hadid’s involvement with Fendi’s latest capsule collection comes just after she appeared in French maison Mugler’s fashion film, which debuted recently on the brand’s Instagram and YouTube accounts.

The short film showed Hadid, alongside other models Hunter Shafer and Irina Shayk, jumping and flipping their way down the runway in death-defying stunts.


Fast-fashion website PrettyLittleThing makes its debut in Saudi Arabia

Fast-fashion retailer PrettyLittleThing launched an Arabic version of its website in Saudi Arabia. Supplied
Fast-fashion retailer PrettyLittleThing launched an Arabic version of its website in Saudi Arabia. Supplied
Updated 13 April 2021

Fast-fashion website PrettyLittleThing makes its debut in Saudi Arabia

Fast-fashion retailer PrettyLittleThing launched an Arabic version of its website in Saudi Arabia. Supplied

DUBAI: Popular online shopping destination PrettyLittleThing has just landed in Saudi Arabia. The e-commerce platform, beloved by It-girls and celebrities including Kourtney Kardashian, Hailey Bieber, Saweetie and Maya Jama, has launched an Arabic website in the Kingdom to cater to its growing Saudi market. 

“We are so excited to further propel our presence into the global scene and continue to acknowledge and empower the women of the GCC, by inspiring them to narrate their own stories in PrettyLittleThing,” said Umar Kamani, Owner and CEO at PrettyLittleThing in a released statement. 

The new platform features the retailer’s ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes and accessories. Supplied

The new platform aims to facilitate the online shopping experience of shoppers based in the Gulf country by introducing an all-Arabic website.

Boasting a selection of the UK-based retailer’s ready-to-wear, handbags, shoes, accessories and highly sought-after celebrity collaborations,  the online platform offers Saudi shoppers simplified access to the fast-fashion brand’s products with a tap of a button. 

This move further bolsters the brand’s digital portfolio. PrettyLittleThing already has an online presence in a number of countries, including the UAE.


Oscar-nominated ‘Minari’ depicts immigrant family’s American dream

Oscar-nominated ‘Minari’ depicts immigrant family’s American dream
Updated 13 April 2021

Oscar-nominated ‘Minari’ depicts immigrant family’s American dream

Oscar-nominated ‘Minari’ depicts immigrant family’s American dream

CHENNAI: Minari is a kind of vegetable that grows in the East Asian wilds and is treasured for its medicinal properties and detoxifying effect. In the film directed by Lee Isaac Chung, “Minari” takes on a mysteriously providential sign, indicating that good things can come from the soil.

We watch how the movie’s protagonist Jacob Yi (Steven Yeun) insists on a livelihood from his land. While “Minari” was unfairly given a thumbs down in this year’s Golden Globes and disqualified in the Best Picture (drama) race, it flourished in the Oscars with a nomination in several categories: Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, Best Director, Best Actor, and Best Supporting Actress.

Yeun plays a Korean immigrant in America, a place he believes to be a “garden of Eden.”

Set in the 1980s, the story tells of how the US is not quite the land of honey and milk he thought it would be. Jacob and his wife Monica (Han Ye-hi) move from the stability of California, where she struggled in her job at a chicken hatchery, to the beautiful, expansive Arkansas. Jacob and his family, including his daughter Anne (Noel Cho) and son David (Alan Kim), may be stuck in a trailer for a home, but the 500 acres of land that come with it are sheer joy for the man, who plans to grow Korean vegetables for his cousins who miss their home cuisine.

Monica is less exuberant, given the fact that life in her new home is a lot harder than what it was in California. David is strained by a cardiac problem and the nearest hospital is an hour’s drive away, worrying his mother. But Jacob relentlessly pushes ahead with his dream, and even invites Monica’s elderly mother Soon-ja (Korean screen legend Youn Yuh-jung) to take care of the children while the couple are away at work.

Chung peppers his work with delightful incidents, although there is understandable tension and disappointment when Jacob finds it hard to strike water for his land. But with the kids’ grandmother playing a pacifist, calming frayed nerves and acting as a bridge between Korea and the US by introducing some traditional Asian values, the small family ploughs on.

Chung weaves into the script his own experiences growing up in an Arkansas farm in the 1980s, and gives it a pleasurably languid feel. Lachlan Milne’s camera captures the soothing radiance of the green environment with the glowing rays of the sun beating down. Emile Mosseri’s score adds to this calming effect with a score that has a lovely old-world charm. Yeun’s intelligent piece of acting, and Han’s performance as a worrying mother with Kim adding the mischievous element, ensures that “Minari” is a must-watch for all who believe that cinema must be more than just a restless string of images and drama.