Egyptian label Toroz incorporates local embroidery techniques into its contemporary clothing

Egyptian label Toroz incorporates local embroidery techniques into its contemporary clothing
Toroz was founded in 2019 by Egyptian designer Lobna Zogheib. (Supplied)
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Updated 30 October 2020

Egyptian label Toroz incorporates local embroidery techniques into its contemporary clothing

Egyptian label Toroz incorporates local embroidery techniques into its contemporary clothing

CAIRO: “Your heritage speaks volumes about who you are. Wear it with pride.”

That’s the tagline for up-and-coming Egyptian fashion label Toroz, which aims to revive local embroidery traditions and revamp them for modern, contemporary wear.

Founded in 2019 by Egyptian designer Lobna Zogheib, Toroz works with female artisans in Sohag in the Upper Egypt area and in the Siwa oasis in Egypt’s Western Desert to create high-quality locally embroidered garments, becoming, according to its Instagram page “a gateway between cultural iconic craftsmanship and modern-day fashion style.”

“I’ve always had a passion for handcrafted work, especially traditional Egyptian embroidery,” Zogheib tells Arab News. “Our embroidery techniques are incredible, but I always felt that the designs were a bit outdated and in need of a revamp. This is how the idea of setting up Toroz came about.”

Zogheib works with two forms of embroidery. The first is Tally, an Upper-Egypt embroidery tradition dating back to the 19th century, in which metal threads — either silver or gold — are sewn into tulle or other fabrics.

She also works with Siwan embroiderers, creating designs inspired by Siwa’s traditional wedding dresses.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Carry your heritage with pride and look fine while you’re at it

A post shared by Toroz (@toroz.eg) on

Zogheib came up with the concept for Toroz during her senior year as a graphic design student. For her graduation project, she traced the history of different traditional costumes of Egypt. As part of her research, Zogheib spoke to local artisans and was surprised to find that they weren’t selling many of these costumes.

“I also found out that Siwan women were no longer wearing their own traditional dresses due to their high prices. Unless they inherit these costumes from their own mothers or grandmothers, none of these women buy them anymore,” she says.

Zogheib also looked into the multiple meanings of the motifs and symbols typical of Tally garments and Siwan embroidery pattern designs, which include plant motifs, particularly palm groves.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Inspired by the natural beauty of Siwa

A post shared by Toroz (@toroz.eg) on

“Siwan women typically incorporate the colors of dates in their different stages of ripening into their designs — ranging from the green and yellow to the red, dark red, and, finally, black,” she explains.

As part of her project, Zogheib designed pieces inspired by the traditional clothing of both Sohag and Siwa. One of her earliest designs was of a basic black jacket with oversized sleeves, the latter being typical of a traditional Siwan bridal dress, which is comprised of rectangular pieces of fabric sewn together.

After graduating, Zogheib decided to take her interest in reviving these local traditions a step further by setting up Toroz.

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A little story of Egyptian heritage made into a modern Talli piece.

A post shared by Toroz (@toroz.eg) on

“We may have many local Egyptian brands, but not so many Egyptian-inspired local brands, so I wanted to start a brand that belonged to the latter group,” Zogheib says. “I started going to more local exhibitions where I met many of these local artisans and commissioned some of them to create high-quality embroidered pieces.”

Zogheib sends her designs to artisans in Siwa and Sohag who embroider them on cloth. She then integrates these embellished pieces into her garments.

To date, Zogheib has released a variety of casual and formal garments ranging from skirts and blazer dresses to trousers, jackets and cardigans. Most of the items are in either black or white, although she says she would be open to “experimenting with more colors later on.”

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This is a shoutout to the women of Suhag who bring our designs to life

A post shared by Toroz (@toroz.eg) on

The resulting designs are timeless, elegant and minimal. “I guess what makes Toroz stand out is how the motifs are implemented in design — and how the patterns come together — in minimal, clean finishing,” Zogheib says.

Each piece is made by order, and usually takes around three weeks to finish. The intricate embroidery can mean that they tend to be on the expensive side.

“I don’t expect everyone to appreciate the designs or understand their value. Some believe that our work is overpriced and do not realize its handmade quality,” Zogheib says. “But those who are familiar with our traditional embroidery and the effort that goes into it certainly understand the high price tag.”

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

For the love of white

A post shared by Toroz (@toroz.eg) on

The design quality isn’t the only reason for the cost, she points out. Higher prices also ensure sustainable livelihoods for the local female artisans working with Toroz, something that is central to the brand’s business model.

“I want our female artisans to generate their own income. It’s hard for these women to join me as full timers, as they have families to look after. So, they’re usually commissioned by piece,” Zogheib says.

Right now, Zogheib is busy preparing for a new winter collection. The young designer is as determined as ever to continue celebrating Egypt’s cultural heritage, and empowering female artisans in the process.


Amy Poehler’s high-school comedy ‘Moxie’ calls out toxic masculinity

‘Moxie’ is now streaming on Netflix. Supplied
‘Moxie’ is now streaming on Netflix. Supplied
Updated 07 March 2021

Amy Poehler’s high-school comedy ‘Moxie’ calls out toxic masculinity

‘Moxie’ is now streaming on Netflix. Supplied

LONDON: There were many things to love about “Parks and Recreation” – but one of the most obvious was that it starred, unusually, an eternally upbeat, yet likeable protagonist. So perhaps it’s no surprise that Amy Poehler, who played the irrepressible Leslie Knope in “Parks & Rec,” and the “cool mom” in cult classic “Mean Girls,” brings a similar positivity to Netflix high-school comedy “Moxie,” which marks her second directorial outing.

Vivian Carter (Hadley Robinson) is a smart, switched-on student who already longs to leave behind her clique-y high school for what she believes will be the more mature world of college. Vivian flies under the radar, keeping her head down and letting the inequality of high school pass her by. After all, why fight a system that can’t be changed, right?

Well, not quite. When new student Lucy (Alycia Pascual-Peña) draws the unwanted attention of stereotypically obnoxious jock Mitchell Wilson (Patrick Schwarzenegger), something shifts for Vivian. Spurred on by her mother’s rebellious past, Vivian starts a zine – Moxie. In the pages of the guerrilla pamphlet, she calls out the toxic, chauvinistic masculinity that permeates the school, and lambasts the authorities (typified by the spineless principal Shelly, who just wants everyone to get along and not generate any paperwork). Before you know it, the Moxie movement has swept across the campus, drawing support — and no shortage of ire.

It’s a curious mix of feel-good empowerment, cutesy teen film, and stirring call-to-action. Supplied

Poehler is a gifted comic actress — and her cameo as Vivian’s mum gives her a couple of the movie’s funniest moments vv but from the director’s chair, she opts to dial back the laughs somewhat. There are some smile-inducing moments, and the movie deftly flits from teenage angst to meet-cute and back again. What’s more (and to Poehler’s credit), “Moxie” doesn’t linger on the stereotypical beats of a teen rom-com, but nor does it shy away from highlighting the darker, seedier underbelly of the high-school system in the US. It’s a curious mix of feel-good empowerment, cutesy teen film, and stirring call-to-action. Much like it’s lead character, “Moxie” is difficult to define, but easy to like.


Osama bin Laden son takes up painting

Osama bin Laden son takes up painting
Updated 06 March 2021

Osama bin Laden son takes up painting

Osama bin Laden son takes up painting
  • Omar’s works include landscapes of the mountains of Tora Bora in Afghanistan
  • His creations including vivid depictions of the US, a country he has never visited

LONDON: Osama bin Laden’s son Omar has reportedly taken up painting as a method of coping with lockdowns introduced to curb the spread of COVID-19.
Omar, the 39-year-old fourth son of the former Al-Qaeda leader, lives in Normandy in northern France with his wife Zaina, a painter from Cheshire in the UK.
His creations including vivid depictions of the US, a country he has never visited and against which his father waged a terrorist insurgency for many years, including the 9/11 attacks, culminating in his assassination in 2011.
Omar’s works also include landscapes of the mountains of Tora Bora in Afghanistan, where his father hid from US forces for many years.
He told Vice News that he had suffered for many years with post-traumatic stress disorder, following a childhood that saw him uprooted from his family home outside Jeddah to resettle in Sudan and war-torn Afghanistan as his father pursued his campaigns.
Omar later rejected his father and left Afghanistan following his experiences of the conflict there.
“I want the world to learn that I have grown; that I am comfortable within myself for the first time in my life; that the past is the past and one must learn to live with what has gone by,” he said. “One must forgive if not forget, so that one may be at peace with one’s emotions.”


Gigi Hadid opens and closes Versace Fall 2021 show

Gigi Hadid closes the Versace Fall 2021 Ready-to-Wear show. Supplied
Gigi Hadid closes the Versace Fall 2021 Ready-to-Wear show. SuppliedGigi Hadid closes the Versace Fall 2021 Ready-to-Wear show. Supplied
Updated 06 March 2021

Gigi Hadid opens and closes Versace Fall 2021 show

Gigi Hadid closes the Versace Fall 2021 Ready-to-Wear show. Supplied

DUBAI: Gigi Hadid is officially back on the runway. Almost six months after giving birth to her baby girl with Zayn Malik, the Palestinian-Dutch model made her triumphant catwalk return on Friday, walking on the runway of the Versace Fall 2021 show at the Milan Congress Center alongside her younger sister Bella.

The 25-year-old opened the show wearing a long, black overcoat, midriff-baring corset, a short skirt and a pair of chunky platform hiking boots. The look was completed with brand new red hair, that the new mother says was inspired by Netflix series “The Queen’s Gambit.” 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid)

She changed into a printed mini dress, accessorized with tights, platform shoes and a wide belt for her second look. Then closed out the event in a sheer long-sleeve black gown covered in a subtle monogram motif. 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid)

On Instagram, Gigi shared some footage from the show and wrote: “Opening & closing @versace is always an honor and was the best ‘comeback.’ Mostly just lucky to be healthy, working, and in a safe/tested environment to hug so many I’ve missed like family this past year. Thank you to everyone who made this possible, especially my Italian Taurus queen.”

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Gigi Hadid (@gigihadid)

Meanwhile, her younger sister Bella also made three appearances on the pre-filmed runway. First, she turned heads in a cropped bustier, skater skirt, black bandana and monogram gloves before changing into a purple pleated dress with matching printed tights and satin platform heels. For her final turn down the runway, she wore a slinky printed mini dress.

The Milan Fashion Week event marked the sister duo’s first runway appearance together since Miu Miu’s Fall 2020 show last March.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Bella (@bellahadid)

The virtual pre-recorded show aired on YouTube amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Supermodels Irina Shayk and Vittoria Ceretti also strutted down the pre-filmed runway in the Italian fashion house’s luxurious winter offerings.


Drake shows love for Dubai’s royal family in latest track

Drake dropped a new EP over the weekend. File/Instagram
Drake dropped a new EP over the weekend. File/Instagram
Updated 06 March 2021

Drake shows love for Dubai’s royal family in latest track

Drake dropped a new EP over the weekend. File/Instagram

DUBAI: Drake’s love for Dubai is no secret. In fact, the Toronto native, who has visited the city on multiple occasions, has been quite vocal about his admiration by way of Instagram photos and song lyrics, including a line in “Free Smoke,” from his 2017 album “More Life”: “I want to move to Dubai, so I don’t never have to kick it with none of you guys.”

He also namedrops the UAE city in “Sacrifices” featuring Young Thug, in which he states “I got Dubai plates in the California state.”

The Canadian superstar also developed close friendships with UAE royals Sheikh Mansoor and Sheikh Hamdan Al-Maktoum, the sons of the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum.

The friendship continued to blossom, and the rapper has decided to give a shout out to his friends in a new track, which he dropped this weekend as part of his “Scary Hours 2” EP.

In the song “Lemon Pepper Freestyle” featuring Rick Ross, Drake refers to the Dubai princes as his family.

“And that’s facts, Hamdan Mohammed like my third cousin (Facts)/Mansoor Mohammed like my real brother (Facts)/Dubai embrace me like a Emirati (Facts),” he raps over the moody instrumental.

It’s not the first time that the Grammy award-winning artist has hinted at his ties with the royals. In a 2015 Instagram post from his visit to Dubai, he admitted to looking like Sheikh Mansoor, jokingly stating that he was his “long lost brother.”


Lebanese jewelry maker Danya Jabre on her fun, funky homegrown brand

Lebanese jewelry maker Danya Jabre on her fun, funky homegrown brand
Updated 05 March 2021

Lebanese jewelry maker Danya Jabre on her fun, funky homegrown brand

Lebanese jewelry maker Danya Jabre on her fun, funky homegrown brand

DUBAI: Danya Jabre has reached a stage in her life where she can look back and tell herself that she has done it all. But she has now settled enjoying what she loves most.

A mother, grandmother, and entrepreneur, Jabre fled her native Lebanon following the Israeli invasion in 1982, making her way to England first, and since living in the US, Canada, and France.

Along with her background in graphic design, all of her experiences and travels feed in one way or another into her fun and quirky fine-jewelry brand, The Twist.

“All my life, I used to plan things. They start and they fall apart,” she tells Arab News. But The Twist, which she started in 2014, looks like it’s here to stay.

Jabre’s fascination with jewelry began at an early age. Her mother returned from a trip to Hong Kong with a book on precious stones and their properties, she says: “I was nine! Why would a nine-year-old be interested in reading about a stone?”

But her mother also brought back some rough stones, which instantly sparked a desire in Jabre to hold and examine them, particularly in natural light.

Another distinct memory she shares is of her time spent in London’s punk scene of the 1980s, buying zipper earrings from King’s Road — a center of youth culture that she found fascinating.

The Twist’s first designs, set in gold and silver, were inspired by emojis that had become widely popular through Blackberry Messenger chats — a thing of the past. It was this collection that started it all, which is why it’s still Jabre’s favorite. “It brought me good luck,” she says. “It’s also happy. When I wear it, it’s a conversation starter and I get a lot of reactions from people.”

Another eye-catching collection came along soon after. “Happiness Therapy” consists of humorous necklaces on which hang colorful studded ‘happy’ pills. “It was based on my kids telling me to take a chill pill,” she says. On her website she writes of this collection: “The ultimate lesson that I learned through life is that humor eases difficult situations and makes everything better.” Even the packaging stands out; it resembles a medicine box, and contains the description: “Fast-acting, long-lasting.”

More recently, Jabre has designed larger statement pieces that still convey that pop-culture feel, such as her unique Chinese fortune cookie necklace, which hides a secret paper message and her ‘Popcorn Love’ ring, topped with shiny Mikimoto pearls disguised as pieces of popcorn.

But beyond that layer of joy and creativity, there is one particular collection for which she has a soft spot. When the Lebanese protested en masse against the government in October 2019, she decided to create “Lebanon in my Heart” — which consists of a map of Lebanon, the iconic clinched fist of the revolution, and a cedar tree with the ‘nazar’ symbol (believed to ward off the evil eye).

“I was on the streets at 3 a.m., 4 a.m., from October to February, believing that we can (make) this change,” she recalls. “It’s a very emotional subject. I’m emotionally drained by Lebanon and I still haven’t recovered.”

Like many other small businesses, The Twist has been through a tough period because of the COVID-19 pandemic. And being based in crises-stricken Lebanon has only exacerbated that. But Jabre remains optimistic, and is planning to amp her company’s digital presence.

Needless to say, Jabre gets a kick out of creating her pieces, but it’s the connection that she has built with people that brings her the most joy.

“I love to be creative,” she says. “With my clients, the relationship is not about selling. I follow up with them, asking them how they like their pieces. Some of them end up telling me their life stories. I have a personal relationship with my clients and it’s very encouraging.”