French model Cindy Bruna gushes over late Tunisian icon Azzedine Alaïa

French model Cindy Bruna gushes over late Tunisian icon Azzedine Alaïa
French model Cindy Bruna recently spoke about her memories of late Tunisian couturier Azzedine Alaïa. (Getty Images)
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Updated 17 December 2020

French model Cindy Bruna gushes over late Tunisian icon Azzedine Alaïa

French model Cindy Bruna gushes over late Tunisian icon Azzedine Alaïa

DUBAI: Tunisian couturier Azzedine Alaïa passed away in 2017, but his legacy and his brand are still thriving. 

French model Cindy Bruna celebrated Maison Alaïa’s Editions collection by starring in a video by global e-tailer Net-a-Porter in which she, along with French model Yasmin Le Bon and Chinese actress Zhu Zhu, shared their most cherished memories of working with the couturier. 

In the three-minute clip, Bruna, 26, recalled that the first piece she ever got from Alaïa was a T-shirt that he gave her when she was 17. “Obviously, I still have that piece. I just love it. It was really special because it was a gift from him,” she said. 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by ALAÏA (@maisonalaia)

Bruna, whose first modeling jobs were for Alaïa and Lebanese designer Elie Saab, said the best moments she shared with Alaïa were in his kitchen. 

“It was his jokes and the realness of the moment that we were all sharing together. Spending a week with him and his team and all the models… it was really, really precious,” she added. 

According to the star, the designer’s influence on her went beyond fashion.

“I can really say that he was the one who, you know, made me believe even in myself, even when I was actually doubted in this model industry (sic),” she explained. “That gave me the strength to… finish school, move to Paris and start my career.”

When speaking about the designer’s creations, the catwalk star said: “His dresses make me feel beautiful and strong, make me feel empowered.” 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Yasmin Le Bon (@yasminlebon)

For her part, Le Bon said: “Your personality is what he wanted to shine through. Any size, any shape, any age… but your personality. That taste level is something that is so hard to define and almost impossible to do. Only a real craftsman can do.”  

Meanwhile, Zhu Zhu said she admired Alaïa’s materials, his pattern making and the maison’s designs. “Effortless. This is what I love about Alaïa,” she said. 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by Zhu Zhu (@zhuzhuclubheaven)

The couturier, who died in November 2017 in Paris, was a renowned designer, known by the fashion world as the “King of Cling.”

His creations were worn by Rihanna, Penelope Cruz Kim Kardashian and many more, while British supermodel Naomi Campbell famously called him “papa” due to their close relationship.


Painting the words: ‘Sauce of Mango’ mixes between the beauty of Arabic fables and art

Painting the words: ‘Sauce of Mango’ mixes between the beauty of Arabic fables and art
Updated 27 September 2021

Painting the words: ‘Sauce of Mango’ mixes between the beauty of Arabic fables and art

Painting the words: ‘Sauce of Mango’ mixes between the beauty of Arabic fables and art
  • The book fits all age groups but primarily caters to an older audience as some stories have dark themes

JEDDAH: Finding the right art to represent literary work is a challenge. With so much to choose from, one Saudi author decided to get help through an art platform for diversity and inclusion.

Saad Almotham mixed with his literary work with artwork provided by a group of 56 Saudi and Arab artists to create a book that is an art project in itself, titled “Sauce of Mango.”

Made up of a hundred short fables, written in Arabic and showcasing 96 artworks, it began in 2012 when Almotham found his niche, initially using Twitter to share the stories in 140 and, later, 280 characters. 

“I had a word limit and I had to tell a story within that limit, and that’s quite a challenge,” he said. “I often had to go back and forth through the stories I wanted to tweet as I wanted them to be meaningful and short at the same time.”

It was after posting 200 stories that Almotham got the idea of compiling them in a book. He selected 100, and decided on the title after the main character from one short fable.

“The main character is afraid of trying new things and I too was experiencing something new, so I chose his name as a reference to my own story in writing as we’re both trying to create something new and different,” said Almotham. 

The book fits all age groups but primarily caters to an older audience as some stories have dark themes.

For the artwork, the author wanted to select things that would accommodate the storyline best. With the help of artists through the Fitrh Art platform, he was able to have a unique and distinct piece of art for most of his literary works.

Fitrh Art is a platform that serves as a home to Arab artists interested in being part of a storytelling adventure. 

Selected artists were given the stories and worked on the ones that attracted them the most. “I didn’t interfere much with the artists past the initial rough sketch, I wanted to preserve their style and what they were comfortable with. I didn’t want it to look like a comic book, I wanted it to be a work of art,” said Almotham.

Hana Kanee, a 29-year-old Saudi artist, was part of the creative set that contributed to the book.

“I didn’t know the author beforehand; I found this opportunity through Instagram and the way they showcased it was ‘as a collection of stories where animals will be expressing themselves through Arabic poetry,’ it sounded very creative and made me imagine the possibilities,” she artist told Arab News. 

Kanee chose the stories that resonated with her most. She described the process as fun, saying that “the stories made me laugh immediately and the artist’s description of the stories was very colorful, which is perfect for my artwork. It reminded me of my childhood as well.”

The artists had the freedom to bring their creative talent to the mix and were given enough space to pursue it.

Bringing the book together proved to be quite a challenge for Almotham; he said he felt like it was impossible at times. The pandemic did not help this initial dread, and he added: “The fact that we were able to pull it off and put this project out in the world makes me feel very proud.” 

Once the book was complete, the author organized an online art exhibition in collaboration with the Fitrh Art platform, where they showcased the artwork with the stories as a description. 

Almotham is currently working on the English translation of the book, and hopes to publish it soon.

“During the exhibition we roughly translated the stories and those too were very well received, so I thought I should work on the translation for English readers to enjoy.”


New AlUla events announcement sparks excitement

Organizers have revealed that the highly anticipated Winter at Tantora event is set to return. (SPA)
Organizers have revealed that the highly anticipated Winter at Tantora event is set to return. (SPA)
Updated 32 min 31 sec ago

New AlUla events announcement sparks excitement

Organizers have revealed that the highly anticipated Winter at Tantora event is set to return. (SPA)

JEDDAH: Festivals and events are set to return to the beautiful landscape of AlUla. Saudis are growing in excitement after the announcement of Winter at Tantora, AlUla Arts, AlUla Skies, and the AlUla Wellness Festival. The series of events will start from Dec. 21 this year until March 30, 2022.

The festivals will offer experiences fit for all, including arts, culture, music, wellness, equestrian events, gastronomy, and astronomy.

The Winter at Tantora Festival will run from Dec. 21 to Feb. 12. Musical performances will be taking place in the beautiful Maraya Center, with a Candlelit Symphonic Concert at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra kicking off proceedings.

Paying tribute to Saudi Arabia’s horsing heritage, many equestrian events will take place, such as the Ikmah Fashion Calvary, an haute couture fashion event, the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques Endurance Race, and the AlUla Desert Polo.

Amira Abbas, who visited the festival in 2020, was thrilled to hear the announcement: “When I first went to AlUla it was magical, truly one of the most memorable experiences of my life. I am already excited to get back to the calm and quiet of the place. I will take at least a week off my schedule and plan a trip.”

FASTFACTS

• The Winter at Tantora Festival will run from Dec. 21 to Feb. 12. Musical performances will be taking place in the beautiful Maraya Center, with a Candlelit Symphonic Concert at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Hegra kicking off proceedings.

• AlUla Arts festival will commence February 2021, bringing together events.

The visitors will add to their knowledge of the site and the Kingdom through archeology and cultural workshops taking place at the heritage sites.

AlUla Arts festival will commence February 2021, bringing together events centered around artistic talents. The “art of our time”  exhibition will boast cutting-edge contemporary art created by Saudi artists. Alongside the exhibition is the Cinema El Housh, an outdoor cinema that will be showing the beauties of the oasis and other landscapes within AlUla. Saudi filmmakers will also contribute to these projects.

Another festival that will take flight is AlUla Skies, which will give tourists the chance to float over the Hegra in a hot air balloon, glide in a vintage plane over the oasis, and take a helicopter above the Madakheel. Back on land, adventurers can take the star-gazing tour titled “Constellations.”

Ohoud Abdallah, 27, spent three days touring the heritage sites of AlUla last year and told Arab News that she was not able to enjoy the skies on her visit: “It is a childhood fantasy of mine to go ride in a hot air balloon; last time I couldn’t because my timing was off. I am absolutely thrilled to see that it is coming back and there is nothing more I want to do than to float off in a balloon or just sit under the stars after being cooped up in my house for so long.”

Alula Wellness Festival, running from March 17 to 27, will focus on the well-being of the mind and body, including yoga, meditation, mindful practices, and an exhibition that will use space, light, and sound to provoke the senses.


Model Malika El-Maslouhi walks for Missoni at Milan Fashion Week

Malika El-Maslouhi walked the runway at the Missoni show in Milan. (Getty Images)
Malika El-Maslouhi walked the runway at the Missoni show in Milan. (Getty Images)
Updated 26 September 2021

Model Malika El-Maslouhi walks for Missoni at Milan Fashion Week

Malika El-Maslouhi walked the runway at the Missoni show in Milan. (Getty Images)

DUBAI: Moroccan-Italian model Malika El-Maslouhi hit the catwalk at Missoni’s Spring/Summer 2022 showcase at Milan Fashion Week on Saturday, showing off the label’s signature print in her latest outing on the runway.

El-Maslouhi showed off a patchwork, halter-neck dress in the Italian fashion house’s go-to knit material, complete with zigzag patterns in varying sober shades.

“A dream to conclude Milan Fashion Week with the beautiful @missoni show,” she wrote on Instagram in Italian, alongside a carousel of videos and photos from the show.

El-Maslouhi showed off a patchwork, halter-neck dress in the Italian fashion house’s go-to knit material. (Getty Images)

The ready-to-wear collection marked the first outing as creative director for Alberto Caliri, the longtime right-hand designer of Angela Missoni.

It was a daring collection dotted with bandeau tops with trailing side panels, midriff-baring patchwork jumpers and trench coats opened to reveal barley-there bikinis. There were, however, more sedate options, with form-fitting dresses in patchwork or zigzag lurex, such as the piece worn by El-Maslouhi, as well as alluring minidresses and fluid knitted trousers with a shimmering silver finish.

The show marks the latest outing for El-Maslouhi, who has been in high demand this fashion week season.

Designer-to-the-stars David Koma tapped the model to showcase his latest collection during London Fashion Week earlier in September, and the Spring/Summer 2022 line did not disappoint.

For her part, El-Maslouhi showed off a number of looks, including a form-fitting gown in fluorescent pink complete with thin spaghetti straps and a heavily feathered bodice. A hip-high slit finished off the look.

Next up, the model showed off a black oversized hooded sweatshirt and matching leggings, both adorned with large reflective sequins.

The model was hot off a series of runway showcases at New York Fashion Week, where she walked for the likes of Ulla Johnson, Prabal Gurung and Peter Dundas’s collaboration with online retailer Revolve.  

The breakout star has been taking the industry by storm since making her modelling debut when she was 18-years-old.

In addition to gracing the runways of storied fashion houses such as Dior, Chanel, Valentino and Jacquemus, among others, the fashion star has also appeared in international campaigns for the likes of Off-White, Lanvin, Calvin Klein Swim and Zadig & Voltaire.


Run-of-the-mill Netflix thriller ‘Intrusion’ does not have much to hide

‘Intrusion’ is now streaming on Netflix. (Supplied)
‘Intrusion’ is now streaming on Netflix. (Supplied)
Updated 26 September 2021

Run-of-the-mill Netflix thriller ‘Intrusion’ does not have much to hide

‘Intrusion’ is now streaming on Netflix. (Supplied)

LONDON: We may have now reached a point whereby “middle-of-the-road Netflix thriller” should become an official cinematic sub-genre. The latest in the streaming giant’s slate of so-so dramas is “Intrusion,” which stars Freida Pinto and Logan Marshall-Green as married couple Meera and Henry, a pair of Bostonians who have given up city life to build an ultra-modern, luxury house in small-town USA. When the two come home from date night to find their fancy house ransacked, the police seem a little confused that only their phones and laptops were taken, with all their fancy belongings left behind. Why didn’t the thieves take anything else? Could this not be the simple home invasion we’re supposed to think it is?

The film stars Freida Pinto and Logan Marshall-Green. (Supplied)

Meera, inevitably, asks the same questions. Still reeling from the sense of violation after her home has been invaded, she begins to second-guess the details of the investigation. Why do the police seem so antagonistic towards them? Why is Henry so calm about the break-in? And what does any of it have to do with the case of a missing local teenager?

Director Adam Salky manages a few jump scares as Meera begins to poke around, but “Intrusion” lacks much in the way of palpable tension — Pinto frowns pretty well as she uncovers clue after clue, but the revelations of the final third are telegraphed in the first, and what is supposed to be the big finish might seem like a surprise to Meera, but audiences will be frustratingly ahead of her.

Director Adam Salky manages a few jump scares. (Supplied)

“Intrusion” is also clunkily written, which is a shame given that it is penned by Chris Sparling, who wrote last year’s entertaining and satisfyingly thoughtful “Greenland.” There is just something so unerringly predictable about Meera being led from one breadcrumb to the next, gathering painfully obvious clues that will have audiences shouting at the screen. At one point she seems like she has put the entire issue to bed — until you realize there’s about 25 minutes of the movie left, so you can expect at least one more twist. For a film built on a central mystery, there is very little that “Intrusion” leaves to the imagination.


‘Scenes from a Marriage’: The homage to a great screen work has little new to offer

‘Scenes from a Marriage’ was helmed by Hagai Levi. (Supplied)
‘Scenes from a Marriage’ was helmed by Hagai Levi. (Supplied)
Updated 26 September 2021

‘Scenes from a Marriage’: The homage to a great screen work has little new to offer

‘Scenes from a Marriage’ was helmed by Hagai Levi. (Supplied)

CHENNAI: Swedish legend Ingmar Bergman's 1973 “Scenes from a Marriage” caused a storm not merely in his native country, but also elsewhere in Europe. It is said that it led to a rise in divorce among married couples. His work, first as a television miniseries and later condensed into a feature film, traces a 10-year journey of a couple as they move toward a separation, and it is fraught with agony and uncertainty. Bergman inspired Noah Baumbach’s “Marriage Story” and earlier Richard Linklater's trilogy “Before...” Currently streaming on HBO, and OSN in the region, a new miniseries, also called “Scenes from a Marriage” was helmed by Hagai Levi, a Golden Globe winner for co-creating and co-producing the television drama, “The Affair.”

Levi's “Scenes from a Marriage” begins with Jessica Chastain’s Mira getting ready for a television commercial shoot, and the camera intercuts to her apartment that she shares with her husband, Jonathan (Isaac Oscar), and their four-year-old daughter. While the couple in Bergman's outing are interviewed by a magazine journalist, we have a university graduate (played by Sunita Mani) doing this in Levi's series. She is researching what makes two people stay together in a marriage for a long time, given that many go their separate ways in an average of about eight years. 

Both Oscar and Chastain are undoubtedly great actors. (Supplied)


But Levi is on the same page with Bergman in the scene where Mira and Jonathan meet their friends, a couple played by Nicole Beharie and Corey Stoll. The dinner conversation veers towards unease when an argument breaks out between the visiting couple, which causes a strange reaction from our star couple. The pair soon face marital issues when news of an unplanned pregnancy comes to the fore.

Levi's “Scenes from a Marriage,” which premiered recently at the Venice Film Festival, although a tribute to Bergman, could have been more effective had it not been so faithful to the original series. The kind of dilemma in a marriage that may have been common nearly 50 years ago in Bergman's era is quite different today. It comes with its own set of challenges, pushed and provoked by the daily grind of modern living where two people have little time to work on their relationship. 

The HBO series is efficiently done, but is not remarkable as Bergman's. Both Oscar and Chastain are undoubtedly great actors. Chastain’s face is wonderfully expressive as it travels from misery, to anger to resignation. She is quiet one moment, mercurial the other. Oscar's character is calm most of the time, but the flicker of doubt about Mira surfaces now and then. He is not into quick fixes like divorce. Their performances make the series worth a watch. Otherwise, the five-hour long work can get painfully boring — Levi does not give us anything new to savor.