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 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.
British Museum, TEFAF team up to restore glass artifacts damaged in Beirut explosion
Updated 28 July 2021
DUBAI: It has been almost one year since two explosions rocked the port of Beirut, killing more than 200, injuring over 6,000 and leaving hundreds of thousands without a home. The incident, which occurred on Aug. 4, 2020, caused significant damage to buildings in Lebanon’s capital, including the Archaeological Museum at the American University of Beirut (AMAUB), situated two miles away from Beirut’s port where the blasts occurred. During the explosions, many of the artworks on display were damaged.
Now, almost a year after the devastating event, the British Museum and The European Fine Art Foundation have announced that they will partner to help restore some ancient artifacts that were damaged by the blast.
The museum and the fair will restore eight glass vessels dating to Roman and early Islamic times.
During the explosion, the glass objects that were on display at the AMAUB shattered into hundreds of tiny shards. They will now be painstakingly pieced back together at the British Museum’s conservation labs in London.
Most vessels were shattered beyond repair with only 15 being identified as salvageable. Of these, only eight are safe to travel to the British Museum to be conserved.
The restored glass works will go on view at the British Museum in a temporary exhibition before returning to Beirut.
Claire Cuyaubère, a conservator from the French Institut National du Patrimoine helped to collect and categorize the shards of ancient glass from the mixed debris, which included glass from the display case and surrounding windows, after the blast.
She returned to Beirut in July 2021 to identify and match broken shards from each vessel, and identify those suitable for shipment to London. The puzzle-work was supported by the Friends of the Middle East Department at the British Museum.
Hartwig Fischer, director of the British Museum, said in a statement: “Like the rest of the world, we looked on in horror at the devastating scenes in Beirut in August last year. We immediately offered the assistance of the British Museum to colleagues in the city. As we mark one year since the tragedy, we’re pleased to be able to provide the expertise and resources of the British Museum to restore these important ancient objects so they can be enjoyed in Lebanon for many more years to come.”
How models Shanina Shaik, Imaan Hammam and more are spending their summers
Updated 28 July 2021
DUBAI: With the easing of travel restrictions in some countries, our favorite jet-setting It-girls have taken the opportunity to catch a flight this summer — and they’re making sure to document every minute of their holidays on social media.
Part-Saudi model Shanina Shaik, along with her closest friends, fellow models Sara Sampaio, Lais Ribiero, Jasmine Tookes and Josephine Skriver, flew to Croatia to celebrate Tookes’ bachelorette party.
Tookes and Snapchat’s Juan David Borrero are set to get married in Borrero’s home country of Ecuador, but due to COVID-19, the exact wedding date is yet to be announced.
The stylish friend group toasted the future bride, who got engaged to Snapchat’s director of international markets in September 2020, this week in Hvar, an idyllic island surrounded by turquoise waters in Croatia. The models were transported to the island by way of a fun-filled boat excursion, which saw them dancing, tanning, sight-seeing and swimming.
“Seeing the beautiful sights,” Shaik wrote alongside a video of the turquoise waters of the Adriatic Sea.
Elsewhere, Moroccan-Egyptian-Dutch model Imaan Hammam decided to spend her summer in her homeland.
The 24-year-old jetted to Agadir, Morocco, where she is enjoying some much-needed family time following months of lockdowns and movement restrictions.
Hammam, who was born in the Netherlands to a Moroccan mother and Egyptian father, offered her followers a sneak peek into her family life, sharing candid photos of herself snuggling with her baby cousins and enjoying traditional Moroccan food.
And Hammam isn’t the only jetsetter to revisit her roots this summer.
British-Albanian crooner Dua Lipa is currently Albania with her partner of two years, part-Palestinian model and singer Anwar Hadid.
The 25-year-old hitmaker has made sure to document the trip for her 69.4 million Instagram followers, sharing photos and videos of herself and her beau making the most of their downtime by relaxing by the beach and lapping up the sunshine.
The couple are with the Grammy award winner’s parents, Dukagjin and Anesa Lipa, in Albania, where the “New Rules” singer made an appearance at the Sunny Hill Kindergarten construction site last week.
And it seems like Hadid is getting along well with the parents.
Lipa shared a carousel of images on her Instagram feed, which included a sweet photo of the two most important men in her life in an affectionate embrace.
Elsewhere, Moroccan-British model Nora Attal is enjoying Paris with her family and US-Somali model Halima Aden’s “Munich trip is going lovely,” as per her Instagram caption.
Three Arab films set to premiere at Venice Film Festival
Updated 28 July 2021
DUBAI: The Venice International Film Festival unveiled a starry lineup of world premieres for September, including three films from the Arab world.
“Amira” by Mohamed Diab is set to play in the Horizons section and is a coming-of-age drama shot in Jordan, but set in Palestine.
“Costa Brava” is Lebanese director Mounia Akl's debut work and pairs Palestinian actor Saleh Bakri with Lebanese actress and director Nadine Labaki.
Finally, “Republic of Silence” by Diana El-Jeiroudi is a personal account of the director’s childhood in Syria and, 40 years on, her exile in Berlin.
The films will premiere alongisde international titles, including Pablo Larrain’s “Spencer,” starring Kristen Stewart as Princess Diana, and Ridley Scott’s medieval drama “The Last Duel,” featuring Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Adam Driver.
The oldest film festival in the world is kicking off its 78th edition Sept. 1 on the Lido with the premiere of Pedro Almodóvar’s “Madres paralelas,” starring Penelope Cruz. “Spencer” and “Madres paralelas” are among 21 features premiering as part of the official competition, which has often helped guide eventual Oscar best picture nominees and even winners.
Beauty mogul Huda Kattan backs new female wellness brand
Updated 27 July 2021
DUBAI: Iraqi-US beauty mogul Huda Kattan has announced Ketish as the first brand to be launched by Huda Beauty Angels — which falls under HB Investments, Kattan’s venture capital firm. Ketish, a feminine care label, is being spearheaded by Eman Abbass, a former Huda Beauty product developer.
“I’m really excited on a deep level about Huda Beauty Angels and being able to reveal to you guys very soon the first project we are investing in with an amazing founder who has such an amazing mission and purpose and we know they’re going to change the world,” she said in a video shared with her 49 million Instagram followers.
“When we first started our brand, nobody wanted to invest in us. Nobody wanted to really believe in our cause and what we were doing,” she added, revealing what prompted her to start the $10 million female entrepreneur seeding initiative, HB Angels.
Specializing in female wellness, Ketish aims to launch its first product in August 2021, although Abbass has been tight-lipped on the sort of products that will be offered, telling The Industry Fashion website that the brand will focus on “targeted body care products.”
The new brand was inspired by Abbass’s own health experience. When she was 21-years-old, she was diagnosed with cervical cancer during her first-ever gynecologist appointment. Coming from a conservative background, Abbass felt ashamed to talk to her American-Egyptian family about her health during the diagnosis and treatment process.
Following a nine-year healing journey that she had to go through alone, Abbass was inspired to launch the luxurious female wellness brand that aims to reform feminine care products in the Middle East and is named after a female ancient Egyptian deity.
“A lot of those brands and products that we find now are in the pharmacy and the pharmacy is traditionally a place that you go when you are sick or something is wrong,” she told The Industry Fashion website. “We want to take feminine wellness and care out of the pharmacy and put it in the places that women shop… when I’m having a bad day I go to Sephora or I hop on to Cult Beauty. It’s those spaces that we want to be playing in to really elevate that experience and give women products that they can incorporate into their overall beauty and self-care routines.”
“Ketish is a movement,” Kattan said in a press release. “It’s about taking power back and being fully comfortable with yourself. When people start to become part of this community, they’re going to feel liberated. I realized very quickly that this was a topic that so many people had so many issues with. The more I started talking to Emaan, the more I was convinced that she could change the category.”
Saudi online platforms bridge gap between creatives, inquisitive minds
Offering people easy ways to learn new skills, explore methods to promote self, business
Updated 27 July 2021
JEDDAH: Online platforms are helping smaller creative businesses to pass on their knowledge to interested parties. Two such platforms that have been attracting attention from Saudi locals are Suplift and Upgrade.
These online platforms began popping up on social media a few years ago with experiences and activities offered with a registration fee.
Fadi Yahya, the founder of Suplift, told Arab News that the question that inspired Suplift was “How can I ask people with skills to share them with other people who are interested in learning?”
I started noticing that people here didn’t have easy access to activities and workshops or a platform to access these activities.
Fadi Yahya, Founder of Suplift
“I started noticing that people here didn’t have easy access to activities and workshops or a platform to access these activities,” he said. “It was extremely hard for an average person to try any activity they like.”
This led to Yahya giving over a few years of his life to build a business from scratch that allowed profits to be given back to a talented person rather than an organization. “Our job was to make the structure simple.”
• Suplift extends across 18 cities in Saudi Arabia, with more than 1,000 experiences on offer. This has helped 10,000 people to make money simply by following their passion.
• Upgrade-sa.com’s targeted audience is people who want to learn new hobbies and explore different worlds, as well as business owners who want to build more connections and move toward expanding their work.
He said there were many challenges as the team was building a new market. “We are not running away or finding the easy way out. One thing we had trouble with was the lack of experience.”
Yahya said that to enable the experiences, the team had to find locations, work out the structure, marketing, customer service, technology, management, as well as ways of working with the government.
The aim of Suplift is to promote the idea of having hobbies. “The thing I am most proud of is that we help so many people make money. Many people say that passion can not help you make money, but I think it is needed in order to help the Saudi economy move further.”
Suplift extends across 18 cities in Saudi Arabia, with more than 1,000 experiences on offer. This has helped 10,000 people to make money simply by following their passion.
“Now that people understand that they can make money doing what they love, we will have more artists, golfers, divers, archers and so many more,” he said. “This makes me proud of my team and myself.”
When we started, we were the ones designing the workshops and we used to seek out the trainers — training and being creative are two different things.
Mohammad Mujahid, COO of Upgrade-sa.com
Mohammad Mujahid, COO of Upgrade-sa.com, told Arab News that their platform’s targeted audience is people who want to learn new hobbies and explore different worlds, as well as business owners who want to build more connections and move toward expanding their work.
The early days of the business were very challenging, Mujahid said. “When we started, we were the ones designing the workshops and we used to seek out the trainers — training and being creative are two different things. So now when the trainers or upgraders, as we call them, come to us, we provide them with guidelines so they can spread their knowledge.”
These two platforms helped local entrepreneurs to work in the creative sector to achieve their goals. This will ultimately contribute to the Kingdom’s goals for the private sector — supporting Saudi economic diversification objectives and building a prosperous future.