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.
Vatican Museums, Uffizi team up to confirm a Raphael is real
Updated 28 sec ago
VATICAN CITY: Two of the world’s most important art museums, the Vatican Museums and the Uffizi Galleries, joined forces for the first time on Friday. The museums inaugurated a small exhibit of rarely seen works by two Renaissance masters that confirmed a painting long suspected of being by Raphael was indeed his work. “Saints Peter and Paul by Raphael and Fra Bartlomeo. An homage to the Patrons of Rome,” marks the first exhibit for the Vatican Museums in over a year thanks to COVID-19 lockdowns that shuttered galleries precisely at the time that Italy was commemorating the 500th anniversary of Raphael’s death with a series of shows. The nearly life-sized paintings of Saints Peter and Paul are normally kept outside public view in the Papal Audience Apartment of the Apostolic Palace. But they have been restored and are being displayed for the first time alongside their preparatory sketches, usually held in Florence by the Uffizi Galleries, that the Florentine master Fra Bartolemeo made around 1513 after he was commissioned to paint the saints for a Rome church. Fra Bartolomeo finished the painting of St. Paul, but because of an artistic crisis, never finished St. Peter. The restoration and research done in preparation for the exhibit confirmed that Raphael — long believed to have finished his friend’s commission — indeed completed the work, the Vatican Museums’ director, Barbara Jatta, told a press conference Friday alongside her Uffizi counterpart, Eike Schmidt. “It’s not the moment for big shows ... but a small show allows us to enter more into the works themselves,” Jatta said. While the Uffizi and Vatican Museums often exchange pieces for special exhibits, Schmidt and Jatta said this was the first time the two institutions had joined up to mount a show and catalogue together, with each museum restoring and offering new research into the pieces being exhibited and drawing on their respective patron groups to fund it. “This is in a certain sense a novelty and its really beautiful to get out of the pandemic with this,” Schmidt said. Jatta added she foresaw future collaborative projects as well. The exhibit, in a small gallery of the Vatican Museums’ picture gallery, is included in regular museum tickets, which because of COVID regulations must be reserved online in advance, while visitors to the museum must show a health pass to get in the door.
DUBAI: US-Palestinian-Dutch model Gigi Hadid on Friday walked the runway for Italian luxury label Tod’s show at Milan Fashion Week.
For the opening of the fashion show, the catwalk star wore an off-white zip-up coat dress with camel pocket-detailing, pairing her outfit with a matching bag and bulky sandals.
Her closing look was a vibrant see-through orange raincoat that she wore over a plain white dress.
The brand presented its spring/summer 2022 women’s collection at the event that was attended by some of the Arab world’s leading celebrities including Tunisian model Rym Saidi Breidy, and TV presenter Diala Makki.
Mom-of-one Hadid, who recently made headlines for her 2021 Met Gala look, opted for a monochrome look by Italian label Prada.
The off-the-shoulder design was sleek and form-fitting, and Hadid rounded it off with a pair of black tights. In true vampy style, she relaced her usually blonde locks with flowing auburn hair, which was secured with a dazzling black brooch atop her head. Over-the-elbow black leather gloves completed the glamorous look.
The supermodel and her singer partner, Zayn Malik, also celebrated the first birthday of their daughter Khai.
Beyonce poses in heels by Arab designer Andrea Wazen
Updated 24 September 2021
DUBAI: US superstar Beyonce is the latest A-list celebrity to step out wearing Lebanese footwear designer Andrea Wazen’s creations.
The singer, songwriter and actress, who celebrated her 40th birthday earlier this month, shared a series of images on Instagram on Thursday championing Wazen’s Dassy PVC pumps, transparent pointy-toed heels with white detailing.
In the pictures, the “Crazy in Love” singer modeled a glittering green cocktail dress with floral appliqués by renowned Italian luxury label Dolce & Gabbana.
She had her hair in a slicked-back ponytail.
The pictures showed Beyonce vacationing with her husband, US rapper Jay Z.
It’s no secret that Wazen is one of the most in-demand footwear designers today. The Lebanese designer launched her namesake label in Beirut in 2013 and has since gone on to grab the attention of world-famous superstars.
Her strappy sandals, leather boots and tulle-ruffled slingbacks have been spotted on a broad spectrum of stars that include Hailey Bieber, Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Alba, Addison Rae, Khloe Kardashian, Kylie Jenner and more.
Princess Reema hopes global walkathon will raise awareness of plight of big cats
Global ‘Catwalk’ scheduled for November will ‘form a bridge between cat conservation, the environment, and active lifestyles’
Updated 24 September 2021
Rebecca Anne Proctor
DUBAI: In an effort to raise awareness of endangered big cats and their ecosystems, the US-based independent non-profit foundation Catmosphere is hosting a worldwide ‘Catwalk’ on November 6 in a bid to get people moving and simultaneously benefit the world’s big cats.
Catmosphere was launched in July by Princess Reema bint Bandar Al-Saud, Saudi Arabia’s ambassador to the US, who is on a mission to safeguard the lives and wellbeing of big cats. Catmosphere aims to magnify the efforts of Panthera, the only organization in the world devoted to the conservation of 40 species of wild cats.
“Catmosphere is a catalyst for change. Its campaigns and activations are (intended) to build momentum globally around big cat conservation,” Princess Reema told Arab News. “I first understood the threat to the future of big cats when I learned about Panthera’s work in Saudi Arabia with the Royal Commission of AlUla, where they are researching the status of the Arabian leopard in the Kingdom with a view to forging a path for its recovery in the region.”
Many species of big cats are now facing extinction. Catmosphere focuses on Panthera’s conservation efforts covering seven big cat species: Tigers, lions, cheetahs, jaguars, pumas, leopards, and snow leopards.
“The future of big cats is under threat, primarily due to diminishing habitats,” Princess Reema said. “Accordingly, Catwalk is striving for a healthy habitat for big cats, and healthy habitats start at home. A healthy and active lifestyle helps us respect our own bodies, and engaging with our environment gives us an appreciation for the fundamental role it plays in all of life. Catwalk invites us all to ignite physical movement locally, and in doing so trigger the big cat conservation movement globally.”
Princess Reema, who sits on the boards of both the Catmosphere foundation and Panthera’s Conservation Council, is actively involved in Catwalk as part of the leadership team.
It hopes to rally supporters around the world to take part in the global, mass-participation seven-kilometer walk on Nov. 6.
The event is open to everyone and can be completed in whatever way works best for the participant, wherever they are in the world. What is unique about the event is its link between building awareness about big cats, the environment and the importance of one’s own health, wellbeing and physical fitness.
“The global mass-participation activity aims to form a bridge between cat conservation, the environment, and active lifestyles, and brings together my own past experiences in campaign curation,” Princess Reema said. “I’m excited to work with different stakeholders all around the globe to map a path for scalable, inclusive campaign delivery that demonstrates how igniting a movement locally can result in meaningful change, ensuring the wellbeing and continuation of big cat populations globally.”
Princess Reema stressed that the pandemic has impacted the world’s experience of both wildlife and community.
According to the World Health Organization, 24 percent of all human deaths are attributable to environmental factors. A quarter of the world’s population is at risk due to insufficient exercise in increasingly sedentary societies. Big cats are even more dependent on their environments than humans.
Panthera has warned that important species are threatened by habitat loss, and that the tiger, lion, leopard and cheetah have lost between 65 percent and 96 percent of their historical numbers.
“The reality of the pandemic and the experience that the whole world has just had of separation and isolation from human communities due to COVID-19 is very much what was done to the big cats when we cut off their territorial corridors and isolated them from their natural habitats in nature,” Princess Reema said.
“Just as we have seen that impact on us, imagine what that impact has been on them. Catwalk is hoping to highlight a very simple fact: That our collective wellbeing is interconnected, and so it is incumbent on all of us to operate through empathy and provide spaces that we as humans would want to live and thrive in, and ensure the same for big cats,” she added.
As Princess Reema underlines, given the challenges presented by the pandemic over the past 18 months, now is the time to reassess our relationship with nature and as well as that “between a healthy person and a healthy environment, to showcase the potential that each of us has to ensure a healthy future for big cats, too.”
Co-founder of the Independent Iraqi Film Festival discusses second edition
‘We have other stories to tell besides chaos,’ says Shahnaz Dulaimy
Updated 24 September 2021
DUBAI: When Iraqi film editor Shahnaz Dulaimy was a university student, an academic counsellor advised her to pursue heavyweight majors such as economics and business management — the kind of thing a typical family would approve of — and not her desired option, film.
Instead, Dulaimy, who was raised in Jordan, did the complete opposite. She moved to Rome, where classic movies including “La Dolce Vita” and “Roman Holiday” were shot, and studied film history and production.
“There’s such a stigma around (working in creative sectors),” she tells Arab News. “When you hear people talking about actors and actresses, for example, they make it sound like such a demeaning job. But, at the same time, everyone sits in front of the TV, watching the latest TV series or films. There’s still this (disparaging attitude) towards the film industry. Luckily, there are more people pushing it, but I don’t think it’s 100 percent where it needs to be.”
In London, where she now lives, she co-founded the Independent Iraqi Film Festival along with like-minded cinema-loving Iraqis. The volunteer-run, online event launched last year in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and notched up around 5,000 views. Dulaimy calls it a “passion project,” highlighting talent from emerging and established Iraqi filmmakers.
“We wanted to see films that reflect us and our identity. Iraqi cinema is generally underrepresented on the international circuit,” she says. “What we had aimed to do is to provide a platform dedicated to showcasing Iraqi films.”
The organizers of the IIFF were so overwhelmed by support from both viewers and filmmakers that they decided to go for a second run. Between October 1 and 7, the IIFF will present a curated program of 15 feature films and a series of talks featuring three well-known industry figures: American-Iraqi visual artist Michael Rakowitz, Iraqi actress and director Zahraa Ghandour, and Iraqi set designer Mohammed Khalid.
This time around, more than 90 film submissions were received, which made Dulaimy and her colleagues realize more than ever the responsibility they bear. “I think it shifted from being just a passion project to more of a duty towards the Iraqi community in Iraq and the diaspora,” she says.
To make the festival as accessible as possible, all its offerings will be freely available for streaming worldwide and subtitled in English. The filmmakers did not have to pay any submission fee either.
“The moment you ask people to pay, there’s a wall. You’re kind of blocking people, you’re blocking talent,” she says. The selected independent films, created by both men and women who live inside and outside of the country, reflect the diversity of Iraqi society, as well as the struggles people encounter and their hopes and dreams. There is a particular focus on telling the stories of the marginalized — specifically women and minorities.
“Iraq is not a one-layered country,” notes Dulaimy. “It’s a multi-dimensional, multi-textured culture. You’ve got everyone from the Kurds in northern Iraq to the Assyrians and Yazidis. It’s so important that everyone gets an equal voice. Iraqis are not just Arabic-speaking, Baghdad-born-and-raised Arabs.” Among the featured films this year is “Iraqi Women: Voices from Exile,” made in the 1990s by London-based director Maysoon Pachachi, and Ali Raheem’s 2015 documentary “Balanja,” about four Kurdish people overcoming the pains of the past.
Over the past couple of decades, the image the outside world has of Iraq has been one of warfare, terror, and destruction. But, Dulaimy points out, Iraq has much more to offer to the world.
“Iraq is not just a war-torn zone, where people are struggling on a daily basis. We have other stories to tell besides the political disarray and chaos. I think we’re ready to move on from that, we don’t want to keep playing the victims. I feel the time for us to move on is now,” she says. “I hope audiences also take into consideration how difficult it is to shoot a film. You’re not going to see a polished, dazzling film. What you’re going to see is raw, social, realist films. I just want people to go into the festival with open eyes and ears.”